Tuesday, April 12, 2016

March Madness!

Gary’s Miller Spotlight’s first quarter of 2016 has been pretty epic so far. Our rockstar volunteers are implementing the community goals that they created from reviewing the opinions expressed in last year’s community surveys along with the facts surrounding these perceptions. 
To date, we have 43 partners that have agreed to help our community implement our 29 goals. (Check out our full length plan here, or you can also email millerspotlight@gmail.com directly if you'd like a copy of the PDF.)
We are happy to announce that the ADA-Indiana Steering Committee selected our Miller Spotlight: Access Miller Beach (Transportation and Infrastructure) Action Group's proposal, “Access for All,” as one of the 2016 Coros ADA Community Grants. “Access for All” is a multimedia outreach series that will be created for Gary’s Miller neighborhood to educate residents, businesses, municipalities and service providers on the importance of inclusion of persons with visible and non visible disabilities within the community. This multi-platformed project will make it a priority to address the following areas: civic, cultural and recreational, physical environment, and transportation. Production on this series began in March. We will release the first installation of the series in May. It is our goal that people citywide will use these free materials to make Gary, Indiana as inclusive a community as possible. 
 Additionally, our volunteers received the 2016 American Planning Award-IN Award for Excellence in Outreach. Our community builder, Jessie Renslow, accepted the award for us at the Spring Planning Conference at Ball State University. Congrats to all the volunteers that made our first year such a productive one! 
2016 Miller K Market survey is starting to reap results. Our local grocery store, Miller K Market, is family owned. They have started incorporating the constructive feedback they received from us on upgrades they can pursue this year.  Please check them out! 
They fixed the Miller K sign on Rt 12! 

Additionally, the Miller K Market has started carrying a wider array of produce and products, including organic. 
Thanks to those who took our Miller K Market survey and the MCC for partnering on this effort with Gary's Miller Spotlight. Our Jobs and Economy Action Group took general data from emails received from people living in the area and constructed an online survey that 200+ members of the community took. An additional 50+ took the paper version of the survey. The data was compiled and given to our local grocer. Jobs and the Economy is one of the 7 themes being addressed in our 29 community goals.
Our Jobs and the Economy Action Group had a nice turn out at our first financial workshop for our community. It's never too early or late to learn how to budget. A financially literate community is an empowered one. Thanks for hosting Miller Beach Arts & Creative District. A shout out to Horizon Bank for co-hosting and partnering on this goal with us. We are planning 3 more workshops sponsored by Horizon this year. Look for more info coming soon. 
Gary’s Miller Spotlight Safety and Code Enforcement Action Group has begun to facilitate general rapport programming at Park Shore Commons. Additionally, we have started implementing monthly community cleanups across this 242 unit apartment complex. We hope to replicate these initiatives at all our apartments (Lake Shore Dunes, Marquette, Ishiyama and Wood Lake Village), but are in the process of recruiting more volunteers and securing commitments for programming from the police. This programming is a great way to have fun, promote new leadership among our community and keep folks updated on our community goals as they progress. Hope to see you at Park Shore Commons in April! We will also host two major community-wide cleanups. One on County Line Rd and One on Lake St. on 5/7/16. (More info on these events listed below).
 Gary's Miller Spotlight's Area Context Action Group is partnering with NPR's StoryCorps program to collect oral histories for the The Library of Congress. Our community was designated as one that serves a diverse population by StoryCorps. StoryCorps interviews celebrate the voices and milestones in communities and encourage meaningful interactions between our organizations and the people they serve. 
A huge thank you goes out to our two local partners, Marquette Park UMC and Temple Israel. StoryCorps-Chicago sent one of their production teams to our neighborhood to kickoff this project. We were the first community in Indiana for them to come on site to! We did the first 12 interviews (24 people) on March 19th and 20th. We will showcase these interviews at a fun engagement event this summer. We are looking to host 4 large sessions of interviews in the fall and are seeking more community partners to help with the process. We would love to get at least 100 people interviewed.
What is StoryCorps?
StoryCorps Mission Statement:
“StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.
We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations.”

An intro to StoryCorps:

The Miller Beach Arts & Creative District and Openhill have created a community portal and calendar with user generated content that will help promote our neighborhood, city and region as a whole. It's called Dragonfly NWI

The inspiration for this portal and calendar came from a need seen within the community from these two entities. This was validated from our 2015 community survey, where it was stated as a desire by many folks interviewed. It was then incorporated into our community plan as one of our goals. 

Thanks MBACD and Openhill for taking on this major need for our community. They partnered with Gary's Miller Spotlight Area Context Action Group to host a tech literacy course for our local businesses and oragnizations. Go to http://www.dragonflynwi.com to check out the portal and stay tuned for more info! 
Local vender, Kidstuff Playsystems, has started building 11 ADA compatible bike racks that will be coming to Gary's Miller Community this May. 
Gary's Miller Spotlight Access Miller Beach (aka Transportation and Infrastructure) Action Group has worked hard to obtain the funds for this project and identify the best spots for these racks. If you're interested in helping install them Kidstuff will host a workshop in early June. Stay tuned for more one-off volunteer opportunities! 

Cycle Miller Beach is working with Gary's Miller Spotlight: Access Miller Beach and the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District sponsored, Miller Beach Farmer’s Market to start a build a bike program for the summer 2016. Artists are needed to individualize bicycles. We will also need help running the booth at the market this summer. Please contact Ken Parr via kennethap@sbcglobal.net for more info.
March is Disability Awareness Month. It was a very busy four weeks in our community. Gary’s Miller Spotlight's Access Miller Beach group partnered with Barrier Free Beach 2020 and our backbone organization Miller Beach Arts & Creative District to host the first annual Disability Awareness Month Art Contest.
This free event closed on 3/22/16. The 57 submissions were showcased at the MBACD from 3/23-3/28. All ages and skill levels were encouraged to enter. 

There were 5 categories:
1. pre k-3rd grade
2. 4-6th grade
3. 7-9th grade
4. 10-12th grade
5. Adult

We had many entries in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th categories. (Oddly none in the 3rd category.) So, the judges chose two from the 4th category instead. Announcing our winners:

1. pre k-3rd grade
-Yvonne Madx

 2. 4-6th grade
-Aniya Haypa

4. 10-12th grade-Arthur Lemme 

4. 10-12th grade- China Williams

5. Adult-Maryann Urbanczyk

Congrats! Our community builder will return the art work to all participants and handout the gift cards to the winners this week. Thanks for making this inaugural event a smash hit!
Is your website accessible? Could you be losing business and or members by accident? Come check out Gary's Miller Spotlight and Barrier Free Beach 2020's workshop this Thursday (4/14) from 1-4PM at the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District (540 S. Lake St. Gary, IN 46403). Janet Peters, Project Coordinator of Accessible Technology for the Great Lakes ADA Center will facilitate the workshop. Janet has worked to promote full and unrestricted participation in society for persons with disabilities through the promotion of technology that is accessible to all. Please pass along the word!

Members of our Environment and Ecotourism Action Group just wrote a NIPSCO environmental grant and an American Water grant with our community builder that would teach 15 local teens about the environment, complete 2 community clean ups, identify illegal dump sites, complete 2 service projects and install 10 signs. We will find out on 4/22/16 if we got any of these grants. 

Upcoming Events

Is your website accessible? Could you be losing business and or members by accident? Come check out Gary's Miller Spotlight and Barrier Free Beach 2020's workshop this Thursday (4/14) from 1-4PM at the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District. Janet Peters, Project Coordinator of Accessible Technology for the Great Lakes ADA Center will facilitate the workshop. Janet has worked to promote full and unrestricted participation in society for persons with disabilities through the promotion of technology that is accessible to all.

Monday, 4/18/16 
Education/ Child and Youth Programming Action Group Meeting at 6pm at Marquette Park United Methodist Church.

Saturday, 4/23/16
Green Gary Day Bike Ride meet at the Douglas Center at 1pm 

Tuesday, 4/26/16 
Park Shore Commons Bingo 3-5pm meet in the community room
860 N Wells St.
Gary, Indiana, 46403

Tuesday, 4/26/16 
Miller Spotlight Property Improvements Action Group Meeting 6 PM at Miller Pizza Co.

Saturday, 5/7/16 Community Cleanup 
(Starts at 11am for County Line & Lake St. More info soon!)

Saturday, 5/14/16 
Barrier Free Beach 2020 Training at Woodson Library and community assessment (We’re partnering with Great Lakes ADA.)

Saturday, 5/28 Starts at 11AM
Lake St. Beach Food Park Kickoff Help support local venders and showcase Lake Street Beach

Gary’s Miller Spotlight volunteers presented our community plan at Wirt-Emerson on Saturday 11/14/15. Check out our full length plan here, or you can also email millerspotlight@gmail.com directly if you'd like a copy of the PDF. You don't have to live in Gary’s Miller Community you just have to care about our revitalization efforts to participate. We are a Legacy Foundation initiative. 


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