Meet Margie Worrell I currently work at United Way of Central Indiana as the Senior Manager of Basic Needs. Much of my day-to-day work is around a program that provides free volunteer tax assistance to families in our area. It is very rewarding work where I get to be around very caring people! My hobbies include hiking, hanging out with my two kids and my dog, and working in my yard - I love to be outdoors! What is it about PLC's work that appeals to you? I think what appeals to me most is the way that PLC works to help people understand how to be connected to others in a peaceful and respectful way. Being a former first grade teacher, I have seen how young children are often able to act with compassion and love; and when they fall short of that, they are able to understand correction and alter their behavior. I am not sure why so many people seem to forget this skill as they grow older. I believe that if we can teach our young people how to act lovingly toward one another, they can change the world. And if we can teach their parents as well, we can make that change even more rapidly. THAT is what I see PLC doing for our community...teaching this lesson to both young and old(er) people! What kind of work do you do with PLC? I am
Meet Maria Wiley, MBA, CFE. I am the Senior Director for Audit, Risk Management, and Procurement for the Indianapolis Airport Authority where I have been working for over 20 years. One of my other duties is being the ADA Coordinator for the airport, where I was able to lead the project to construct 2 Sensory Rooms that are designed for those passengers and guests that have emotional challenges such as Autism, PTSD, Dementia, and Alzheimer’s. During the 2020 pandemic I kept myself busy by completing my MBA through Indiana Wesleyan University. What is it about PLC's work that appeals to you? I continue to be amazed by the impact that the PLC staff is making in our public school systems. The testimonials from parents, students, and teachers confirms the increasing need for the services PLC provides. What kind of work do you do with PLC? Currently, I am on the Engagement Committee and one of our goals for this year is to bring more awareness to PLC and build name and brand recognition. We have also been busy planning the year-long PLC 25th Anniversary celebration. Can you tell us a memorable experience or something you have learned during your time at PLC? After joining the Board, I engaged the PLC staff to provide some team-building sessions for my employees in Eagle Creek park. We all agreed that it heightened our social awareness, and it was a day filled with
Meet George Okantey I am the president and principal consultant at GOT Performance Solutions LLC., a credentialed talent development consulting practice that focuses on experiential learning, empowerment, and transformation. We help individuals, teams, and organizations identify, surface, and resolve perceived or imagined difficulties productively and respectfully. I am an Indiana University Public Affairs graduate and Association for Talent Development Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD). I retired from Purdue University Extension after twenty-one years of service to launch my consulting practice. My customer segments include small businesses, community development agencies, HBCU's, government and nonprofit agencies. I love to travel, explore, and discover. The last two years have not been that great for travel, so I have taken to walking, listening to audiobooks and favorite podcasts like Brene Brown's "Dare to Lead" and Sam Harris' "Making Sense." I am married and have two adult children and three grandchildren. What is it about PLC's work that appeals to you? I believe that life is worthwhile when there is friendship and harmony with everyone. These foundational human needs are interrupted by inequities, misunderstanding, disrespect, violence, hostility, and conflict. PLC focuses on teaching behavior constrain skills that help people relate and understand more, create psychological safety, and resolve disputes safely and respectfully. This work is challenging and appealing because of my life experience and as a true Libra dedicated to freedom, fairness, and justice. What kind of work do you do with PLC?
Meet Jessica Brand Indiana resident for more than 25 years. Married to Scott and have three children, Natalie, 22, Lilah, 20, and Earl, 15. I left the corporate world 12 years ago when our son was diagnosed with autism to be his full-time advocate. I now do some marketing, consulting, and event planning from my home office. I belong to several arts and education organizations where I can practice my passion for community service and outreach. What is it about PLC's work that appeals to you? I love PLC because of our commitment to teach kindness through peace, equity, and justice. There is nothing better than working alongside like-minded people all with this most important focus. What kind of work do you do with PLC? This is my second year serving on the board at PLC and I have enjoyed working with staff to see that the PLC mission can be brought to as many people as possible. Can you tell us a memorable experience or something you have learned during your time at PLC? When you may have lost confidence in humanity, know that there are some amazing people working diligently every day, with laser focus, to make this world a more peaceful and equitable place. Those folks are at PLC and I am grateful for each and every one.
by Kyarie Shelton Hello, my name is Kyarie Shelton. I just recently graduated from Pike High School and will be attending Johns Hopkins University in the fall. For the past two or three years, I have participated in Social Justice Leadership Camp. In the Summer of 2019, I was a participant in the camp. This camp opened my eyes to issues that I was unaware of. As an African American female, I knew from my own experiences of racial and gender inequalities; however, through this camp, I learned about mental health disparities, the wealth gap, sexuality inequalities, and the injustices that other people of color face. This camp not only explores the inequality of marginalized groups of people on a surface/street level, but it dives into the institutions and ideologies that keep the marginalized groups oppressed. The structure of the camp is as unique as the wonderful woman running it. Although our days are scheduled, Clare allows the participants to speak freely, even if it deviates a bit from the topic at hand. Clare creates a safe haven for opinions to be heard, and more importantly, respected. Clare treats us all as family and makes sure to incorporate light-hearted days throughout the program to even out the intense discussions. During the Summer of 2020, I was invited back to be a facilitator, and I facilitated throughout the 2020-2021 school year. It was an amazing experience, touching the lives of
Meet Madeline Mason I am a Social Emotional Learning Coach and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion facilitator. Middle school is my specialty and my favorite! I am also a Ph.D. student in IUPUI's Urban Education Studies program. I spend most of my time with my husband and our 15-year-old pug Carl Jones. What is it about PLC's work that appeals to you? I love the intersection of academics, social emotional learning, and anti-racism in the work of PLC. I also love their strengths regarding Restorative Justice. What kind of work do you do with PLC? I have worked with PLC pretty much since Day 1 of my education career 11 years ago. From bringing restorative practices and implicit bias work to a handful of different schools I have worked to do peer mentoring work directly with my students. PLC is special to me because we have always been partners! I also volunteer co-facilitating implicit bias workshops and serve as a board member. Can you tell us a memorable experience or something you have learned during your time at PLC? I partnered with PLC back in 2017, and we led a very special class I was teaching called Student Voices through peer mentoring training. Not only was the day in itself amazing as we hiked, connected, and learned together, but watching my students then come back to our school (shout out to Harshman middle school in IPS!) and lead their peers
Mary Palin is one of our facilitators for Peace Learning Circles – a process for building a learning community through positive, productive relationships and SEL-academic connections. She did this for 20 years with middle school students before turning her attention to training educators full time. PLC has welcomed her experience and she is happy to have landed in an organization so dedicated to empowering individuals to create a caring community. Zooming inclusion strategies with PLC staff has been a highlight for new learning opportunities as well as appreciation for belonging to such an inspiring organization. ‘Novel in an Hour’ was a memorable moment during one of our meetings. When Mary isn’t facilitating Peace Learning Circles, she spends her time enjoying horses, hikes, and motorcycles.
Meet Jeff Howell I moved to the eastside of Indianapolis 7 years ago to work alongside others on social justice issues in an urban environment. I am a Real Estate Broker and a property manager. I enjoy spending time with friends, bicycling, and nature. What is it about PLC's work that appeals to you? The work that PLC does appeals to me because it humanizes all people, and works towards conciliation and peace. What kind of work do you do with PLC? I help facilitate conversations on Implicit Bias. Can you tell us a memorable experience or something you have learned during your time at PLC? Working with the diverse group of facilitators at PLC has been a great blessing. I get to know my co-facilitators more personally and learn how to better 'ebb and flow' with our different personalities in facilitating together.
Meet Adrianna Castleberry! Adrianna is one of our facilitation interns for this summer! She is a senior at the University of Indianapolis and working to pursue a career in Social Work. After graduation, she’s hoping to work as a clinical CPS worker and with the juvenile population. What brought you to Peace Learning Center? I chose PLC because after a very hopeful search to find a great fit for my junior internship, I came across Peace Learning Center. When I read through their information about their summer program with my Advisor, I was immediately sucked in as their program for the children sounds the most successful and instructional. What is a cause you’re passionate about and how does it relate to PLC? I am very passionate about giving children a second chance. Many adults are too hard on children and expect far too much from them such as clean your room or do your homework as soon as you get home from school rather than “how was your day?” I feel that PLC allows children to take a day vacation to learn and explore rather than needing to handle their parents' expectations for the summer. What are you hoping to get out of this summer/ your internship? I hope to get a little insight on how children handle different learning activities as they all have a focus point. I’d love to watch what they learn from our
Meet Ramisa Reza! Ramisa is our Special Events and Fundraising Intern for the summer. She is a rising Junior at Purdue University majoring in Public Relations & Strategic Communication, as well as Global Studies. What brought you to Peace Learning Center? I aspire to a career in the non-profit sector! While my current studies are focused on global issues, I was determined to take this summer to become active in my local community. When researching Indianapolis based non-profits, Peace Learning Center was perhaps the most dynamic organization I found. Additionally, it boasted a cause that I care about, as I was actually in the midst of an awesome Peace Studies class! I was eager to put my education into use and after having the chance to speak to Jay Horan and Tiffany Talbert, I felt this opportunity would be a valuable first step into my dream field. What is a cause you’re passionate about and how does it relate to PLC? My interests lie particularly in Human Rights. Being a first-generation American, I have always been hyper-aware of the privileges I have had in my life when compared to the life I could have lived in a developing nation. The rights and freedoms we hold, from freedom of expression to the right to an education, are not as common around the world as we may think. And while cultural relativity cannot be overlooked, I do believe we, as a world, can offer better. As such, I would argue that it is at the intersection of Human Rights and