Looking back toward “HOME.” A Visual Recap of our 2016 Festival:

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
— Maya Angelou

We had an incredible time with you as we celebrated ‘HOME’ and learning more about our city, our neighbors, and our world. Thank you for everyone who participated in events and shared photos and comments online! We greatly enjoyed seeing things from your perspective.

Another special thanks goes out to our generous sponsors and donors.

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Here’s a look at some photos shared from our 2016 Festival. Do you have one to add? Be sure to share with us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

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In the midst of our Slow Saunter/Indiana Humanities Next Indiana campfire as part of Spirit & Place Festival — beautiful day at Morgan-Monroe State Forest, discussing the history and value of species diversity here: “Are we planning to bequeath something to the people of the next century?” –Charles C. Deam. #SPIndy #talkandtrek

 

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As part of this year’s Spirit & Place Festival, IndyGo (Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation) asked riders to share their stories about what “home” means to them. Take a moment to read some of these great responses and share what “home” means to you!

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From Indy School on Wheels: A huge shoutout to our friends from @CHIPIndy for a fantastic @spiritandplace event yesterday featuring @HomestretchDoc! #SPIndy

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From Storytelling Arts: We’re collaborating 4 @spiritandplace First up: Bless This Mess, 7 p.m. 11/9, Theatre at the Fort, Lawrence

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Did you know that the #Indy Athenaeum was designated as National Historic Landmark? It’s serving as our beautiful venue for Haus Music

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From Sapphire Theater: Signs + Symptoms of #MoralInjury & #PTSD. Find out more today at REBUILDING HOME @AtTheA http://www.sapphiretheatre.com/rebuilding-home/ … #HelpIndyVets #SPIndy

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Especially poignant given the time of year. We should think about all of the veterans away from home this holiday season. #spindy

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Congratulations to the Veterans who shared their personal stories, the DK dancers who choreography pieces to match each story, and to the dancers who performed in our Spirit & Place show, Writing Home: Stories of American Veterans. We are, as always, extremely proud of you. Photos by Chris Crawl

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Yelp Salutes Our Troops

November 11th is Veterans Day, and Yelp Indy wants to salute those who have served our country by highlighting 11 local businesses that honor our military community. Did you know that military families will move up to 2x more than average families? With Yelp’s Salutes Our Troops initiative, our goal is to connect the local military community with local businesses by helping them discover military discounts within the Indianapolis area.

Check out these local businesses below that offer discounts to our fellow veterans:

Photo from incycleindy.com

Photo from incycleindy.com

 

 

InCycle

Need to relieve some stress and burn some calories? InCycle offers a diverse blend of classes to give you the best challenging and rewarding work out. With the blend of weight training, core work, and cycling, you better bet you’ll sweat!

Military Discount: 20% off InCycle ride packs. *Must show Military ID.

Photo by Yelper Katie U.

Photo by Yelper Katie U.

 

Conner Prairie

Take a day trip to one of the largest attractions in the region and one of the most visited outdoor museums in the country. Guests can ride in the hot air balloon that is lifted 350 ft above the ground, take a nature walk through the woods and water, or enjoy front row access to the working farm at Conner Prairie.

Military Discount: Active-duty, retired, and veteran military get in free, while immediate family members get a 50% discount. *Must show Military ID; only applies to general daytime admission.

Photo from littlegypsie.com

Photo from littlegypsie.com

LittleGypsie Boutique

From headbands to oversized jewelry to maxi dresses, this bohemian-inspired boutique offers a fun and unique experience to express your inner beauty. The LittleGyspie studio is located in Noblesville and is open Thursday through Saturday.

Military Discount: 10% off anything online with some exclusions in store to veterans. *Must be 18+, excludes a few hello apparel, poppy & pout beauty products. Must show military ID.

Photo from indianamuseum.org

Photo from indianamuseum.org

Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites

Explore the exhibits and participate in hands-on experiences at this world-class institution that highlights the stories and individuals who have shaped the history of our state.

Military Discount: Active military can receive free admission year-round, while their families can get in at a group rate.

Photo by Yelper Chris F.

Photo by Yelper Chris F.

General American Donut Company

Made with only the freshest and finest ingredients, these donuts are like no other. General American Donut Company handcrafts their donuts daily and uses no preservatives or pre-made mixes. You donut want to miss out!

Military Discount: Any active military or veteran can receive a free donut.

Photo from Avalon Executive Transportation of Indiana Facebook page

Photo from Avalon Executive Transportation of Indiana Facebook page

Avalon Executive Transportation of Indiana

Cruise around the city in style with Indy’s reliable and high-quality executive transportation service. No matter what the occasion, Avalon Executive Transportation can get you there!

Military Discount: 15% off total price of ride. *Must show military ID.

Photo by Yelper Jared C.

Photo by Yelper Jared C.

CrossFit Infiltrate

Recently named the 15th best gym in America by Men’s Fitness, CrossFit Infiltrate is located right on the canal in Indy. Challenge your strength and ability with Indy’s CrossFit classes that offer top of the line equipment and coaching.

Military Discount: 15% off services.

Photo by 240sweet on Yelp

Photo by 240sweet on Yelp

240sweet

By blending local and fresh ingredients, the owners, Samantha Aulick and Alexa Lemley, satisfy their customer’s sweet tooth with their handmade treats.

Military Discount: 20% off any purchase.

Photo by Yelper Sylva Z.

Photo by Yelper Sylva Z.

Cardinal Spirits Distillery

Sip sip hooray! Cardinal Spirits is Bloomington’s first artisanal distillery that makes whiskey, gin, vodka, rum and liqueurs on-site with high quality and local ingredients.

Military Discount: 15% off tours, bottles, merchandise and food. *Must show Military ID. Must be 21+. Offers are valid for military professionals plus one guest.

Photo by Yelper Anna O.

Photo by Yelper Anna O.

Stone Creek Dining Company

With a blend of comfort and charm, Stone Creek Dining Company in Zionsville provides customers high quality food and service. From sandwiches and salads to steaks and chicken, they have it all.

Military Discount: Free entrée. *Must show Military ID.

Photo by Yelper Brian A.

Photo by Yelper Brian A.

Homewood Suites by Hilton Indianapolis Downtown

Need an escape from reality? Visit the Homewood Suites to receive top quality service and care. With big rooms, full kitchens, tall ceilings, and beautiful decor, you won’t want to leave!

Military Discount: Exclusive savings on their best available rates for active duty, veterans, and retired military service members, spouses and family members in the United States or Canadian Military. *Must show Military ID at check-in. Rate is valid for leisure stays only. Not valid for official government or military travel.

For more information, follow @yelpindy on social media! #YelpSalutesOurTroops

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Upcoming Event Features: Veterans and Homelessness

A Place to Call Home: A Workshop Where You Can Help End Homelessness
Thursday, November 10, 9am—3pm
Indiana Interchurch Center
1100 W. 42nd Street
IndyGo: 34
FREE, RSVP by Nov. 7 (Limit 150)
317-472-7638 or jhunt@chipindy.org

Presented by Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP), Veterans Homelessness Task Force, Community Education and Public Policy Committee of the Continuum of Care, and IU Public Policy Institute.

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-3-25-05-pmHow can Indianapolis end homelessness? Tell us what you think in this unique town hall meeting and workshop to create a community plan.

Home means different things to different people. At its core home is about safety, comfort, community, and belonging. We believe that everyone in Indianapolis deserves a home. Unfortunately, 5,000 – 8,300 individuals experience homelessness in our community annually.

The Blueprint 3.0 will be our community’s plan toward the goal of ending homelessness. This dynamic plan weaves together community input, best practices, research, and data to develop practical strategies to end homelessness. We invite you to provide your voice to this process that will help more people experience “home” and make Indianapolis a better place for all of our residents.

This day-long workshop is geared for service providers and concerned community members alike. Nationally recognized expert on homelessness Dr. Dennis Culhane of the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice will be the featured speaker. Visit the Spirit & Place website (spiritandplace.org.) for a full schedule, including speaker details.

RSVP’s required by Nov. 7, includes continental breakfast and lunch. Guests have the option of RSVPing for the Town Hall session (9am-12pm), Workshop (12—3pm), or both.

 

Rebuilding Home: Moral Injury to Soul Repair
Thursday, November 10, 1—2:30pm and 6—7:30pm
Athenaeum Auditorium
401 E. Michigan St.
IndyGo: 3, 5, 10, 11, 17 and 21
FREE
317-966-7529 / mail@sapphiretheatre.com

Presented by The Sapphire Theatre Company, Athenaeum Foundation, Valiant Seed, Heartland Yoga Center for Education and Research, and Brite Divinity School Soul Repair Center.

Interactive performance designed to foster healthy communication and re-connection for military members, veterans, families, and friends.

Serving in the U.S. Military is honorable and praise-worthy. Unfortunately, many come home with invisible wounds that leave them deeply conflicted by experiences contrary to their moral beliefs. If unresolved, these moral injuries can result in depression and guilt that break down one’s mental health and home-life. Rebuilding a Home is a performance with guided conversations to shine a spotlight on the signs and symptoms of moral injury, to explore communication techniques, and to offer helpful ideas for military families to reconnect—ideas they can use in celebrating together the following day, Veteran’s Day.

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-3-25-42-pmRebuilding a Home is an extension of The Sapphire’s award-winning, interactive PICTURE THIS program, delivering impactful learning in an entertaining way since 1984. Audiences will be engaged by live enactments of real-life scenarios with opportunities to talk directly with the characters. The Sapphire is collaborating with veterans and vital community partners to ensure authenticity, relevance, event-day support and on-going resources.  Presentation includes stress reduction techniques and trained on-site Listeners to assist struggling audience members.

Walk-ins welcome. Free, limit space childcare available through the YMCA at the Athenaeum. Childcare reservations must be requested at mail@sapphiretheatre.com

Writing Home: The Stories of American Veterans in Words and Dance
Friday, November 11, 10am—11:30am AND 1pm—2:30pm
Theater at the Fort
8920 Otis Ave.
IndyGo: 4

Sunday, November 13, 10am—11:30pm AND 1:30—3pm
Arthur M. Glick JCC
6701 Hoover Rd.
IndyGo: 28

FREE, RSVP by Nov. 11
317-715-9240 / lfreeman@jccindy.org

Presented by JCC Indianapolis, Dance Kaleidoscope, Indiana Writers Center, Indiana Historical Society (IHS), and Jewish Family Services

Theater, spoken word, and movement performed by Dance Kaleidoscope and veterans will evoke a sense of wonder, understanding, and appreciation for all.

Get a personal glimpse at what veterans think and feel through this multidiscipline endeavor that provides veterans an opportunity to share their feelings and express themselves through written and spoken word and creative movement. This unforgettable experience will tie the past, present and future together allowing people to ponder and experience “home” in a unique way.

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-3-26-27-pmAs attendees enter the auditorium, they will hear music and will be asked to share thoughts about “home” and a veteran they know. Or, if they are a veteran, their own thoughts of home. A postcard on each chair may be used as a conversation prompt before a brief museum theater piece brings to life a series of letters from the IHS Collections between Norman Vandivier, an Indiana naval aviator stationed in the Pacific during WWII, and his parents.

The event is cap stoned by the readings of veterans previously involved in writing workshops with the Indiana Writer’s Center. Their words are followed by creative dance interpretations created and performed by Dance Kaleidoscope. All are invited to remain after the program, enjoy refreshments, and share thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

Learn from the veterans and be provided with an unforgettable experience that will tie the past, present and future together allowing people to ponder and experience “home” in a unique way.

RSVP by Nov. 11 at spiritandplace.org.

The Things They Brought Home: Military Tattoos
Saturday, November 12, 3—5pm
Indianapolis Art Center
820 E. 67th St.
IndyGo: 17
FREE
255-2464 / awalbridge@indplsartcenter.org

Presented by Indianapolis Art Center, Veterans in Industries and Arts, and Indiana Writers Center

This interactive art exhibition explores the veteran experience, tattoos, and the concept of the “body as home” through photography, writing, and panel discussion.

Military personnel put their bodies—the homes of their spirit and self-identity—at risk for others. Their tattoos can be a form of self-expression that allows the world a glimpse into what they cherish most or will never forget.

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-3-27-01-pmThe Things They Brought Home will amaze visitors with original and striking photographs of tattooed veterans along with their writings or oral histories. The images and stories give visitors a unique look into the experiences of military personnel. The accounts written by veterans and active duty service personnel will encourage visitors to reflect on happy and humorous stories as well as hard and difficult memories.

In addition, interactive experiences, such as a photo booth and a response board, will allow visitors to share their own tattoo stories. Tattoo artists will demonstrate tattoo designs and provide historical and contemporary context on the art of tattooing. Veteran service providers will be on hand to share information and a panel discuss at 3:30pm will feature photographers, veterans, and others speaking about their experiences.

Walk-ins welcome. RSVPs requested at spiritandplace.org.

 

Connecting Indiana Communities with HOME

We’re proud to celebrate 21st year of the Spirit & Place Festival on November 4-13!

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2016 is Indiana’s Bicentennial year – the perfect time for Hoosiers to celebrate, explore, and consider the different meanings and dimensions of “home.” To honor this, the 2016 Spirit & Place Festival presents HOME as a place, a space, and an idea through 40 events November 4-13.

Celebrating its 21st year, the Spirit & Place Festival is Indianapolis’ largest collaborative festival that uses the arts, religion, and humanities as a vehicle for shaping individual and community life through 10 days of experiences presented in partnership with upwards of 100 partner organizations. An initiative of The Polis Center, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the annual Spirit & Place Festival offers performances, exhibits, documentaries, and conversations that aim to spark meaningful discussions among diverse neighborhoods, voices, faiths, and organizations in Central Indiana. In doing so, it serves as a platform for insightful experimentation, celebration, and reflection.

The 2016 Festival centers on a “Home” theme and features events that explore everything from pet ownership to affordable housing, mass transit, art therapy, homelessness, race relations, public health, religion, and home renovations, and more. These inspiring events are presented through the lens of elders and youth, veterans, immigrants and refugees, environmentalists, foodies, musicians and poets, and others. Participating organizations and audiences alike are given the chance to see and celebrate the variety of communities that call Indianapolis home.

During the selection process this year, event submissions that exemplified key traits of the Spirit & Place Festival were nominated for an “Award of Awesomeness.” The winning event will receive a $1,000 award at the conclusion of the festival. A preview of these events, as well as information about this year’s signature events, is outlined below. A full listing of events is available at spiritandplace.org.

SPIRIT & PLACE FESTIVAL 2016 – AWARD OF AWESOMENESS NOMINEES

Moving Stories 

**Bold & Daring “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5 — Sunday, Nov. 13 (times vary based on bus schedule)

IndyGo busses & Julia M. Carson Transit Center

$1.75 per ride

A “moving” exhibit—literally!—devoted to the stories and images of what makes Indy home for our community. Presented by Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation, Writing Futures at Marian University, CityWrite, IndyGo Transit Ambassadors, and Indianapolis Arts Council. Fare can be purchased online at buy.indygo.net, on a bus, by calling 317-635-3344, or at the Transit Center during retail hours.

I Am Home: Muslim Hoosiers

**Inclusive & Open-Minded “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. to Friday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m.

Center for Interfaith Cooperation (1100 W. 42nd St., Ste. 125, Indianapolis, IN)

Saturday, Nov. 12, 10 a.m. — 7 p.m.

University of Indianapolis, Schwitzer Student Center (1400 E. Hanna Ave, Indianapolis, IN)

Photo and audio gallery experience of Muslim Hoosiers sharing what makes Indiana their home. Presented by Muslim Alliance of Indiana and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation. 317-306-1998 or aliya.amin@indianamuslims.org.

Riverside Speaks! Past, Present, and Future

**Rooted in Place “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5, 9 a.m. — 4 p.m.

Ebenezer Baptist Church & Rock ‘n Riverside House (1901 N Harding St)

FREE

Riverside Speaks! celebrates a community with a “pop-up museum,” historic recreations and performances, and a church and home tour. Presented by Ebenezer Baptist Church, Indiana Historical Society, Riverside Reunion, Indiana Humanities, Kenyetta Dance Company, and Insight Development Corp. 317-631-5946 or cb212be@gmail.com.

Finding Home: Indiana at 200

**Collaboration “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5, 4 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 6, 2 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 12, 5 p.m. & 9 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 13, 2 p.m.

Indiana Repertory Theatre, Upperstage (140 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN)

Tickets start at $25. Order at irtlive.com or by calling 317-635-5252

Multifaceted look at Indiana’s life and times mixes music and history, comedy and drama, fact and fable. Presented by Indiana Repertory Theatre and Indiana Historical Society.

Closing in on the Homestretch: A Community Dialogue on Youth Homelessness

**Socially Meaningful “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Sat., Nov. 6, 1 p.m. — 4:30 p.m.

Central Library (40 E St Clair St, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE

Film screening and dynamic community dialogue on youth homelessness with the filmmakers of “The Homestretch.”

Presented by Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP), Spargel Productions, Homeless Youth Taskforce, Outreach, Inc., and Stopover, Inc. 317-472-7636 or zalexander@chipindy.org.

Homing the Houseless

**Spiritually Meaningful “Award of Awesomeness” nominee
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m. — 9 p.m.
Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (6501 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE

Watch the “Road to Eden” and reflect with filmmaker Doug Passon on the connection between homelessness, spirituality, and holiday of Sukkot. Presented by Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, 317-255-6647 or info@ihcindy.org.

Homes Before Highways: Communities Under the Exit Ramps

**Build Community “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m. — 9 p.m.

Concord Neighborhood Center (1310 S Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE

Share stories and see photos of homes and businesses destroyed on Indianapolis’ south and west sides by the interstate construction of the 1960s and ‘70s. Presented by IUPUI Department of Anthropology and Concord Neighborhood Center.317-278-4548 or suhyatt@iupui.edu.

Spirited Chase: Something to Write Home About

**Fun “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 12, 9 a.m. — 3 p.m.

5 Mystery Venues

$9 Per Person, RSVP by Wednesday, Nov. 9 at wfyi.org
This on-the-go program offers the chance to visit five mystery locations to learn what “home” means to the people and places of Indianapolis. Must provide own transportation. Presented by WFYI and its community partners. 317-636-2020 or cweidman@wfyi.org.

The Things They Brought Home: Military Tattoos

**Most Thought-Provoking “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 12, 3 p.m. — 5 p.m.

Indianapolis Art Center (820 E 67th St, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE

This interactive art exhibition explores the veteran experience, tattoos, and the concept of the “body as home” through photography, writing, and panel discussion. Presented by Indianapolis Art Center, Veterans in Industries and Arts, and Indiana Writers Center. 255-2464 or awalbridge@indplsartcenter.org.

SPIRIT & PLACE FESTIVAL 2016 – SIGNATURE EVENTS

Kick Off Event

The Dog Ate My Homework: Opening Night Event

Friday, Nov. 4, 6:30 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.

Tube Factory artspace (1125 Cruft Street, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE

It’s time to turn in your homework–no excuses! Join us as we kick off the 2016 Spirit & Place Festival with our friends at Tube Factory artspace. Test your knowledge with fun “homework” assignments about Indy, hear the debut of HOMEWORK by spoken word artist Tony Styxx, see exhibit Mari by artist Carl Pope, and learn about Big Car’s partnership with Riley Area Development Corporation and Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership to provide affordable homes for local artists. Presented by Spirit & Place and Big Car.

Signature Event

From the Ground Up: A People-Centered Approach to Community Development

Sunday, Nov. 6, 3 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Kheprw Institute (3549 Boulevard Place, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE

This hands-on workshop explores ways to develop a people-centered approach to community development.

Presented by Kheprw Institute, SEND Working Class Task Force, KI NuMedia, Scarabys Consulting, LLC, and Spirit & Place.317-329-4803 or gentrify@kheprw.org.

Signature Event

An Evening with Elizabeth Strout

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m. — 9 p.m.

Butler University, Reilly Room (4600 Sunset Blvd, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE, RSVP by Nov. 7 at spiritandplace.org

Readings and reflections by Pulitzer Prize winning author Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteridge and My Name is Lucy Barton. Presented by Butler University’s Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series and Spirit & Place. 317-274-2455 orfestival@iupui.edu.

Signature Event

Side-by-Side 

Friday, Nov. 11—13, public exhibit & shared meals (see www.spiritandplace.org for comprehensive schedule)

Friday, Nov. 11, 5 p.m. — 7:30 p.m., artist-led tour, reception & dinner

Friday, Nov. 11, 7:45 p.m. — 9 p.m., artist talk & Matthew’s Voices community choir debut

Roberts Park United Methodist Church (401 N Delaware St, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE, except for Friday, Nov. 11 dinner – $50. RSVP at robertsparkumc.org

First-ever side-by-side exhibit of sculptor Timothy Schmalz’s “Matthew 25” works partnered with 3-days of side-by-side dinners and fellowship with homeless neighbors, community leaders, artists, and others.

Presented by Roberts Park United Methodist Church, Sculpture by Timothy Schmalz Inc., Waltz Books, and members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.* 317-635-1636 or rpoffice@robertsparkumc.org.

*Check www.spiritandplace.org closer to event for final “presented by” information.

Signature Event

21st Annual Public Conversation

Sunday, Nov. 13, 4 p.m. — 5:30 p.m.

Indiana Landmarks Center (1201 Central Avenue, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE

A sociologist, a sculptor, and others reflect on poverty, homelessness, public policy, and the human spirit. “MacArthur Genius” and New York Times bestselling author Matthew Desmond (Evicted: Poverty & Profit in the American City), sculptor Timothy Schmalz (“Homeless Jesus”) and executive director of the Martin Luther King Community Center Allison Luthe will grapple with the essence of home from their unique perspectives in a discussion moderated by Butler University political science professor Terri Jett. Presented by Spirit & Place, Roberts Park United Methodist Church, and in conjunction with the John D. Barlow Lecture in the Humanities by the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. 317-274-2455 or festival@iupui.edu.

For details on all Spirit & Place programs and events, visit www.spiritandplace.org.

 

 

 

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Tiny Homes – Big Futures

By Teresa Mankin

Every night in this country, thousands of veterans are sleeping on the very streets that they once swore to protect. Of the over 600,000 homeless people in our country, more than 60,000 have served in the armed forces. Homelessness is a devastating problem in this country, but the fact that many are veterans who once served their country is a tragedy.

Valiant Seed is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2015 by two Army veterans, run by volunteers who are also veterans. Regardless of the reasons behind it, homelessness affects our communities and its effects grow more serious the longer a person is homeless. People who fought for our freedom deserve a safe space, privacy, dignity, and access to medical, mental health, occupational and other kinds of care. This is our mission.

By building tiny houses in small, sustainable communities, Valiant Seed hopes to create a new model for solving this problem. We hope to help those veterans who have somehow fallen through the cracks and who are less likely to be successful in a traditional program.

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Until veterans have safe, affordable, stable housing, they can’t tackle other problems they may be facing, such as medical disability, mental illness, substance abuse, unemployment or relationship issues. That safe space that respects the veteran’s free will to choose the type and amount of help they receive is key to our mission.

Our tiny houses – about 400 square feet – will be totally off-grid to help manage limited incomes. We will employ pioneering technologies like solar electricity, LED lighting, water catchment, passive solar heating and cooling, and a composting toilet in every unit.

Our long term plans include community gardens to both feed residents and provide opportunities for micro enterprise. The sense of purpose and urgency we have felt in making Valiant Seed a reality has reinforced the idea that making sure our residents have a sense of accomplishment or purpose is paramount.

Our first communities will be built in Indiana and Oregon – our home states – and then, we hope, around the country. We believe in this model, we believe in our brothers and sisters, we believe in the communities where we want to build; and it is our fervent hope that there are people out there who will believe in us.

For more information, please visit www.valiantseed.org, or find us on Facebook or Twitter @valiantseed.

Teresa Mankin is co-founder of Valiant Seed and a native Hoosier. She is very interested in affordable and sustainable housing. In her day job, she works as a property manager. She is also a single mom, avid reader, NCIS addict and Colts fan. She and her 17 year old son live in Plainfield.