Finding a place to pitch in
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent April 4, 2013 2:08PM
Carolyn Meinbresse, president of the Auxillary at Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Crown Point, (right) talks with potential volunteer Rita Stearns of Crown Point (center) during the annual Spring Into Action Community Volunteer Fair at Crown Point High School in Crown Point, Ind. Saturday March 9, 2013. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Foundation makes grants
The Crown Point Community Foundation awarded 16 grants during the Feb. 1, 2013 grant cycle totaling $54,032.87:
CPHS AP Testing: $3,000
CPHS Vex Robotics Underdogs 1233: $7,800
Bulldog Workshop/CPHS Transition Program: $750
First United Methodist Church of Lowell for household goods pantry: $3,000
Col. John Wheeler Middle School Art Dept.: $1,077.87
CP 4th of July Celebration Committee parade costs: $2,500
Second Life Resale Shoppe, Inc. carts for the shop: $2,000
Southlake Branch YMCA Hub Run: $2,000
The Arc NWI, Inc. transit lift van: $5,000
CPCSC/Elementary Media Center author visit: $2,500
South Shore Arts, Inc.: $5,000
CP Lacrosse uniforms and equipment: $2,000
CP Youth Baseball new scoreboard: $10,000
CPHS/Center for Teaching and Learning with Technology: $3,300
Hanover Central High School software program “Turnitin”: $2,105
Girl Scouts of CP Unit 7 supplies: $2,000
The next grant cycle is June 1, 2013. For a grant application packet, contact the foundation at 662-7252 or visit the website at www.thecpcf.org to download an application or stop by our office at 115 S. Court St., Crown Point, IN 46307
Residents looking to connect with the right place to give back to the community recently were recently treated to a smorgasbord of opportunities under one roof.
The fourth annual Spring Into Action volunteer fair hosted by the Crown Point Community Foundation brought more than 60 local not-for-profit organizations under one roof at Crown Point High School to reach out to visitors and share information on the wide variety of ways they could pitch in.
“This is the most number of booths we have had,” said Melissa Giles, a member of the foundation’s steering committee.
Participating agencies were as varied as the more than 300 visitors of all ages took advantage of the chance to do a little one-stop shopping for the volunteer option that was the right fit.
Judy and Bob Michalak of Schererville and their daughter Alison, 24, were all looking for a little something different when it comes to volunteer.
Judy was interested in working with senior citizens, possibly with dementia care or elderly abuse; Alison was seeking an opportunity involving animals, and Bob, a nature lover, was looking for a way to give his time while enjoying the outdoors.
“I found exactly what I was looking for,” Bob Michalak said. He was eying opportunities at the Taltree Arboretum & Gardens in Valparaiso or the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
“I’m just an outdoorsy guy. In fact, I’m on the verge of retirement. I’m very, very close. I want to do something outdoors,” he said.
Judy Michalak said she enjoyed the format and the ability to see such a wide variety of options in one place. She also liked how helpful the volunteers representing their groups were.
“They were very willing to explain,” she said.
The family said they believe it is important to give back to the community and they were glad to be able to take advantage of the event.
“I believe that to feel happy within yourself, you have to help other people,” Alison Michalak said.
It is that attitude the many organizations filling the high school’s cafeteria were hoping to capitalize on.
Heidi Ghasi of Munster, Karen Goad of Schererville and Kathleen Kocot of St. John were all volunteers for Power Paws for Kids. Volunteers, and their personal dogs, are trained in animal assisted therapy and visit libraries, schools and nursing homes where they read with children and seniors.
The dogs, the women say, work as an ice-breaker and can melt the heart of the toughest kid when they begin to interact. The group is always in need of volunteers to expand the places they are bringing their services. Spring into Action was helping them make some of those connections.
“It makes more people aware,” Kocot said.