Society selects January Innovators of the Month

2014-01-26T06:30:00Z Society selects January Innovators of the MonthTimes Staff
January 26, 2014 6:30 am  • 

As part of its effort to highlight its 2013-14 class, the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana has selected Donald W. Spears and Bonnie Trout as its January Innovators of the Month.

In a partnership between two educational institutions, a nonprofit, 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 Spears, associate professor and Human Services Program Chair at 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,” Spears 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. Another team member is Darlene Lynch, Pdirector of the School of Social Work at IUN. 

There are 97 days until the opening of the European Market, and like many patrons who come to this weekly market, Trout is looking forward to the first Saturday of May. Trout is not just another customer; she’s credited with launching this market in downtown Chesterton.

The market has an electic group of 90 vendors that attracts 1,000 visitors weekly. Before the market was launched in 2002, Bonnie started as a volunteer at the Chamber and has retired as director. 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 host its own market.

She and committee member Lisa Wodridge came up with the name: European Market. Today, it has universal appeal as one of the most popular markets in the region and state.

The society is part of the Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center of Ivy Tech Community College Northwest.

For more information, call O'Merrial Butchee, director of the Lamkin Center at (219) 981-4942, or John Davies, assistant director, at (219) 981-1111, ext. 2292.


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