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.
Emma Horton is one of our country’s first female Eagle Scout candidates. A senior at North Central High School in Indianapolis, she decided to focus her community service project at Peace Learning Center inside Eagle Creek Park because of its mission to help people learn how to be peacemakers. Completing a needs assessment of the facility, Emma chose to install new safety rails including a 70’ handrail along a stairway trail to the water behind the building. A newer stairway did not include a handrail down the steep descent to Eagle Creek Reservoir. Two other handrails leading from upper parking to the building were damaged and needed replaced. In addition, because of Covid and the need for more outdoor spaces, Emma chose to construct new picnic benches. Altogether Emma recruiting 30 volunteers to help with the project contributing over 166 hours of labor. “We are so thankful for all the work Emma and her team completed to help Peace Learning Center,” said Tim Nation. “ Not only did they address facility safety concerns, they also added outdoor place to serve young people this summer and beyond.” Here are some of the pictures:
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
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 Sara Hafyane! Sara is one of our Youth Program Interns for the summer. She is going into her fourth year at IUPUI. She is studying Environmental Policy and Sustainable Management with a minor in Geography. What brought you to the Peace Learning Center? I've always been interested in the place whenever I'd hike by from its name because it sounded interesting. As I did more research I saw their mission statement and what they do and wanted to work with them. They posted that they were looking for an intern on social media and that was how I got into contact with them. What is a cause you’re passionate about and how does it relate to PLC? I am very passionate about the environment. From a young age I spent most of my time in parks and I feel at home when I'm in nature. I really like the placement of PLC and how it is in the middle of the biggest city park in Indiana. When people, especially kids, come out to PLC they can get a chance to truly connect with nature and they'll understand why we all have to take care of it. The PLC has a summer camp partnered with Earth Charter Indiana that has a focus on Climate Change and combatting it locally which I think is amazing. What are you hoping to get out of this summer/your internship? I hope to gain
Hello everybody! I am Samantha Clark and am one of the interns at Peace Learning Center this summer. I am currently a sophomore at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis studying social work and would like to continue on to get my master’s in the same field. My goal is to become a school counselor. I have always loved working with youth and learning more ways to help teach, guide, and support them as they grow. Children are our future and I want to do my part to help it be a bright one! I actually started my internship in late April because I also work as a nanny in the summer and I wanted to get as much experience as possible while I could. I am very grateful to Peace Learning Center for allowing me to work with all the amazing people there, and to all the wonderful children I have met along the way. I have never worked so closely with a nonprofit organization before and it is honestly eye-opening and amazing to see what it takes to make this organization work. I have even thought about minoring in philanthropy or nonprofit as a result of the experience I’ve had there. My experience here at PLC has been more than amazing so far. It has been awesome working with and learning from the people at Peace Learning Center. Popular Education is a big thing we focus on
Roger Frick Roger Frick is our Volunteer of the Month. Roger is a Peace Learning Center Board Member and volunteers with youth programming. Jay Horan, Director of Engagement works closely with Roger and says, "Roger is a bright light of positivity. He is always ready to help out and does so with a kind smile and positive attitude." Roger, thank you for everything you have done for our organization. We are very grateful to have you on our team!
Becca Gratch Becca Gratch is our Volunteer of the Month. Becca has been interning with our youth programs and has had a huge impact on the youth she serves. Natalie Spriggs, our Youth Programs Director has worked closely with Becca and says, "Becca is a truly a team player. She is willing to jump right in and support the youth team however needed. Her go-getter attitude maker her a perfect fit for the work that we do!" Becca, thank you for everything you have done for our organization. We are very grateful to have you on our team!
Maria Ruiz is our Volunteer of the Month. Maria has been interning with our Youth Programs for the past year and has had a huge impact on the youth she serves. Natalie Spriggs, Youth Programs Director, has worked closely with Maria and says, "Maria has been such a joy to work with. She is now one of our meditation experts in teaching children how to take peace breaths and meditate. She has a wonderful calming effect on children. She is out in our schools doing restorative practices each week, as well as at Peace Learning Center helping lead field trips for schools that visit us. We truly could not do the work we do without her!" Maria, thank you for everything you have done for our organization. We are very grateful to have you on our team.