Community groups outline plans for progress using city grants

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Two community groups, given a big boost after being awarded their share of a $400,000 crime prevention grant, are revealing their plans for community improvement.

The Peace Learning Center and the Shepherd Community Center are both using their share of the funds to help improve east side Indianapolis communities, albeit through different methods.

Director of family programming for the Peace Learning Center Naeemah Jackson said the center is using their $40,000 of the award money to help create a community peace project with families living at the Blackburn Terrace Apartments. Their goal is build “better communities” by helping families build better communication, conflict resolution and cooperative practices.

“Each family is a strong component of the overall community. So when families are strengthened then communities are strengthened,” Jackson said.

The Shepherd Community Center is using their $50,000 grant to extend a partnership they began last year with IMPD and Eskenazi Health. Their program appoints an IMPD officer and an Eskenazi paramedic as community resources, allowing the first responders to spend more time on calls and develop relationships with community residents.

“The officer and paramedic can respond in the moment, they can do some follow up, then they can directly connect people to an official resources back here, things around employment, housing, income support,” chief program officer Andrew Green said.

Both groups are part of a group of ten who received money for community outreach projects.

The groups which also received the funding are Brothers United, Indiana Black Expo., Congregation Action Network, Horizon House Inc., Ten Point Coalition, The Ross Foundation, MLK Community Center and Stop The Violence Indianapolis Inc.

The Peace Learning center says they will kick off their plan on July 1. The Shepherd Community Center’s program is already running. Green says they’re just hoping to continue to build on the relationships they’ve already formed.