The Innovators of the Month: January 2014

By: Contributor Last Updated: January 26, 2014

Donald-SpearsDonald W. Spears, Homelessness Prevention Internship Program, 2013 – 2014 Team Member

In a partnership between two educational institutions, a non-profit, and a small resale shop, Ivy Tech Northwest students are teaming up with Indiana University Northwest students in a dual internship program to help homeless men, said Donald Spears, associate professor and Human Services Program Chair, Ivy Tech Community College Northwest. Students from both institutions work together as interns to benefit the New Creation Men's Center in Valparaiso. Supporting the day center is the New Creation Resale Shop.

"Those of us in the helping fields have learned the value of collaboration," Don said. "Ivy Tech students pursuing associate degrees get to work with IUN students in bachelor and master degree programs."

From Ivy Tech, students participate with IUN students who jointly do intakes and prepare treatment programs to aid homeless men under the direction of faculty and staff. This dual internship concept came from Erin Miller, also of Ivy Tech Northwest, along with Jim Drader, executive director of the day center. Erin was recruited by Don in 2010 to help build an associates program that now has grown fourfold to over 300 students. Another team member is Darlene Lynch, Ph.D., director of the School of Social Work at IUN. Don and Erin began collaborating to combat extreme poverty when he taught sociology at IUN.

"This program jointly benefits students and helps address the poverty issue that affects every community," Don said.

bonnie-troutBonnie Trout – Retired Chamber Director, Launched European Market, Chesterton 2013 – 2014 Member

There are 97 days until the opening of the European Market, and like many patrons who come to this weekly market, Bonnie Trout is looking forward to the first Saturday of May. But Bonnie is not just another customer, but probably more than anyone else, she's credited with launching this market that some call "magical" in downtown Chesterton. Today, of course, the market has an electic group of 90 vendors that attracts 1000 visitors weekly.

Before the market was launched in 2002, Bonnie started as a volunteer at the Chamber. Having moved here from California, she thought an activity was needed to jumpstart a "quiet downtown after the banks closed at noon." She learned about a French market that took place in Illinois, and with a committee, went back and forth in negotiations. When negotiations broke down, she decided Chesterton should hold its own market. She and committee member Lisa Wodridge came up with the name: European Market.

Duneland Director Heather Ennis, who nominated Bonnie, said: "She got the okay from the town to hold it in the chamber parking lot, got a contract and logo, and opened with 28 vendors the first season. Lake Erie Land Company gave the market money for tents and everything just fell into place."

Today, it has universal appeal as one of the most popular markets in the region and state.

"Innovators of the Month" highlights the Members of the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana for use by the media serving Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski and Starke Counties. The Society celebrates Fellows and Chanute Prize recipients, but also recognizes other Members of "The 2013 - 2014 Class." The Society shares their inspiring stories of innovation in each monthly edition. The Society is part of the Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center of Ivy Tech Community College Northwest. For information, contact O'Merrial Butchee, Director, Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center at (219) 981-4942, or John Davies, Assistant Director, at (219) 981-1111, Ext. 2292.