15 graduate in 32nd group to complete leadership development programKOKOMO, Ind. —Fifteen community leaders in business, industry, higher education, city government, ministry and personal development were honored Tuesday as Leadership Kokomo celebrated the completion of its 32nd edition of the annual leadership development program. They were honored at a luncheon at the Kokomo Event & Conference Center attended by graduates, their sponsors and LK alumni.
In remarks to the graduates, Indiana Rep. Michael Karickhoff (R-Kokomo), a member of LK’s Class of 1985, called on them to build on their strengths and previous accomplishments in future service to the community. He credited his LK experience with putting him on a path that included volunteer service to such organizations at the United Way of Howard County, the Red Cross and the Kiwanis Club and eventually led him to the Indiana Statehouse as a member of the House of Representatives.
Noting the 2014 graduates join more than 650 LK alumni, he said told them they will get out of their volunteer experience what they put into it. “I encourage you to stay involved, to have fun, and to know in your heart that you are doing the right thing for your community,” Karickhoff said. “As I look at this group of people, I am very confident Kokomo will continue on a path to a very bright future.”
Members of Leadership Kokomo’s Class of 2014 and their sponsors include:
Susan Bickel, Haynes International
Dale T. Bliss, Maple Grove Community Church
Faith J. Brautigam, Kokomo Howard County Public Library
Tyler R. Corn, Ivy Tech Community College
Mark Deckinga, St.Joseph Hospital
Jan C. Halperin, Indiana University Kokomo
Jason D. Hoffer, Kokomo First Church of the Nazarene
Tiffany Massey, Haynes International
Karen McCoy, Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance
Danielle McQuaide, Ivy Tech Community College
Patty Pavey, Today’s the Day Coaching
Quiana Preston, Authentic Center
Sherry L. Rahl, Howard County Medical Society Project Access
Josh Shannonhouse, Sequel Motion
Alli Stipes, City of Kokomo
Leadership Kokomo is a cooperative effort of Ivy Tech Community College and the City of Kokomo. It aims to bring together a diverse group of existing and emerging community leaders to empower them to become resourceful stewards of the community. Each class is divided into teams to develop and complete group projects benefiting local organizations. At Tuesday’s luncheon, team leaders described the 2014 class projects that served four non-profit organizations: Jackson Street Commons veterans’ housing project, Bona Vista Programs, Little Free Libraries and Advantage Housing.
The “Common Grounds” team worked to realize a safe and relaxed outdoor space for United States military veterans living in the 27-apartment Jackson Street Commons project that opened in May. With the help of volunteers and financial and in-kind donations, the team acquired an outdoor fireplace, “senior”-friendly Adirondack chairs and wrought iron furniture, as well as a handmade customized cornhole game, to provide an outside retreat for the residents.
For the “Right Angles” team, the goal was to “foster independence and enhance joy and satisfaction” in the lives of the residents of Bona Vista Program’s Vista Home through the joys of gardening. Team members built seven 4 foot by 8 foot by 10 inch box gardens, six for fruits and vegetables and one for flowers, along with garden benches and signage. Through a season of planting, tending and harvesting the garden, team members built relationships with residents and taught them the fun and satisfaction of gardening. Ongoing support of the program has been pledged by the Howard County Master Gardeners organization.
The “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” team took its name from a best-selling children’s book, appropriate enough for a group whose goal was to place “Little Free Libraries” around the community. The group succeeded in creating and installing three of the community “mini-libraries” in underserved Kokomo neighborhoods – on the grounds of Studebaker Park, Cutler Park and Columbian School – to allow residents to have the additional learning opportunity of the “take a book, return a book” free book collection. The Crossing alternative school, Kokomo Housing Authority and First Church of the Nazarene have volunteered continuing support of the program. This project was supported by a $1500 grant from Duke Energy, one of the largest single donations in the history of Leadership Kokomo.
Advantage Housing, an outreach program of Maple Grove Church that buys homes and renovates them to rent or sell to people who would otherwise have trouble getting a home, received the benefit of the work of Leadership Kokomo’s “Team Flipsters.” The team’s “curb appeal project” tackled the exterior of a home under renovation by Advantage Housing to increase its aesthetic value, boost its interest to potential renters or buyers and improve the surrounding neighborhood. The volunteers gathered cash and in-kind donations and invested much “sweat equity” in scraping and painting the home’s façade, cleaning trash and debris from the yard, planting flowers and shrubbery and installing a porch rail, among other projects. Proceeds from the sale of the house will benefit job-training programs for students at The Crossing.
Applications for next Leadership Kokomo class, which begins Jan. 8, are being accepted through Dec. 8. For more information about LK and an application, visit http://www.leadershipkokomo.org or contact Program Director Sharon Reed-Corbett at 765-459-0561, ext. 286, or firstname.lastname@example.org .