Better Together: Lawrence chamber initiative aides community

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The Greater Lawrence Chamber of Commerce has taken action to improve its city and schools , continuing a 34-year tradition of giving back.

The chamber recently completed its third of four projects for the Better Together initiative for 2018, which serves as an intersection between community and commerce through different events throughout the city.

Steve Talley works on planting at a past Better Together project. (File photo)

“Better Together is clearly an opportunity to walk that talk where we want to do what we can to bring those worlds together,” GLCOC Executive Director Trace Yates said. “The traditional chamber point of view is with membership and commerce, and all the other economic development, traditional work a chamber does. But, hey, we are also part of the community, so what can we do to help our community as a whole? With Better Together, we select four community service-based projects per year.”

For the first Better Together event of the year, the chamber established a community service day in May at Lawrence Community Gardens, a 7.6-acre space operated by the community.

“It truly is a community garden in its purest sense,” Yates said. “That was the first project. We did spring planting and clean-up.

In August, for the second Better Together event of year, the chamber partnered with Indiana Members Credit Union to collect school supplies and stuff backpacks to distribute to children of military families.

Most recently, the third Better Together event took place in conjunction with Indy Do Day, a separate initiative of the Rotary Club of Indianapolis, from Sept. 27 through Sept. 29.

The fourth and final Better Together project is set for December.

“For the fourth project, we have this annual tradition for Better Together and the chamber,” Yates said. “In December, we partner with Lawrence Township Fire Dept. to help collect monetary donations and toys for families in need for the holiday season.”

The LFD Family Assistance Program has been aiding Lawrence families during holiday seasons for the past three decades. It donates food, clothing and toys to those in need.

Volunteers are being recruited for the December event. The chamber opens Better Together events to those who may not ordinarily be involved in chamber initiatives. For more, visit lawrencechamberofcommerce.org, and click on Better Together under the events tab.

Students from Nolise Stone’s second-grade class of Crestview Elementary work to move mulch in the school’s community garden. (Photos by Sadie Hunter)

INDY DO DAY

Since the third project for the 2018 Better Together initiative aligned with Indy Do Day – a Rotary Club of Indianapolis initiative from Sept. 27 to Sept. 29 – the chamber was one of the entities participating in the day of service at Lawrence Township schools. Indy Do Day volunteers are assigned different projects determined by Cori Korn, executive director of the Lawrence Township School Foundation.

“On this particular Indy Do Day, we did 14 different projects at 14 different locations or schools throughout the district,” Korn said. “So, the projects really vary depending on the school. The majority of them were all outside, like groundskeeping work in our outdoor labs. One of our fun things we are doing is at Brook Park Elementary. We’re building a mud kitchen, which is a play area outside for the kids.”

The Lawrence chamber worked on sprucing up the community garden at Crestview Elementary Sept. 28.

“This one project, Indy Do Day happens across Marion County in September of each year, and it’s a mutual opportunity to say, ‘Hey, let’s participate in Indy Do Day and make it a Lawrence Township addition,’” Yates said. “What Indy Do Day does is they get people in the community to just do this day of service on the same day.”

INDY DO DAY BY THE NUMBERS

  • 421 volunteers
  • 1,263 hours of service
  • 14 locations throughout MSD of Lawrence Township
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