Derrin Slack, ProAct Indy

Focused on our mission to engage youth in public service that educates, delights, and inspires youth and those they serve, ProAct Indy uses an evidence-based and asset-based community development approach to leverage the social capital of the community to address critical needs in Indianapolis by providing character education and service learning opportunities to marginalized youth. Among the most critical needs in Indianapolis is poverty, which we view as “capability deprivation.” We live in a world with abundant wealth and resources. Therefore, poverty is a social injustice that needs to be alleviated. If we all work together to create positive and sustainable change, even the poorest communities in Indianapolis can thrive. With this notion in mind, we believe that the best place to start is with our young people. There is a dire need for disadvantaged youth to be involved in service learning activities that proactively foster an environment of cooperative engagement that is conducive to learning, growing, and fellowship. ProAct Indy works directly with disadvantaged youth ages 10-18 through our two primary service learning programs – Project Greater Than Me (ages 14-18) and Kids in Action (ages 10-14). Our goals are to benefit these economically disadvantaged youths through character education and to promote volunteerism while simultaneously enhancing the quality of life in Indianapolis through service learning opportunities that focus on creative collaboration with community partners and unique social needs. Working in cohorts of 15-20 students, these youths are engaged in weekly character education workshops and monthly service-learning projects for 24-weeks during academic school year. Through our primary programs, ProAct Indy serves at least 150 young people every year; furthermore, we plan large days of service for community organizations and schools that engages another 1,500-2,000 youth per youth. Since its inception, over 6,000 disadvantaged boys and girls have collectively provided over 30,000 hours of community service in over 200 community projects. 

I would love to participate in this initiative to see how we can align efforts to reach more youth and empower them to serve Indianapolis and address important social justice concerns in their communities.