Jobs initiative transforming Indianapolis neighborhood

By James Polston
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS — U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana, toured a historically troubled Indianapolis neighborhood Monday to learn how residents’ lives are being transformed through initiatives that provide jobs and second chances.

Brookside is a neighborhood on the northeast side of Indianapolis that has, in the past, been an area of high crime and low-quality education.

U.S. Todd Young, R-Indiana, and Pastor Dale Shaw tour the Brookside neighborhood of Indianapolis. Photo by Dionte Coleman, TheStatehouseFile.com

“It’s taken a number of community heroes, in my mind, to make sure that every person in this area ultimately will have a fair shot at success,” Young said.

Before walking through the neighborhood, Young toured Purposeful Design and talked with most of the employees.

Purposeful Design opened in 2003 and is a handcrafted, custom furniture company that aims toto help rebuild lives of individuals broken by addiction or homelessness and equip them with valuable work skills.

Young visited Brookside as part of his Fair Shot Agenda aims to identify the barriers to success and the actions we can take to ensure a level playing field for everyone, regardless of their background.

Dale Shaw, pastor for urban outreach at College Park Church, has partnered with local businesses, like Purposeful Design, to transform the Brookside neighborhood with the church’s Five Pillars of a Healthy Community.

Shaw said College Park Church has formally been involved with the Brookside neighborhood since 2008.

The church’s five pillars aim to have a culture of place and relationship, Jesus-centered churches, opportunities for economic development, strong educational structures and safe and affordable housing.

Shaw said he lived in Carmel for 30 years before moving to Brookside and although he loves Carmel, Brookside is a place where everyone knows their neighbors.

“Everybody in Carmel had a back deck and everybody in Brookside has a front porch and we know our neighbors,” Shaw said.

Young said the objective is to have as many vibrant front porches as possible and Brookside should be an example to the rest of the state and country.

“We don’t want people retreating to their back decks,” Young said. “We want people engaging in their communities and caring for one another on their front porches.”

Young also said changes starts with love.

“If you love people, if you embrace them with your whole heart, if you minister to them and take a genuine interest in their lives, their families, in an entire community in this instance, you can change lives in a way frankly that government programs can’t,” he said.

Young has previously signed on to bipartisan legislation that makes a study group examine how the federal government can best attack the lack of affordable housing in the United States.

James Polston is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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