In 2019, Near East Area Renewal (NEAR) and Shepherd Community Center received a $30,000 grant from CTS’s Faith & Action Project to help build the Minnie Hartmann Center on the near east side of Indianapolis. The center, located at 3734 E. Vermont St., is housed in what used to be Indianapolis Public School 78, an elementary school originally constructed in 1923. The revitalized site, which was named after a beloved community member and PTA volunteer at the school, is now home to a unique inter-generational living and learning center.
The Minnie Hartmann Center is a collaborative response to what neighbors and community studies indicated were two of the area’s greatest needs: affordable senior housing and a childcare facility. NEAR has worked to redevelop the former IPS school, and the senior living facilities opened in late June 2019. The childcare center, which will be operated by Shepherd Community Center, plans to open in mid-August 2020.
Shepherd Community Center, located on Indianapolis’s near east side, is a faith-based organization working “to break the cycle of poverty…by engaging and empowering the community.” The organization focuses on cultivating “healthy children, strong families, and vibrant neighborhoods.”
In a message to community partners, Jay Height, Executive Director of Shepherd, reflected on the importance of the new facility and shared his excitement about the project’s progress. Referencing an insight from economist Phil Powell, Associate Dean of Academic Programs at the Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis, Height said that, “the greatest investment a city can make is in early childhood.” He also reported on a plan to staff the childcare facility in partnership with Ivy Tech’s Child Development and Education programs. The childcare facility aims to create a number of new, full-time, livable-wage jobs.
Andrew Green, Assistant Executive Director at Shepherd, explained more about the unique setting. “It’s really exciting to be thinking about the inter-generational learning opportunities that will be happening here at Minnie Hartmann. This is one of a few places across the country, and the first in the state of Indiana, to be combining a senior population with a childcare population onsite,” he said. “We’ll be inviting seniors to come and be a part of daily activities with the kids. [There will be] lots of opportunities to engage. We know the benefits that it brings the kids and also the benefits it brings to the seniors.”
More announcements about the childcare center will be posted on Shepherd’s website. “We’re thrilled to be able to…offer these opportunities to neighbors and kids on the near east side,” Green said.
Watch the video of Shepherd’s update about the Minnie Hartmann Center here:
Learn more about CTS’s Faith & Action project, other grant recipients, and grant opportunities here.
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