Community News Feed - NWILife https://nwi.life Sun, 05 Apr 2020 07:25:39 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 Steindler Signs & Graphix wraps bus for Porter County VoteMobile program https://nwi.life/article/steindler-signs-graphix-wraps-bus-for-porter-county-votemobile-program/ Sun, 05 Apr 2020 06:25:29 +0000 Sergio Valdes https://nwi.life/article/steindler-signs-graphix-wraps-bus-for-porter-county-votemobile-program/ Editor’s note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the primary election has been rescheduled for June 2, 2020. Porter County Elections & Registration keeps updated information on their website and will make decisions about VoteMobile activities as needed.

To encourage the people of Porter County to vote, and to make voting more accessible to all citizens in the upcoming election, Steindler Signs & Graphix worked with the county to wrap a vehicle for the new VoteMobile program enacted by Porter County Elections & Registration and Porter County government officials.

“The Porter County Elections & Registration office uses buses like these to both promote the election and even offer mobile voting to those without transportation,” said Jessica Parks, Director of Financial Operations for Steindler Signs & Graphix, LLC. “The Elections & Registration office provided the design and color layout they wanted, and we were able to fulfill their wishes while also adding our own personal touch.”

VoteMobile was made possible when Porter County Commissioners approved the Porter County Elections & Registration proposal in February to purchase a vehicle that will be used to transport voting equipment, host voter registration drives, and serve as a mobile voting center.

“The Elections & Registration office and I often brainstorm different ways to increase voter turnout and engage Porter County residents in voting,” said Jessica Bailey, Porter County Clerk. “This is one of the ideas that we have researched and thought would work well in our community. We are hoping to bring VoteMobile to locations such as parks and libraries to allow people the ability to walk to the voting site if need be or just to cast their ballot while completing their daily tasks.”

The white bus is decorated with a sleek American flag color palette on the sides. In addition, the words Every Vote Counts are boldly printed on the bus, along with the office’s so that voters can be directed to more information about the upcoming election and registration.

VoteMobile voting van Porter County Elections 
Steindler Signs & Graphix

“It’s been great to be a part of this effort,” Parks said. “Being able to provide our designs for something that’s going to catch the eyes of the Porter County community and become a sort of iconic feature in this election is extremely fun and rewarding. We worked tirelessly to get this completed and when the time comes for it to mobilize, we can’t wait to see it out and about while serving the community.”

“We appreciate the Porter County Elections & Registration office for presenting this opportunity to give back to the community, and we look forward to seeing VoteMobile making a positive impact for residents all over the county.”

VoteMobile voting van Porter County Elections back view
Steindler Signs & Graphix

The 2020 Primary Election is scheduled for Tuesday, June 2. For information about the election, voter information, and more, please visit www.porterco.org/170/Elections-Registration.

Located on 10740 W. on U.S. 30, Steindler Signs & Graphix, LLC specializes in designing custom signs and designs of the highest quality and has established itself as one of Northwest Indiana’s premier sign companies. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Steindler Signs has the skill, equipment, and capabilities to handle all of your design, production, installation, and service needs. For more information, please visit www.steindlersigns.com

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Steindler Signs & Graphix wraps bus for Porter County VoteMobile program
Gov. Holcomb anounces Indiana receives Federal Disaster Declaration https://nwi.life/article/gov-holcomb-anounces-indiana-receives-federal-disaster-declaration/ Fri, 03 Apr 2020 20:58:59 +0000 Office of Governor Eric J. Holcomb https://nwi.life/article/gov-holcomb-anounces-indiana-receives-federal-disaster-declaration/ Governor Eric J. Holcomb today announced Indiana has been granted a federal Major Disaster Declaration, which provides funds to help communities recover from COVID-19.

The funding can be used to cover costs of emergency needs including crisis counseling, food programs, temporary shelters, protective equipment, safety resources and personnel.

The Governor also signed an executive order today to extend the public health emergency by an additional 30 days – to May 5. The executive order is posted here: https://www.in.gov/gov/2384.htm. The first public health emergency was declared on March 6 and allows the state to increase coordination across all levels of government in the state’s response to coronavirus.

Gov. Holcomb also announced he will extend the Stay-at-Home Order and the restrictions on bars and restaurants an additional two weeks – to April 20 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The executive order will be signed Monday.

Additional steps taken today include:

  • The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) has been working closely to provide maximum flexibility, including using telehealth, to treatment providers to ensure that crucial services for people that suffer from Serious Mental Illness, and children who suffer from Severe Emotional Disturbances can continue.
  • FSSA announced more than 152,000 Indiana households will receive additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits when April distributions begin this Sunday.
  • This weekend the Indiana National Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Indiana State Department of Health will scout locations for potential alternative care sites. Hoosiers may see the Indiana National Guard members traveling in communities and should not be alarmed.
  • Gov. Holcomb signed a joint letter from all three branches of government to local criminal justice leaders regarding the impact of COVID-19 on detention facilities.
    • The governor, Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, House Speaker Todd Huston and Chief Justice Loretta Rush signed the letter which asks local judges, sheriffs, and county leaders to properly identify which low-risk, non-violent juveniles and inmates, if any, may be re-evaluated and released safely into their communities under pretrial, probation, or community corrections supervision. Click here to see the letter: https://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/covid19-2020-0403-release-assessment-local-effort.pdf
  • Six Bureau of Motor Vehicles branches will be open by appointment only beginning Monday, April 6 to process new Commercial Learner’s Permits (CLP), new Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL), and upgrade/downgrade for the CDL to add the tank vehicle or hazardous materials endorsement credential transactions.
    • These branches are opening for appointments to support the current critical need to increase the number of new licensed commercial truck drivers on the road delivering supplies and to aid in the start of agricultural season in our state. Click here to learn more: https://www.in.gov/bmv/files/pr-clp-cdl-appointment-only-hours.pdf

Click here to download public service announcements (PSAs) recorded by the state for your use: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/egf210ognxxyx4h/AADYd7E-tBn7P6gtiLSZUiVBa?dl=0 More information may be found at the ISDH website at coronavirus.in.gov and the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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Gov. Holcomb anounces Indiana receives Federal Disaster Declaration
Sysco and Latitude Commercial partner to provide almost 4.5 tons of food to The Salvation Army https://nwi.life/article/sysco-and-latitude-commercial-partner-to-provide-almost-4-5-tons-of-food-to-the-salvation-army/ Fri, 03 Apr 2020 18:50:50 +0000 Salvation Army of Lake County https://nwi.life/article/sysco-and-latitude-commercial-partner-to-provide-almost-4-5-tons-of-food-to-the-salvation-army/ The Salvation Army of Lake County has received a generous donation of needed food from the Sysco Corporation, thanks to the efforts of Aaron and Brett McDermott of Latitude Commercial Real Estate Services in Schererville.

We are witnessing a 500% increase in the use of the three Lake County Food Pantries,” said Captain Brian Clark, Lake County Coordinator for The Salvation Army. “We expect and are preparing for the numbers to increase sharply, as the COVID-19 cases rise and more people lose their jobs in Lake County,Clark said.

Thursday, The Salvation Army of Lake County was contacted by the McDermott brothers, owners of Latitude Commercial Real Estate Services, saying that they had arranged for a large donation of food from Sysco to benefit The Salvation Army of Lake County’s three Corps Community Centers and its Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Gary, Indiana. The donation would benefit other nonprofits in Northwest Indiana as well.

“We have connections with all kinds of companies,” said Aaron McDermott. “We were looking for ways to leverage our relationships to help the communities in Northwest Indiana during the pandemic, and with food being the greatest need right now, Sysco was a natural choice,” Aaron said. The Houston, TX-based Sysco Corporation is one of the largest distributors of food products and related accessories to educational, healthcare and other institutions worldwide.

The Salvation Army of Lake County consists of three Corps Community Centers: East Chicago, Gary-Merrillville, and Hammond-Munster. The ARC in Gary is a residential recovery program that treats men who are addicted to alcohol or drugs. Not only are the Lake County Corps Community Centers experiencing five-times the demand for food from their pantries, their social workers have also seen a significant rise in need for preventing evictions, utilities and water shut-offs, as well as providing job search assistance.

The Salvation Army Corps Community Centers remain open and staffed to serve their respective communities. Captain Brian Clark asks for the public’s patience and understanding as they adapt to the increasing needs to serve residents of Lake County, while protecting clients, staff and volunteers from the COVID-19 virus.

In addition to the food donations from Sysco, The Salvation Army in Northwest Indiana is also receiving funds needed for food thanks to the special “Check-Out Challenge” campaign running now through April 19th at all Strack & Van Til Food Markets. The funds raised by the Check-Out Challenge will provide groceries and meals to residents of Northwest Indiana who are in distress due to the COVID-19 crisis.

If you are in need of emergency services due to the COVID-19 crisis, or would like to partner with The

Salvation Army to help your neighbors in need, please visit www.SalArmyLakeCounty.org

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Sysco and Latitude Commercial partner to provide almost 4.5 tons of food to The Salvation Army
Porter Regional receives donation of masks from China https://nwi.life/article/porter-regional-receives-donation-of-masks-from-china/ Fri, 03 Apr 2020 18:32:43 +0000 City of Valparaiso https://nwi.life/article/porter-regional-receives-donation-of-masks-from-china/ A sister-city relationship formed a decade ago between the City of Valparaiso, Valparaiso University and the Nanhu District of China has resulted in a donation of 10,000 PPE masks and other medical supplies to Porter Regional Hospital. “The hospital and entire community is grateful for these much-needed supplies as we face the COVID-19 pandemic together. We appreciate this timely support,” said Mayor Matt Murphy who was a part of the Valparaiso delegation to visit Nanhu District back in 2010 when he served as Valparaiso’s Economic Development Director. “We truly value the ongoing friendships we created years ago,” he said.

The gift of supplies from China follows a similar gift of masks that Valparaiso University collected for Nanhu District early in February as China was fighting the peak of their coronavirus cases. This collection was assembled by Richard AmRhein, VU’s Vice President for Community and Government Relations, with support from the City of Valparaiso. The supplies from China arrived in Porter County just as the Northwest Indiana region was beginning to see cases of COVID-19 in local hospitals. “These supplies will be put to great use. PPE is huge for us right now,” said Sean Dardeau, Chief Executive Officer for Porter Health Care System.

For more information about local efforts to fight COVID-19, including how to reduce your risk and what to do it you have symptoms, visit porterco.org.

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Porter Regional receives donation of masks from China
Region healthcare staff benefit from medical supply, food donations https://nwi.life/article/region-healthcare-staff-benefit-from-medical-supply-food-donations/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 22:47:42 +0000 Stacey Kellogg https://nwi.life/article/region-healthcare-staff-benefit-from-medical-supply-food-donations/ Above photo: Blue Chip Hotel Casino Spa staff get pallets of medical supplies ready to donate to Franciscan Health Michigan City

Those we have come to know as the frontline heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic – healthcare workers – are getting a welcome boost from region businesses, organizations, and restaurants who have flooded area hospitals and healthcare facilities with medical supplies and meals to support them.

“We entered this profession knowing this is what we could face on any given day, but it really is nice to break up a 12-hour shift with a tasty treat or lunch that someone gave us just as a thank you,” wrote one nurse. “It is a blessing to receive donated medical supplies to keep us and our patients safe. We feel the love and it fuels us to keep going.”

In recent weeks, GreatNews.Life has seen dozens of examples of this.

Blue Chip Casino fills truck with medical supplies to donate during
COVID-19 pandemic

After donating thousands of pounds of food to the community before they temporarily closed, Blue Chip Casino Hotel Spa then turned to Franciscan Health in Michigan City and donated pallets of masks and gloves just last week to the hospital.

“Thanks to our team members who were involved in this donation!” the casino posted.

Franciscan Health Michigan City also received a generous donation from Sullair that included 1,280 N95 masks, and additional supplies from Napa Auto Parts, the A.K. Smith Career Center, Michiana Humane Society, and the La Porte County Health Department.

Blue Chip Casino loads truck of medical supplies to donate to hospitals for COVID-19 pandemic

Additionally, Franciscan Health Munster received sterile gowns, masks, and shields from Dr. Jeffrey Meister of Munster Distinctive Dentistry and N95 masks from Horseshoe Casino. First United Methodist Church in Crown Point (in partnership with View Outdoor Advertising) donated 60 dozen Rise ‘n Roll Bakery donuts to Franciscan Health Crown Point, and provided more than 300 hand-written thank you notes from members of the congregation.

The Flamini Foundation donated 50 comfort bags for parents caring for their children in the neonatal intensive care units at Franciscan Health Crown Point and Franciscan Health Hammond.

“The support of our healthcare team by the community has been incredible. We are in the midst of an international pandemic with global shortages of personal protective equipment being reported. These donations are an amazing show of support for our colleagues on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19,” said Franciscan Health Michigan City President and CEO Dean Mazzoni. This full story is here.

Aside from personal protective equipment, staff at Franciscan Health Michigan City also relished the pizza donation served up by SERVPRO of LaPorte and Porter Counties.

Donating sanitizing supplies for COVID-19 Pandemic

Just across town in Michigan City, Aaron O’Reilly, owner and chef at Fiddlehead Restaurant, had a conversation with a staff member at Aperion Care Arbors Michigan City about the supply shortages that some healthcare facilities have been facing. Without even being asked, O’Reilly arrived at the Arbors door with his donation of disinfecting wipes.

“Thank you for helping us keep our residents safe! We are all in this together! We love our community!” the Arbors wrote.

La Porte Hospital was grateful for the support of INHealth, which has been coordinating donations throughout their ambulance service area of necessary supplies needed in case of a patient surge. INHealth has also worked closely with United Way of Porter County to coordinate safe drop-off locations for people or businesses who wish to donate supplies. That story can be found here.

INHealth ambulance donating medical supplies to La Porte Hospital for COVID-19
Miller Pizza donating food to hospital workers at Methodist Hospitals

While Methodist Hospitals has awaited a response to their callout for touchless thermometer donations, staff there were praising local area restaurants for keeping them well fed with delicious food during their busy shifts. Methodist Hospitals celebrated their first discharge of a patient successfully treated for COVID-19 this week, the meal donations no doubt keeping them fueled for more. So far, some of their thanks have included Tania’s Latin American Restaurant, Dominoes in Merrillville, El Salto, Miller Pizza and Mr. Greek Gyros for providing meals and drinks to staff.

Life Care Center of The Willows in Valparaiso enjoyed lunch recently provided by StoryPoint, and another provided by Dunes Hospice, and has publicly thanked Training College in Lowell for a donation of protective masks.

GreatNews.Life will continue to publish this kind of news and more uplifting stories about how neighbors are helping neighbors in this time of need. Story tips are welcomed—fill out the form here: https://greatnews.life/share/.

Tune in to GreatNews.Life weekly on Wednesdays at noon on the NWI.Life Facebook page for your weekly dose of positive news featuring Jenny Craig-Brown.

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Region healthcare staff benefit from medical supply, food donations
DWD Facebook Live Event: Unemployment benefits and the new CARES Act https://nwi.life/article/dwd-facebook-live-event-unemployment-benefits-and-the-new-cares-act/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 21:46:14 +0000 Indiana Department of Workforce Development https://nwi.life/article/dwd-facebook-live-event-unemployment-benefits-and-the-new-cares-act/ The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is hosting a Facebook Live Event with agency leaders to discuss the latest available details on the federal stimulus package (CARES Act) and how it affects unemployment insurance benefits.

The live event will be held at 10:30 a.m. April 8 and will be recorded and made available to the public on DWD’s Facebook page.

The hour-long program will be hosted by DWD, several of its regional offices and the Indiana Manufacturers Association. It will also include information for self-employed individuals and contractors affected by COVID-19, and the most commonly asked questions DWD receives.

“We are continuously striving to reach as many impacted Hoosiers as possible, with the latest and most accurate information,” DWD Commissioner Fred Payne said. “This event is meant to reach a wide audience, many of whom have the same questions, with clear and consistent responses.”

To join live and to access the recording after the event, go to DWD’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IndianaDWD/

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DWD Facebook Live Event: Unemployment benefits and the new CARES Act
Gov. Holcomb, Superintendent McCormick outline education changes for the remaining school year https://nwi.life/article/gov-holcomb-superintendent-mccormick-outline-education-changes-for-the-remaining-school-year/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 20:22:21 +0000 Office of Governor Eric J. Holcomb https://nwi.life/article/gov-holcomb-superintendent-mccormick-outline-education-changes-for-the-remaining-school-year/ Governor Eric J. Holcomb today signed an executive order requiring all K-12 schools in Indiana to provide instruction via remote learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year and outlines options for districts to continue education during the fight against COVID-19. Click here for a link to the executive order: https://www.in.gov/gov/2384.htm

“Students are the future of our state and teachers are the heart of our schools,” Gov. Holcomb said. “While COVID-19 is impacting every classroom, our teachers, administrators, school board members and school staff are going to extraordinary levels to deliver quality learning to students all across our state, even while school buildings are closed. We’ll continue to do everything we can to empower educators and parents, while protecting students’ health.”

To complete the school year, all schools previously received a 20-day waiver to reduce the number of required in-person or remote instruction days to 160. Schools must continue to provide instruction via remote learning until they complete either:

  • 160 instructional days or
  • At least 20 additional days of remote learning between the date of the executive order (today) and the end of the school year. If a school completes 20 days and falls short of the required 160 instructional days, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) can waive the difference.

All K-12 schools will need to submit a plan for review and approval by IDOE by April 17. The plan can include eLearning, extended learning, project-based or portfolio learning, competency-based learning, partnerships with higher education for increased student supports, and other similar methods.

The governor, in conjunction with Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick, also directed the Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE) to provide flexibility for school corporations for students who are to graduate in 2020. A school corporation may issue an Indiana diploma to a student who has done all of the following:

  • Has met all of the course and credit requirements for the specific diploma designation based on a combination of high school credits earned prior to and the course in which a student was enrolled as of March 19, when the governor issued the statewide school closure.
  • Meets any virtual or remote learning participation requirements established by the governing body of the local school corporation in response to the statewide school closure order issued by the governor.
  • Meets any additional graduation requirements established by the governing body of the local school corporation prior to the school closure order issued by the governor.

The executive order also extends teacher licenses expiring between March 1, 2020 and Aug. 31, 2020 until Sept. 1, 2020.

Other deadlines and requirements for the current school year will be reviewed by Dr. McCormick, the executive director of SBOE, and relevant state agencies. They will submit recommendations to the Governor by April 7 for review and further action.

Click here to download public service announcements (PSAs) recorded by the state for your use: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/egf210ognxxyx4h/AADYd7E-tBn7P6gtiLSZUiVBa?dl=0

More information may be found at the ISDH website at coronavirus.in.gov and the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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Gov. Holcomb, Superintendent McCormick outline education changes for the remaining school year
Dream Chasers NW Indiana Chapter empowers kids to overcome obstacles https://nwi.life/article/dream-chasers-nw-indiana-chapter-empowers-kids-to-overcome-obstacles/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 19:18:55 +0000 Kayla Belec https://nwi.life/article/dream-chasers-nw-indiana-chapter-empowers-kids-to-overcome-obstacles/ The Impact

One of the sharpest memories that Barbara Gederian Muckel recalls in her time as Executive Director of Dream Chasers NW Indiana Chapter involves being enveloped in a hug so fierce, it lifted her feet off the ground.

“Thank you so, so much!” said the person giving her the hug, a young boy whose strength in that moment clearly drove from somewhere within. “I just love this team so much!”

His excitement came from the thrill of participating in the Dream Chaser Challenge, the Dream Chasers’ end-of-season obstacle course challenge that allows teams from different sites to come together to challenge one another. The thrill was especially sweet because the boy had just been placed back with family members after four weeks of residing in St. Joseph’s Carmelite Home with his sister, which prevented them from attending several of their Dream Chasers sessions. He was worried they’d be unable to participate in the Challenge because of this, but his coach and Muckel insisted he join the festivity.

“He was just so happy to be a part of something big, to be part of a team that was working together to accomplish goals,” Muckel said.

Dream Chasers is an activity-based character development program designed for all skill and ability levels. Through a team-based atmosphere and fun challenges, it builds confidence in its 3rd-6th grade participants and embeds character development elements into each of its obstacles. Participants learn the importance of reaching for passion, building the right team in life, and developing grit to overcome obstacles in pursuit of their dreams.

Dream Chasers 2020

Dream Chasers 2020 11 Photos
Dream Chasers 2020Dream Chasers 2020Dream Chasers 2020Dream Chasers 2020

The boy Muckel described was just one example of the impact Dream Chasers has on the Region. The program has impacted more than 700 kids in Northwest Indiana. Current sites include Crown Point, Gary, East Chicago, Hammond, Highland, Munster, and LaPorte County.

“Our mission is to empower kids to overcome their obstacles and chase their dreams,” Muckel said. “We live not only by our mission, but by our vision, which is to reach any kid in any setting. Every child has the potential and the opportunity to be something greater, to live each day with purpose and chase their dreams.”

Sowing the Seed

In 2010, Muckel saw her only child, Hunter, off to college and felt that immediate restlessness that most parents feel once their kids leave the nest —what now? A friend recommended that she pursue coaching of some sort so she could work with kids again. Muckel took her advice and started searching for after-school programs to lead.

“The first thing I noticed in my research was that there wasn’t much out there for young boys to get involved in to empower them,” she said. “Being a mom to a boy, that’s something I’ve always felt. We as a society are very centered on empowering girls, and that’s so important, too, but boys need something to develop strong character as well.”

Muckel soon discovered Xcel 2 Fitness, a program that served boys in grades 3-5 and used the fundamentals of athletics to teach them to overcome challenges. She reached out to Xcel 2 Fitness CEO Stephen Vaughn.

“After that first conversation with Stephen, I knew this was a program we needed in Northwest Indiana,” Muckel said.

Vaughn started the program in 2008, in response to his pain shortly after his father lost a battle to cancer. He wanted to channel that pain into something that would inspire boys to overcome the obstacles life places before them, obstacles like strife and fear. Vaughn developed the curriculum initially as a summer program, expanded it into an after-school program into multiple states, and filed for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Xcel 2 Fitness was officially declared a nonprofit in 2015.

Muckel was moved by the organization and, though her professional background is in dentistry, she felt called to serve a larger role in it.

“I asked my son, ‘What do you think of that?’ and he said simply, ‘Well, why wouldn’t you?’ Everything was in alignment, and I felt it was God’s way of shaking me out of my little comfort zone. Plus,” she laughed, “when your child essentially challenges you to find a reason not to do it, it’s a pretty good indicator you should do it!”

In 2016, Muckel became executive director of the Xcel 2 Fitness’ Northwest Indiana chapter. As the program continued to develop, it became clear that it needed to have a wider, more diverse reach. In July of 2019, Xcel 2 Fitness underwent a complete rebrand and became Dream Chasers. Inclusion of girls, community participation at big events like Dream Chaser Challenge, an in-school curriculum, and a more inviting, all-inclusive energy were among the changes that came with the rebrand. As a name, Dream Chasers better displays the heart and mission of the organization.

“As a mother, I can acknowledge that my son was afforded lots of opportunities other children were not,” Muckel said. “And that did always weigh on me. With Dream Chasers, any child of any ability, gender, or background can be involved. I have loved being a part of this evolution, and I feel very blessed to be a part of Dream Chasers.”

Themes for Life

Dream Chasers is a six-week program composed of 12 sessions. Teams meet twice a week for an hour and fifteen minutes each session. Each session begins with a discussion about having a certain foundation, then leads to an activity that reflects that foundation. For instance, if the focus for the day is on balance in life, the participants might hop on one foot for a length of time or try their hand at agility ladders. Or, if the theme is overcoming fear, they’ll go through a strength course. For teamwork, they’ll work to overcome an obstacle together.

“We use the fundamentals of fitness—strength, speed, agility, cardio, balance—as a way to get these kids moving and learning,” Muckel said. “With the character-building components so tied in, they’re not even realizing they’re learning the fundamentals of leadership and teamwork.”

After a cool down, the session ends with a closing discussion. Coaches follow the curriculum written by Dream Chasers. Each season is a new journey. And, of course, the Dream Chasers Challenge allows different teams to come together for one big obstacle course and to become involved with their surrounding community.

Dream Chasers has developed an in-school curriculum that has already been adopted by several area schools and is developing a summer curriculum.

“Our program is much more than an after-school program,” Muckel said. “We’re promoting character and personal development in children. We combined our after-school and in-school curriculum to create free online resources to provide to any child, anywhere.”

This online resource comes to full fruition at an especially crucial time—during the COVID-19 pandemic that is causing children to rely on e-learning from home and cutting them off from their typical activities, like Dream Chasers courses. The online program offers weeks’ worth of lesson plans for children, with a different plan for each day, including an activity sheet to fill out, a riddle challenge, and a hands-on project to boost creativity.

The Dream Chasers online program offers kids something extra to occupy their time at home, their parents a sigh of relief, and all an additional opportunity for character building during this unprecedented time. 

No matter which way it’s utilized, Muckel said the program changes lives—and not just for the children, but also for the adults leading them.

“At the adult level, the Dream Chasers program has been a game-changer, and our coaches are the lifeblood of this program,” she said. “They’re the ones out there leading these kids, listening to them, and guiding them—and learning from them, too.”

In 2019, the executive directors went through a 3-week intensive training course, and Muckel invited her board members and coaches to participate, too.

“We had to really put ourselves out there and share with everyone our dreams and fears, successes and failures. We had to acknowledge that there are obstacles in life and that we allow certain obstacles to get in the way of us achieving our dreams,” she said. “It was inspiring to be vulnerable, and to know that so many others go through the exact same thing.”

Muckel describes herself as a conduit for the organization and encourages everyone to explore the ways it can impact Region youth.

“We are not in the business of competing with other organizations, but we are in the business of serving as many kids as we can through our curriculum of building leadership, goal-setting, and teamwork.”

For more information about Dream Chasers NW Indiana Chapter, chat with Muckel (phone: 219-713-5101; email: Barbaram@dreamchasers.org) or visit https://dreamchasers.org/nwindiana/. Click here to access Dream Chasers’ free online resources.

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Dream Chasers NW Indiana Chapter empowers kids to overcome obstacles
Lake County foundations raise over $916,000 for COVID-19 relief efforts, announce first round of emergency grants https://nwi.life/article/lake-county-foundations-raise-over-916000-for-covid-19-relief-efforts-announce-first-round-of-emergency-grants/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 17:51:07 +0000 Legacy Foundation https://nwi.life/article/lake-county-foundations-raise-over-916000-for-covid-19-relief-efforts-announce-first-round-of-emergency-grants/ With significant gifts from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, the joint effort from Legacy Foundation, the Crown Point Community Foundation and Foundations of East Chicago has raised $916,950 for COVID-19 relief in Lake County, Indiana.

“In the 26 American communities where Knight functions, we will join others providing immediate relief. In Gary, we will contribute $500,000 to support Legacy Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund,” the Knight Foundation wrote in an email statement.

The White Family Foundation announced that it will contribute $250,000 to the Lake County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund at Legacy Foundation.

“We are deeply grateful for the response we’ve received to the Emergency Fund. We’ve heard from many people within and outside of our community who recognize the health and financial impact this pandemic is having on our residents and businesses and want to contribute,” said Legacy Foundation President, Carolyn Saxton.

Crown Point Community Foundation, Foundations of East Chicago and Legacy Foundation met Monday to award $107,759 in emergency grants to nonprofit organizations serving Lake County, Indiana. The Foundations are collaborating to support charities whose clients and services have been most impacted by the health and economic consequences of COVID-19.

“We saw many applications come in during the first week that the grant was open. We feel the increased need and sense of urgency to get these funds distributed to organizations quickly,” said President of the Crown Point Community Foundation, Mary Nielsen.

The awarded organizations include: 219 Health Network, Inc., Beachfront Dance School, Best Buddies Indiana, Catholic Charities Diocese of Gary, Chicagoland Immigrant Welcome Network, CRWorks, Inc., East Chicago MOMS Taking Charge, Foodbank of Northwest Indiana, Franciscan Health Foundation, Goodwill LEADS Inc., Hanover Township, Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana, The Salvation Army of Lake County,  St. Jude House, and YWCA of Northwest Indiana. The grants cover a wide range of services, such as protective equipment for healthcare workers, meal delivery and distribution, sanitation supplies, housing assistance and childcare.

“The crisis has led us to work together in a new way. We have the same priorities in mind, but we bring unique perspectives because of the different areas we serve and relationships we have with organizations in our communities,” said Rosa Pena, executive director at Foundations of East Chicago.

Applications to the emergency fund are accepted on a rolling basis, with a weekly deadline of Sunday by midnight. Representatives from the foundations meet each week by phone to review new submissions and make funding decisions. The number of future grant awards will be dependent on the money raised through the foundations’ emergency response funds and the evolving needs over time.

Interested organizations can see eligibility criteria and access the grant application online at http://www.legacyfdn.org/grants.

Donate online or by check to support the emergency grants. Gifts are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. No gift is too small, and that every dollar contributed will provide services in our communities.

How to Donate

Donate Online

Donate by Check

  • Legacy Foundation: indicate Emergency Response Fund in the memo line and mail to 370 E. 84th Drive, Suite 100, Merrillville, IN 46410
  • Crown Point Community Foundation: indicate CARE-Emergency Fund in the memo line and mail to P.O. Box 522, Crown Point, IN 46308
  • Foundations of East Chicago: 100 W Chicago Ave, Suite G, East Chicago, IN 46312

About Legacy Foundation

Legacy Foundation Inc. is a nonprofit community foundation that supports the passions of philanthropic individuals, organizations, and businesses in Lake County, Ind. Through the generosity of many donors, Legacy has awarded more than $40 million to charitable causes since its founding in 1992. With a deep knowledge of local issues, we work creatively across the public, private and philanthropic sectors to address challenges throughout Lake County. The foundation manages $60 million in assets and is governed by a diverse volunteer board of directors. For more information, visit www.legacyfdn.org.

About Crown Point Community Foundation

The Crown Point Community Foundation connects people who care to causes that matter. Since 1990, we have served the citizens of Crown Point and South Lake County through a range of charitable and civic activities, while helping individual donors achieve their philanthropic goals. As a public charitable organization, the CPCF is dedicated to building permanently endowed funds. The Crown Point Community Foundation will help to positively shape the future of the community and act as a facilitator of community good.

About Foundations of East Chicago

Work of the Foundations of East Chicago is funded by the AMERISTAR East Chicago Casino and Hotel. Our Mission is to support local schools, churches, municipal agencies and nonprofit organizations that work to improve the quality of life in East Chicago. To advance this mission, the Foundations of East Chicago will provide financial support through educational assistance in the form of scholarships; the awarding of grants that are strategic to achieve our objectives and by our service and leadership within the community. FEC’s vision is to be recognized as the model for philanthropic leadership and community partnership, demonstrating that positive change is possible and East Chicago residents can live in hope of a bright, safe and prosperous future.

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Lake County foundations raise over $916,000 for COVID-19 relief efforts, announce first round of emergency grants
Tea A’More coming to Portage, IN https://nwi.life/article/tea-amore-coming-to-portage-in/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 06:00:45 +0000 https://nwi.life/article/tea-amore-coming-to-portage-in/ Tea A’More is coming soon to the Meadows Shopping Center in Portage, IN. The restaurant will be located at 2531 Willowcreek Road and will have a drive-thru lane for customers. The new concept will serve all different kinds of Bubble Tea which are extremely fresh as well as specialty waffles. The operators behind the concept have been in the restaurant business all their lives and plan on beginning construction soon

Brett McDermott, of Latitude Commercial, represented the Landlord in the lease. “This is an exciting new concept for the shopping center, said Brett McDermott. The operators have been traveling and training non-stop between Chicago and New York and I know they are going to offer a great product to the community and I expect it to get fully embraced.”

Latitude Commercial provides commercial real estate services such as purchasing, leasing, tenant representation, and property management throughout Northwest Indiana and the Chicago Suburbs. To find out how we can help you find a new home for your business, call us today at (219) 864-0200.

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Tea A’More coming to Portage, IN