While on a mission trip to Botwana, Africa, Derrin Slack experienced the power of giving back to others and wondered how his life would have been different had he been exposed to service at a younger age, thus, Project Greater Than Me was born. Focus 2020 grant recipient and leader of Pro(ACT) Community Partnership, Derrin created strong young civic leaders this past year through his initiative Project Greater Than Me, which provides service opportunities to youth in the Indianapolis area. The program lasted the entire school year and engaged 7th through 12th grade youth in community service projects every Saturday. Some of their service sites included Outside the Box, Wheeler Mission, and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. They were also even able to help with other Focus 2020 projects in the community such as the Rivoli Park Labyrinth and the VSA Arts of Indiana. Derrin explained, “Our organization is unique in that we are creating another dot on the map of community nonprofits, but we are also creating a web connecting others to those community nonprofits, which in all strengthens the community.”
The first semester of Pro(ACT) impacted about 53 young people through service. However, during the second semester in the spring of 2014 the number of youth involved skyrocketed to an astonishing 800 youth. Project Greater Than Me was able to grow thanks to the Focus 2020 grant which assisted with funding as well as providing useful workshops. The Peace Learning Center’s “Help Increase the Peace” curriculum gave youth the skills they needed to go out into the community and serve. Derrin stated this project also “makes adults feel more confident to invest in our youth because they see them out giving back to their community on such a consistent basis.” Derrin plans on restarting the program on September 6, 2014 with the hope they will make even more connections in the community so youth can empower themselves and Indianapolis with a mission that is truly greater than them.
If you’re interested, you can learn more and/or sign-up to get more involved with Project Greater Than Me by going to proactcp.org
Focus 2020 is a civic engagement and community education initiative led by Peace Learning Center with support from more than 57 other local organizations and businesses. Their goal is to create a more welcoming greater Indianapolis community by the year 2020. The initiative includes a series of public forums, free workshops, and grants for community action projects. Focus 2020 is sponsored by Citizens Energy group, the Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate, the Samerian Foundation, and the Efroymson Family Fund, a CICF affiliate.
Learn more about Focus 2020 at http://www.infocus2020.org/