Family News Feed - ValpoLife https://valpo.life Wed, 27 May 2020 00:26:22 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 Highland neighbors band together to sing “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” for 92-year-old resident https://valpo.life/article/highland-neighbors-band-together-to-sing-the-star-spangled-banner-and-god-bless-america-for-92-year-old-resident/ Fri, 08 May 2020 22:13:05 +0000 Sergio Valdes https://valpo.life/article/highland-neighbors-band-together-to-sing-the-star-spangled-banner-and-god-bless-america-for-92-year-old-resident/ It can be tough to find happiness during this time of quarantine. The order to stay home and practice social distancing has made in-person communication very difficult. But some quarantine stories tell us that even the most tumultuous times can be remedied by a small act of kindness.

Highland resident “Momma” Jean Korem was treated to a symphony of beautiful singing from her neighbors on May 8. They came to the curb waving flags and singing “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America,” Momma Jean’s personal favorite. Afterward, the neighbors recited the Pledge of Allegiance, which brought the 92-year-old resident to tears.

“We have really wonderful neighbors who take care of each other,” said Cay Komyatte, Momma Jean’s daughter-in-law. “She blessed them for their kind actions! She then gave them a brief speech about the importance of helping each other out during these stressful times. It was just a short but sweet moment.”

Before the quarantine began, Momma Jean would go out every day to some of her routine places like church and her favorite Chinese restaurant, Fortune House. Since the stay at home order began, she has been feeling a bit down, so Komyatte asked some of the neighbors to sing a song or two in an effort to lift her spirits. At 6 p.m. they gathered together and sang in front of her house.

To keep herself occupied during the quarantine, Momma Jean likes to sing songs from her early 1940s songbook. She also likes to do her daily crossword puzzles and watch her favorite shows like Last Man Standing and The Andy Griffith Show. In the evening, she plays games like Yahtzee with her family.

“I was just happy to see her happy since she’s been having such a rough time lately,” Komyatte said. “I think that if there’s a silver lining in this time of quarantine, it is that we show kindness to each other and help whenever we can. The whole community has been a huge help with making Momma Jean happy in this stressful time. It’s nice to know that they took just a little time out of their day to make her feel better.”

Tales like this should serve as a reminder for all of us to check up on our loved ones and make sure they are doing well.

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Highland neighbors band together to sing “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” for 92-year-old resident
11 Spring Flowers to Plant https://valpo.life/video/11-spring-flowers-to-plant/ Thu, 07 May 2020 17:14:11 +0000 Kami Tupiak https://valpo.life/video/11-spring-flowers-to-plant/ 11 Spring Flowers to Plant Dunes Learning Center residential education director Jaime Golba fosters a new quarantine buddy https://valpo.life/article/dunes-learning-center-residential-education-director-jaime-golba-fosters-a-new-quarantine-buddy/ Fri, 24 Apr 2020 14:45:15 +0000 Dunes Learning Center https://valpo.life/article/dunes-learning-center-residential-education-director-jaime-golba-fosters-a-new-quarantine-buddy/ Dunes Learning Center’s decision to cancel in-person activities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic sent its employees home to isolate indoors. Golba however, like many Dunes Learning Center employees, loves to be outside and hiking throughout Dunes National Park. Golba saw the opportunity to help out the overwhelmed local animal rescue organizations and volunteered to foster a dog from Lakeshore PAWS to join on her hikes.

“Her name is Victoria, and she is a terrier pit-bull mix. We have been loving our hikes around the national park so far. Especially with everything going on,” said Golba. “I am so tied to my computer and getting work done. It is nice to be able to get outside and take a break. Getting outside into nature has always been a good way for me to decompress.”

Golba is looking after her new buddy for only a short time. Victoria will soon need a new companion to accompany her on hikes.

“Victoria is a great reason to get outside and out into nature. She is super loveable and just wants someone to snuggle and go on her daily walks with. Her absolute favorite is tug-of-war,” said Golba.

Lakeshore PAWS is closed to the public during this time. If you are interested in adopting Victoria, another dog or helping out Lakeshore PAWS in any way during this time, visit their website at www.lakeshorepaws.org.
Dunes Learning Center is a non-profit residential environmental education center and camp devoted to inspiring lasting curiosity and stewardship with nature, even in isolation.

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Dunes Learning Center residential education director Jaime Golba fosters a new quarantine buddy
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana launches virtual resources https://valpo.life/article/boys-girls-clubs-of-greater-northwest-indiana-launches-virtual-resources/ Wed, 22 Apr 2020 21:31:09 +0000 Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana https://valpo.life/article/boys-girls-clubs-of-greater-northwest-indiana-launches-virtual-resources/ Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana began offering a variety of virtual resources for its Club members on Tuesday, April 22. These services, made possible in part by a grant from the Anthem Foundation, will be available through Club Connect, a safe online community on the organization’s website during the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though all ten of its Clubs in Porter and Lake counties have been closed since March 13 to ensure the safety of Club members, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana president and CEO Ryan Smiley said that the organization will continue supporting its Club families.

“A lot has changed in the past few weeks for everybody,” Smiley said. “But we know it’s important to keep providing services that our Club members rely on and assisting families however we can.”

The process of determining which services the organization would offer was led by vice president of human resources and operations Kris Condon. Staff reached out to Club parents to find out how families were doing and ask what Boys & Girls Clubs could do to help them.

“Through wellness checks with families, we learned that some Club members are struggling with e-learning assignments, and parents are having a hard time with some of the behavioral issues their children are exhibiting because of the anxiety and isolation,” Condon said. “Based on what we heard, we knew we could help our families even though we are not seeing members in our Clubs right now.”

Among the resources offered is Your Club at Home, which enables members to enjoy the Club experience remotely. Your Club at Home programming includes art projects and fitness activities, as well as the Indiana Kids and MyFuture programs. Parents and Club members also can search for activities by grade or topic.

Another critical resource the organization is offering is e-learning assistance, which allows Club members to schedule a phone call or video chat with Club tutors who can assist with homework.

“The academic success of our Club members is a very important component of our programming,” Smiley stated. “And while we have expanded some of our services as a result of the pandemic, e-learning assistance is a priority for us right now. Our parents are telling us that their children are stressed over e-learning assignments, and some of our parents are struggling to help them – whether because of a technology issue, an assignment in a particular subject, or a language barrier. Our staff is poised and ready to help by connecting remotely with a Club member to work through any e-learning assignments they may have.”

E-learning assistance can be accessed by calling (219) 804-0741 and is available to Club families Monday through Friday from 9 am to 7 pm.

Additionally, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana is utilizing the Club Connect resource to provide a hotline where Club parents can call and talk to a professional for support and advice from the organization’s Social Service Director. This resource will be open to all Club parents, Monday through Friday from 9 am to 7 pm, who are looking for ways to help their children navigate the difficulties and anxieties they may be experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and social isolation. The hotline number is (219) 804-0780.

Finally, the organization will use Club Connect to offer its Member Dinner program, which provides Club families warm meals, particularly focusing on dinners. Club Connect will link to a schedule that informs parents when and where the organization is distributing meals. Condon said Boys & Girls Clubs has been partnering with schools and Food Bank of Northwest Indiana to make sure Club members are receiving snacks, lunches, or groceries that may help them for the week, but in the wellness checks, parents indicated dinner remained a struggle.

“We heard from families that a hot dinner is something they have been missing, and we knew we could help fulfill that need,” Condon said.

Despite the uncertainty of the moment, Smiley is confident that Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana will continue playing an important role in serving region youth and their families. “The current situation is challenging for all of us, but our mission hasn’t changed. Our programming model has shifted to ensure our relevancy and help our Club kids succeed.” 

Parents can visit Club Connect at www.bgcgreaternwi.org/club-connect to access available resources.

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana launches virtual resources
Ed Gilliland expresses compassion, reflects on Paul Loggan’s impact https://valpo.life/article/ed-gilliland-expresses-compassion-reflects-on-paul-loggans-impact/ Tue, 14 Apr 2020 14:43:10 +0000 Tommy Elwood https://valpo.life/article/ed-gilliland-expresses-compassion-reflects-on-paul-loggans-impact/ Paul Loggan, longtime Athletic Director at North Central High School in Indianapolis, passed away on Easter Sunday due to complications of COVID-19. The news shattered the entire state of Indiana.

Loggan had been involved with Indiana High School Athletics at North Central since 1998 and served as Athletic Director since 2014. His family, friends, athletes, students, teachers, principals, coaches, and everyone else who knew Loggan expressed their thoughts about him on various social media platforms.

The impact of Loggan’s work even made its way up to La Porte, where Ed Gilliland, Athletic Director at La Porte High School, gave his condolences.

“Paul was a great athletic administrator and an even better person. As an advocate of education-based athletics, he will be sorely missed by all who knew him,” said Gilliland.

Gilliland and the rest of La Porte High School honored Loggan’s legacy by turning the football field lights on at 6:00 p.m., April 13.

Gilliland posted a photo of the memorial on Twitter followed by, “Slicers pay tribute to Paul Loggan. Thoughts and prayers to the Loggan family and all others impacted by COVID-19.”

Lights up at La Porte High School football field

Many high schools, colleges, and universities around the state honored him with a similar tribute, including the University of Indianapolis, Franklin College, Butler University, and Indiana University, Bloomington (IUB). The hashtag #LightsforLoggan has been flooding twitter in Loggan’s honor.

Tom Allen, IUB football coach, tweeted a photo of Memorial Stadium lit up in honor of Loggan.

“The lights are on at Memorial Stadium in honor of you, Paul!!! Our prayers are with your wife Kathy, and your children Michael, Will and Sami! #LightsForLoggan #Paulstrong #LEO,” Allen wrote.

Lights up at Indiana University Bloomington Memorial Stadium, with a projection saying #PAULSTRONG

Tom Crean, Former IUB coach and current Georgia University head basketball coach, also tweeted honoring Mr. Loggan.

“Paul Loggan had an impact from the 1st time I met him at NCHS. He treated me as a friend and with a huge smile and giant heart every time I was with him. The way he cared and loved Kathy and the kids was obvious every time. The hole he leaves has to be made up by those he loved.”

The entire state of Indiana is mourning during the passing of Loggan and many are sharing their memories, thoughts, and prayers to help ease the pain. His legacy will not be soon forgotten.

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Ed Gilliland expresses compassion, reflects on Paul Loggan’s impact
Virtual VNA Groovy Stroll for Hospice https://valpo.life/article/virtual-vna-groovy-stroll-for-hospice/ Mon, 13 Apr 2020 21:59:26 +0000 VNA https://valpo.life/article/virtual-vna-groovy-stroll-for-hospice/ Join us for our first ever virtual VNA Stroll for Hospice. Grab your VNA headband, break out your bell-bottoms, stay safe and take a stroll in your own neighborhood to raise funds for VNA Hospice.

On Sunday, May 3rd, families across Northwest Indiana and the country will come together virtually for the Groovy VNA Stroll for Hospice to remember their loved ones and support the VNA Hospice program, helping make best days possible for patients and families facing one of life’s most difficult journeys. You might be walking by yourself or six feet from your teammates, but you’re certainly not walking alone!

Visit www.strollforhospice.org to register. The website will serve as the hub of activity for this year’s Stroll for Hospice – participants can post selfies of themselves or their teammates in their groovy ’70s attire, log miles, and find tips on raising sponsorships for their stroll.

Registration is $10 per walker, with children under 18 free. Teams of 6 or more may register for $50 per team. The first 300 registered will receive a free groovy VNA Stroll for Hospice headband. For more information call 219-531-8049.

The VNA Stroll for Hospice celebrates and supports the VNA Hospice program that has provided compassionate end of life care to more than 14,000 patients and their families in our community for nearly 40 years. Every year hundreds of individuals help raise funds to ensure the compassion and support of VNA Hospice is always there for family, friends and neighbors when they most need it, regardless of their financial situation.

Thank you to our sponsors Beta Gamma Pi, Walsh & Kelly and Brown Tire of Valparaiso. VNA of NWI – trusted by the community to lead the way with care, compassion, and comfort for 50 years. Now celebrating 50 years forward! Visit www.VNANWI for more information about VNA programs and services.

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Virtual VNA Groovy Stroll for Hospice
Virtual VNA Groovy Stroll for Hospice https://valpo.life/event/virtual-vna-groovy-stroll-for-hospice/ Mon, 13 Apr 2020 21:58:12 +0000 VNA https://valpo.life/event/virtual-vna-groovy-stroll-for-hospice/ Join us for our first ever virtual VNA Stroll for Hospice. Grab your VNA headband, break out your bell-bottoms, stay safe and take a stroll in your own neighborhood to raise funds for VNA Hospice.

On Sunday, May 3rd, families across Northwest Indiana and the country will come together virtually for the Groovy VNA Stroll for Hospice to remember their loved ones and support the VNA Hospice program, helping make best days possible for patients and families facing one of life’s most difficult journeys. You might be walking by yourself or six feet from your teammates, but you’re certainly not walking alone!

Visit www.strollforhospice.org to register. The website will serve as the hub of activity for this year’s Stroll for Hospice – participants can post selfies of themselves or their teammates in their groovy ’70s attire, log miles, and find tips on raising sponsorships for their stroll.

Registration is $10 per walker, with children under 18 free. Teams of 6 or more may register for $50 per team. The first 300 registered will receive a free groovy VNA Stroll for Hospice headband. For more information call 219-531-8049.

The VNA Stroll for Hospice celebrates and supports the VNA Hospice program that has provided compassionate end of life care to more than 14,000 patients and their families in our community for nearly 40 years. Every year hundreds of individuals help raise funds to ensure the compassion and support of VNA Hospice is always there for family, friends and neighbors when they most need it, regardless of their financial situation.

Thank you to our sponsors Beta Gamma Pi, Walsh & Kelly and Brown Tire of Valparaiso. VNA of NWI – trusted by the community to lead the way with care, compassion, and comfort for 50 years. Now celebrating 50 years forward! Visit www.VNANWI for more information about VNA programs and services.

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Virtual VNA Groovy Stroll for Hospice
Budget Worthy Hobbies from Allegius Credit Union https://valpo.life/article/budget-worthy-hobbies-from-allegius-credit-union/ Tue, 07 Apr 2020 07:02:23 +0000 Allegius Credit Union https://valpo.life/article/budget-worthy-hobbies-from-allegius-credit-union/ When you are first starting out, sometimes money is tight. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a bit of fun. Here are a few ways you can enjoy life without breaking the bank. 

Hiking, Walking, or Biking

You don’t need to go to a gym to hit that weight loss goal. Instead, take walks around your neighborhood. Download free apps like Run Keeper or MapMyWalk to see where other neighbors are taking their walks and then you’ve got an already marked out safety net. Seek out local trails that are for beginners and reconnect with nature.

If walking isn’t your speed, buy a used bike for less than $100 and bike around your city. Better yet, if you’re in a major city, rent a bike for a day or two and see if it’s worth investing in the hobby.

You can also take up yoga and follow step-by-step guidance on YouTube, all you need is a mat. 

Check out AllTrails for the best trails around our area

Reading

Reading is an inexpensive hobby that has a lot of benefits. It forces you to focus on something meaningful, can serve as an escape, and can spark creativity or inspiration. If you’re reading nonfiction, you probably will learn something new.

If you’re not the page-flipping type, try audiobooks and podcasts. You can take them anywhere and listen to them on a walk.

Instead of buying books or audiobooks, take advantage of your public library. Many libraries continue to expand their digital selections, so the chance of being able to borrow an audiobook or eBook is greater than ever. 

Check out your local library today!

Writing

Keeping a journal can be good for the soul. If you find it hard to vent to people, or if it’s difficult for you to work through things out loud, writing down your thoughts can help you make sense of it.

Beyond that, writing poetry, a short story, or even a novel can be an amazing creative journey to undertake.

Cooking and Baking

Spending time in the kitchen can make some people miserable, but others thrive when they’re experimenting with different ingredients to make the perfect dish.

The best part about cooking or baking is that so many recipes are available online you don’t need a cookbook at all. You can choose to follow recipes or adapt ones to make them your own. The price is whatever you pay for the ingredients. If gardening is a hobby you enjoy, you can source your own ingredients.  

Volunteering

You feel good when you’re able to give back, especially to a cause that matters to you. You also may get involved in a friendly community of volunteers and make new friends.  

On the other hand, volunteering at an organization also can help you develop new skills you can use to boost your resume.

Camping

Camping is a great hobby to pair with hiking, and it’s fairly inexpensive. 

For complete beginners, a tent, sleeping bag, firewood, and fire-starting materials are the basics to purchase. A small tent can be bought for around $25-$35, and basic sleeping bags are around the same price. 

If there are any avid campers in your family or circle of friends, ask them if you can come with them on a trip. This way, you don’t need to invest much, and you can see if you like it before investing any further.

Start your camping adventure today!

Fostering Animals

If you’re not in the best financial position to adopt an animal, or if you don’t want a long-term commitment to one, fostering can be a good way to indulge in your love for all things furry.

You’re helping to make space in a shelter, to socialize an animal, and to give the animal a break from the stressful environment of a shelter. Plus, most foster agreements stipulate that the shelter or organization is responsible for medical care, and they may be nice enough to supply you with essentials as well.

It’s basically the same cost as having a pet, without the adoption or medical fees. If you can’t help but get attached, pet-sitting is a good alternative.

Finding Inspiration

If none of these hobbies speak to you, look to your friends and family for ideas. Do any of them have interesting hobbies you want to learn more about? Ask them about it, and they might help you bring down the cost by letting you borrow certain things or letting you partake in their hobbies with them.

Did you know that Allegius members can refer a relative between the ages of 16-24 who is currently a high school student or attending a trade school or college to receive $200 when they become a member and open a student checking account? Learn all about this special offer by clicking the banner on our homepage! 

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Budget Worthy Hobbies from Allegius Credit Union
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s Azariah Avery named Indiana State Youth of the Year https://valpo.life/article/boys-girls-clubs-of-greater-northwest-indianas-azariah-avery-named-indiana-state-youth-of-the-year/ Sat, 21 Mar 2020 00:02:29 +0000 Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana https://valpo.life/article/boys-girls-clubs-of-greater-northwest-indianas-azariah-avery-named-indiana-state-youth-of-the-year/ Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s Azariah Avery was named the Indiana State Youth of the Year on Thursday. Avery, a senior at Merrillville High School and member of Merrillville Boys & Girls Club, was chosen from a field of 17 candidates from Boys & Girls Clubs across the state.

Youth of the Year is Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club members across the country since 1947. After a series of local, state, and regional levels, one outstanding young person from a Boys & Girls Club is awarded National Youth of the Year. Avery advanced to the state competition after being named Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s Youth of the Year at a reception in late February, earning her a $5,000 scholarship.

The ceremony was set to be held in Indianapolis this week, but concerns over the 2019 Novel coronavirus COVID-19 compelled organizers to change plans and hold the event remotely. Avery conducted her interviews and delivered her speech by telephone from Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s Administration and Resource Center in Portage, the organization’s president and CEO Ryan Smiley said.

“We’re so proud of Azariah and all the work she put into Youth of the Year,” Smiley said. “She’s an exceptional young woman and a leader in her Club and her community. There is no one more deserving of this honor than her.”

For being named Indiana’s Youth of the Year, Avery will receive a $2,500 scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a four-year full-ride scholarship to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, and a one-year scholarship to Ivy Tech Community College. Avery plans to attend college in August, and now has additional options to choose from to kick off her post-high school graduation journey. Avery also will move on to compete in Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 13-state Midwest Regional Youth of the Year competition.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana:

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana has been opening doors to GREAT FUTURES for Porter and Lake County youth for over 60 years. Clubs are open after school and provide great places for youth in grades K-12 to meet friends and have fun while in a safe, supervised environment. Clubs are open during holidays and in the summer. Annual membership is only $40.00. For information on membership, volunteer opportunities, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact your local Club by calling (219) 764-2582 or visiting bgcgreaternwi.org. Great Futures Start HERE.

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s Azariah Avery named Indiana State Youth of the Year
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana renovates Lake Station Club games room https://valpo.life/article/boys-girls-clubs-of-greater-northwest-indiana-renovates-lake-station-club-games-room/ Thu, 19 Mar 2020 19:04:41 +0000 Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana https://valpo.life/article/boys-girls-clubs-of-greater-northwest-indiana-renovates-lake-station-club-games-room/ Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana recently renovated the Gamesroom in its Lake Station Club thanks to the helping hands of a number of local union workers, who assisted with the renovation and donated their time and services.

The renovation began with a demolition made possible through the donation of two full-size dumpsters from Republic Dumpster and Teamsters Local 142, as well as the volunteer work of several Sheet Metal Workers from Local 20, who helped complete the demo work. Additionally, new lights were installed thanks to a donation from the electricians’ union IBEW Local 697, and Kleckner Interior Systems donated new ceiling tiles, which were installed by Carpenters Local 1005.

Two local union workers begin to paint orange edges on a gray wall in the Lake Station Club of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana also thanks the following individuals for volunteering their time and services in service of this project: painters from Local 460 Kaden Fox, Mike Loonam, Mike Kidd, Jordan Riley, Gage Fleming, Dimitrios Slopelitis, Isrrael Alarcon, Michael Erickson, Cole Snuffer, Sean Norris; carpenters from Local 1005 Eric Brogdon, Carson Justice, Kenny Anderson, Abel Llnars, Brian Kennedy, Andrew Lopez, Ryan Higgins; teamster from Local 142 Mike Toth and Chris Camplen; electricians Matt Fingar, Mike Jungsma, Frank Mikolaszyk, Aaron Mikolasyk, Teresa Baranowski, Donald Bullock, and Nick Hardesty; and sheet metal workers Chance Lawson, Rob Beecher, Kreg Homoky and Jeff Hamilton.

“We’re grateful to Republic Dumpster and Kleckner Interior Systems for their donations, and we thank all the union workers for volunteering their time and hard work to help update our Club,” Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana president and CEO Ryan Smiley said. “We know they work hard to build our communities, and for them to come in on their off time and help us out means a lot to our organization and our kids.”

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana:

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana has been opening doors to GREAT FUTURES for Porter and Lake County youth for over 60 years. Clubs are open after school and provide great places for youth in grades K-12 to meet friends and have fun while in a safe, supervised environment. Clubs are open during holidays and in the summer. Annual membership is only $40.00. For information on membership, volunteer opportunities, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact your local Club by calling (219) 764-2582 or visiting bgcgreaternwi.org. Great Futures Start HERE.

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana renovates Lake Station Club games room