The Greenhouse Fellowship is a new program, designed to train tomorrow’s young leaders today. These young adults will take part of a yearlong program that first pairs them up with a local non-profit organization. They will then be tasked with surveying the community to identify, find and develop ideas and diagnose problems. However, ideas and a diagnosis is not nearly enough to revitalize a community. Given this, the fellows will then create and implement a plan to help revitalize the community and flourish.
It is the youth of today that will be chosen for this because they have not yet been tainted with the limitations of past generations and are still optimistic about the future. This optimism will be mined and used to engage with the community and provide real change. The first group of fellows will be taught many skills and provided with tools to aid the community. Ten graduates will take part in this first class and be provided with a salary of $24,000 with benefits. Of those that applied, the ones who displayed the most leadership, creativity, networking skill, and outside-the-box perspectives were chosen.
The population of Rust Belt cities has declined by 9% since 2000 and is continuing to decline. Many more talented people are leaving each day. This program is aimed to reverse this brain drain and help encourage people to stay and build. Northwest Indiana specifically is still has double digit unemployment numbers while the rest of Indiana is in the 6% range. This is an ambitious project and if it is successful, it will not only revitalize our community but all of Northwest Indiana.