More than 2,200 DeKalb County children in Kindergarten to grade 3, will engage in multiple hands-on learning activities at Ivy Tech Community College on Friday, September 20, as they participate in the DeKalb County Promise Walk Into My Future. Through this age-appropriate experience, young children gain ideas of what they can aspire to after completing high school.
Students from kindergarten to 3rdgrade countywide will have the opportunity to interact with members of the Ivy Tech community as they move through career stations hosted by Ivy Tech students and faculty, and the DeKalb County community. Citing the importance of such an experience, Clint Kugler, CEO of Wabash County YMCA, and co-founder of Promise Indiana, said “giving young children that personal experience of imagining they are a (post-high school) student plants the seed of a dream for their future. It helps change a child’s identity.”
With “Walk” planning by Ivy Tech staff and faculty underway, working in tandem with DeKalb County’s community-wide Walk Planning Committee, the following Ivy Tech Schools will be hosting career stations:
- Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering
- Arts, Sciences and Education
- Business, Logistics, and Supply Chain
- Enrollment Services
- Health Sciences
- Information Technology
- Public Affairs and Social Services
- Student Success
The Walk Into My Future event is one of three components of DeKalb County Promise. DeKalb County families can enroll their children, ages 4 to grade 12, in 529 career savings accounts at no cost, receiving an initial $25 enrollment incentive. Classroom teachers, too, serve an important role helping children build their “future stories,” by including career-focused activities in their classrooms. The goal is setting the expectation that learning beyond high school, such as attending a trade school, earning a work skill certification, or going to college, is important for family-sustaining jobs of the future.
DeKalb County Promise is a partnership between the Community Foundation, DeKalb County Central, DeKalb County Eastern, and Garrett-Keyser-Butler public school districts, Lakewood Park and St. Joseph Catholic private schools, and the home school community of DeKalb County.
Numerous other community organizations are behind the effort, including Ambassador Enterprises, the Cole Foundation, Community Foundation DeKalb County, DeKalb Health, Eckhart Public Library, Junior Achievement, The James Foundation, United Way DeKalb County, and the YMCA, among others. More than 30 regional organizations are working together to benefit DeKalb County children and families.
“We want to build hope for future careers for DeKalb County students at an early age, and not just for college. There are rewarding careers across manufacturing, life sciences, agriculture and more key industries in Northeast Indiana that do not require a four-year degree but do require post-high school education. The Walk is where dreams can begin,” states Matt Bechdol, President of the Community Foundation of DeKalb County Board of Directors and Promise champion.
“DeKalb County Promise is an inspiring opportunity for families to focus on their children’s futures. It is a great way to show children that their family, friends, and the DeKalb County community care and believe in them,” said Tanya Young, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of DeKalb County.
As partners plan, numerous sponsorship opportunities are available, including helping fund t-shirts, transportation, signage, etc. To learn how you or your organization can contribute or be recognized, please call Judy Sorg or Tanya Young at the Community Foundation, 260-925-0311, or e-mail JSorg@CFDeKalb.orgwith questions or for a menu of sponsorship opportunities. For more information about Dekalb County Promise, go to www.DeKalbCountyPromise.org. Visit and follow DeKalb County Promise at Facebook and Instagram @DeKalbCountyPromise.
DeKalb County Promise is supported by Promise Indiana. Promise Indiana designs systems, creates partnerships, and gives communities the tools they need to rally champions, promote long-term savings, and support post-secondary education attainment for all youth. www.Promiseindiana.org