In January, CCIM announced it would lead the university’s first Immersive Learning Collaborative — a two- to three-year partnership with one community partner. This long-term, multi-phased effort builds on the typical one-semester immersive experience to better address a persistent issue in our community. The college selected the 8Twelve Coalition — a team of more than 20 organizations that work to improve the quality of life in some of Muncie’s urban core neighborhoods.
But then COVID-19 hit. Quarantine quashed the spring meet-n-greet with 8Twelve leaders and halted service projects in 8Twelve neighborhoods during Ball State’s Beneficence Day.
The collaborative’s momentum may have slowed, but the needs of these dedicated community organizations has not. Several 8Twelve partner organizations expressed the below needs. Please consider how you might offer support: Can you volunteer your professional expertise and time? Can you imbed one of these tasks into a summer or fall class? Can you discuss an opportunity with the student organization(s) you advise?
If you can help, please reach out to the contacts listed or email me, Kate Elliott, chair of the CCIM Engagement Taskforce, to brainstorm or discuss questions, ideas or concerns. This work is not tied to the Immersive Collaborative, but it is in service to our preferred community partner.
Muncie Public Library
All library branches remain closed, but staff returned to buildings on Monday, May 18, to train and prepare to reopen to the public on a date yet to be announced. In addition to recording story times and enhancing its online resources, Muncie Public Library has supplied more than 30 hotspots to help students without home internet to complete the school year and participate in summer school activities.
Needs: MPL wants to brainstorm with you about ways to open and provide services while keeping staff and patrons safe. Branches may also need volunteers during the re-opening process. If you are interested in volunteering or sharing your ideas, email Maring-Hunt Branch Manager, Mary Lou Gentis or call her at 765-747-8217.
This local nonprofit is working to build community — one house at a time — through sustainable home rehabilitation, design and education. During the stay-at-home orders, the organization has pushed on with house rehabs to keep its two-person crew employed.
Needs: The organization needs help with website updates and other marketing and communications efforts, including writing and design of case statements and its annual report. ecoREHAB needs help planning and adapting its fall kick-golf fundraiser to accommodate social distancing. If you can volunteer or address some of these requests in an upcoming class, email ecoREHAB Executive Director Jason Haney.
Urban Light Community Development Coalition
In 2002, a group of young families moved into Muncie’s South Central neighborhood to empower neighbors to address abandoned homes, a high rate of drug addiction, and a lost sense of community. Incorporated in 2010, the Urban Light Community Development Corporation’s three focus areas include: The Lighthouse Recovery Home, housing revitalization and neighborhood engagement. Since the stay-at-home orders, the organization’s greatest adjustment has been to add online recovery meetings and telehealth appointments for residents of The Lighthouse, a faith-based recovery home for women.
Needs: Urban Light wants help with interviewing and writing stories about some of The Lighthouse graduates. The coalition wants to enhance its social media strategy and presence. Depending on the ability to gather, Urban Light might have some volunteer opportunities, including house demo, garden weeding, general neighborhood clean-up, etc. If you’re interested, email Executive Director Joy Redinger.
Avondale United Methodist Church, the Revolution Campus Ministry & the Avondale Thomas Park Neighborhood Association
These groups are focused on providing free meals and masks to those in need. They have come together to distribute food on Mondays and pass out to-go meals on Thursdays — both at Avondale United Methodist Church, 1314 W 10th St.
Needs: Make a donation to the church to purchase food or provide for those who have lost jobs as a result of the pandemic. They also need volunteers to help prepare and distribute food. If interested in supporting these efforts, email Darbi Strahle, administrative support specialist at Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity.
Ross Community Center
The Ross Community Center, located in the Thomas Park/Avondale Neighborhood, is a space for lifelong learning, wellness and health, and arts and culture for community members of all ages and backgrounds. Since the pandemic, the center has increased its weekly community market threefold, serving approximately 450 people each week. The center also provides online tutoring.
Needs: The center needs fresh fruits and vegetables to give away to families, (non-electronic) educational games and books. The center also needs a cohesive communication campaign to better tell its story in a creative, strategic way. If you can help, email Ross Center Executive Director Jacquie Hanoman.
Boys & Girls Club of Muncie
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shelter-in-place orders, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Muncie has been open for up to 30 families of essential workers. Each day, members receive a hot breakfast, a hot lunch, and assistance with e-learning. Staff is working to virtually support the remaining 175 kids the organization previously served each day. Starting May 18, the club opened to all families for one day per week of guardian recovery time, and on June 1, summer programs will begin for a maximum of 50 kids. The club’s full re-opening plan is posted online.
Needs: The club needs assistance with outreach ideas and ways it can offer programs from a distance (online, etc.). If interested in brainstorming or support, email CEO Jason Newman.
Kate Elliott is a lecturer of Journalism, coordinates the Magazine Media concentration, and chairs the CCIM Engagement Task Force. Since 2018, Kate has supported Ball State’s historic partnership with Muncie Community Schools as faculty fellow to the MCS-Ball State Academic Innovation Council. Alongside teachers, administrators, and community partners, Kate is working to realize a holistic educational system that nurtures student success and community wellbeing.