Irvington Community Schools, Inc. has convened a group of 12 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors from Irvington Preparatory Academy (IPA) to work alongside Irvington Development Organization (IDO) on local planning efforts (My Community, My Vision) to expand on the quality of life in the Irvington community. The selected students were nominated by their Advisory Instructors and have expressed a strong interest in community service, service learning, and commitment to building a stronger Irvington community. The student team meets weekly for brainstorming, discussion and working sessions facilitated by Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning (CAP) graduate-level students.

“Recently, younger singles and families are making Irvington home; however the average age of Irvington residents is older than that of the rest of the City of Indianapolis,” commented Margaret Banning, Executive Director of Irvington Development Organization. “Young professionals and families with children are the future of any community so it is important to engage the younger population in order to keep the neighborhood appealing to the next generation. Irvington Development Organization is thrilled to partner with Irvington Community Schools on this project.”

My Community, My Vision is a partnership managed by the Irvington Community Schools’ Community Engagement Office and is sponsored by Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA). The overall program focus is to create an informed process introducing the fundamentals of urban planning to high school students who then have the opportunity to lead and participate in community visioning and planning specific to local community amenities or resources including economic development, housing development, green spaces and cultural needs. The planning process is youth-driven and designed to support early ideas or vision created by Irvington Development Organization or other Irvington institutions. Students are working collaboratively with local Irvington stakeholders through April 2018.

The fundamental goals of My Community, My Vision align with the principles of The Irvington Way and include empowering IPA youth to discover and develop a vision for the Irvington community; connecting IPA high school youth and community leaders; inspiring IPA youth to become engaged citizens, and educated about civic involvement; and promoting youth-driven comprehensive community development with a focus on affordable housing, agriculture, leadership, transportation, community health, and entrepreneurship.

The student group will be coordinated and led by Tammi Hughes, ICS, Inc. Community Engagement Specialist, and Sarah Mundy, IPA Service Learning Coordinator. Interested in learning more about My Community, My Vision, or Irvington Community School’s Community Engagement Efforts? Contact Tammi Hughes at (317) 357-3770, 148.