2nd Annual Diversity and Innovation Event Summary

Held on Tuesday, Dec 17, 2019; Porter County Community Foundation

Diversity – Mainly it involves studying differences of variations of groups, such as race, ethnicity, gender, disability, class, sexual orientation, religion, region, nation, and language (Plaut, 2010, p. 170).  

Innovation – The intersection of invention and insight, leading to the creation of social and economic value.  (Kirton, 1978)

Each Life is Precious sponsored the event,

Dr. Nitha Fiona Nagubadi, CEO of Mango Networx, organized the event,

Our Leadership team selected Leaders from the various organizations to honor and recognize for their diversity and Innovation

Chief Jeff Balon nominates  Seargant  Joe Hall:
•Commander of Support Services at the Valparaiso Police Department (VPD). He is the person responsible for overseeing all of the community outreach programs at the police department.

Lori Bracket Nominates Sandy Olivery:

•Porter is involved in the Healthcare 360 program and was part of it from the beginning. 

•This program is wonderful because it helps students of various backgrounds understand the vast options they have in healthcare and how they can have an impact.  This program, particularly with Portage High School, reaches the underprivileged kids and really shows them the impact they can have.

Maggie Clifton and Aco Sikoski Nominate Chief Jeff Balon

Nominated by two  fellow leadership team members!

serving on this position since 2017. Mr. Balon is a 25-year veteran of the force and served as Captain over its detective bureau

Under Chief Balon’s leadership, the Valparaiso Police Department has worked to increase its diversity using some innovative strategies. partnerships with Valparaiso University and increased community outreach through programs

like the Citizens Academy,

Coffee with a Cop

Breakfast with Badges and more.

Reognized most recently by Northwest Indiana African American Alliance at their award luncheon.

Erin Hawkins Nominates Debi Sibray: Social Work Department:

•prioritized and developed our social work department in response to the growing need to connect diverse families through relationships and resources in innovative and caring ways

•regulation and mindfulness practices to develop their emotional selves

Erin Hawkins also nominated Allison  Hadley  -Viking Puppy Project:

•Puppy therapy at Valparaiso schools take bite out of student, staff stress. • “Therapy dogs in schools have been found to reduce stress and anxiety, especially during testing times,”

•“For some of our students who don’t interact comfortably with people, they thrive with Thor,” she said.

Other Nomnations

Jaipal Patheja Nominates Duane Davison: Valparaiso International Center

•Duane has been a tireless and consistent advocate for diversity in Valparaiso for the last 20 years (at least)

. •Using his own resources, time and energy, together with help from others, he started the Valparaiso International Center at 309 Lincolnway, Valparaiso, IN in July 2007.

•It’s humble beginnings included a complete gut and rehab of the building, which building presently houses international guest lectures each month, a market for fair trade goods, and the headquarters for preparation of the Valparaiso International Center’s annual World Cultural Festival.

Constance Bretcher Nominates Lutheran Church Charities Comfort Dogs

•They are there when there is disaster, boots and paws within 24 hours, absolutely no charge for transportation, housing and food These are all done by donations but not any organization Organizations can contribute but they are not depending on it Lutherans started it,, but they are to serve one person or many 2000 hours of trained Comfort dogs to do never to jump on anyone, not to lick There are people who respond to comfort dogs •Recent example is the response team and the dogs went to Santa Clarita disaster immediately.

Karen Kinsey – Nominates – Portage Township Schools:

•At Portage Township Schools, we educate, empower, and inspire excellence, and Social, Emotional Learning (SEL) is an integral part of that mission. Mr. Robert Wilson is in charge of SEL.

We have adopted SEL curriculum’s at each of our school’s which include the “Mind UP!” curriculum, the Life Skills program, Restorative Justice and SEL curriculums in our Loopers and alternative schools program.

Vinod Nagubadi’s Each Life Is Precious-Dual Language Immersion – Parkview School

•Valparaiso launched its DLI program four years ago using an $82,000 state grant awarded to the district in 2015, IDOE spokesman Adam Baker said. •The district has funded the program every year since, a Valparaiso schools spokesperson said. •The program is taught this year in two sections with half of all students in each participating grade level learning in one language for the first half of the day, then swapping teachers and learning a second language for the second half of the day. •Valparaiso Community Schools started phasing in its first class of DLI starting with kindergartners entering Parkview Elementary in the 2015-16 school year. The school has phased in a new class of kindergartners every year since. •It quickly grew in popularity with parents moving into Parkview-feeding neighborhoods and applying for intra-district transfers so they could take advantage of the program.

Each Life is Precious