Leadership academy chooses six community issues to tackle

HANCOCK COUNTY — Six projects to improve the community are on deck for this year’s 25-member class of Leadership Hancock County.

Leadership Hancock County, a tuition-supported leadership academy that immerses budding leaders through leadership discussions and experiences, solicited project ideas from area nonprofit organizations, businesses and schools to be tackled during its eight-month program.

The projects selected are:

An inventory system and a marketing and fundraising strategy for Backpacks of Hope, a county organization that provides backpacks filled with supplies to people in Hancock County.

A fundraiser event — including a schedule for planning and advertising the event — for Alternatives Inc., an Anderson-based domestic and sexual violence shelter that strives to eradicate domestic and sexual violence in central Indiana through education, prevention and intervention. Alternatives has an office in Hancock County.

A dedicated volunteer corps for Little Free Library Hancock County to oversee, maintain and stock the small library stations located throughout the county.

Identification of sites and preliminary work for murals in Greenfield. This project, sponsored by the Hancock County Arts and Cultural Council and Greenfield Main Street, focuses on researching the history of several downtown buildings that are in prime locations for a mural that relates to the original history of that building.

A plan for a sensory garden to be established at J.B. Stephens Elementary School, which will allow other schools to follow the plan. Teachers will use the garden to complement their lessons.

A website for The Landing, a Greenfield clearinghouse for young people who need guidance, substance abuse intervention and education. The website will feature testimonials and resources for young people who are at risk, said director Linda Ostewig.

Not only will the projects selected be groundbreaking for the organizations that submitted them, they should be able to be sustained by those organizations once the class has completed the projects, said Leadership Hancock County co-coordinator David Hill.

“The class will be able to hand off their completed projects to the sponsoring organization, but the project will always have our stamp on it, which is kind of cool,” Hill said.

In order to put Leadership Hancock County members into groups to tackle the projects, members of the class took a personality test to identify their leadership styles. Class organizers then grouped the members together — not necessarily putting all leadership styles in one group, however, so members will learn to work with all types of people.

The group will begin working on the projects on Dec. 7, which is dubbed Community Issues Day by Leadership Hancock County.

Though the members of the class don’t know what projects they’ll be assigned yet, member Teresa Smith said the program has been enlightening so far.

“It has been very educational, and I’ve learned a lot of about the community and its history,” Smith said. “Certainly, the interaction with classmates is valuable.”

The Landing, which serves as a safe place for at-risk teens and hosts support groups for people whose loved one is battling addiction, has been up and running for about three years. Officials there have been wishing for a more comprehensive website the entire time, Ostewig said.

“We are thankful for them picking us to do our project,” she said. “It takes a huge weight off our shoulders.”

Leadership Hancock County

Leadership Hancock County is a tuition-supported leadership academy that immerses budding leaders throughout the county in leadership discussions and experiences during an eight-month program.

The organization was formed in the 1990s with the mission to inspire residents to foster the traits needed to take on positions of leadership within the community.

For more information about Leadership Hancock County, visit leadhc.org.

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.