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Indiana Youth Group launches fundraising effort for new location

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new capital campaign launches Tuesday for an Indianapolis organization supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teenagers.

Indiana Youth Group has found a new home downtown located near 38th and Meridian Streets. It is 15,000 square feet. It also has plenty of parking and access to public transportation.

Compare that to the building Indiana Youth Group has been in since the early 90s, which is just 2,500 square feet near 46th Street and Binford Avenue. The organization is really busting at the seams. Just last year, nearly 800 youth filtered through there, totaling about 6,000 visits.

Indiana Youth Group offers LGBT teens a safe, supportive place, but also wellness programming, tutoring, college prep help, free meals.

Chris Paulsen is the honorary co-chair of this new capital campaign and said while all of the 30 programs offered are helpful, it’s the suicide prevention program that’s really making a difference.

She said Hoosiers need to remember that Indiana ranks number one for teens considering suicide.

“And LGBT youth are eight times more likely to consider suicide than their peers, so Indiana Youth Group has written the first suicide prevention for LGBT youth in the nation, it’s a groundbreaking program, so we’re excited that we’ll be able to offer that to more youth and save more lives,” Paulsen said.

Indiana Youth Group has already raised $1.75 million over the last six months during the silent phase of this fundraising effort. Now they’re hoping to raise another 800,000 by April.

If they can reach that goal, they will get into this building in May to start renovations and have the entire organization moved in by the end of the year.

Naming rights for the building are still available, but the organization is accepting donations of any size.

“Indiana Youth Group is celebrating it’s 30th year next year, so it’s an organization that’s been around a long time, and I think it will continue to need to provide services for youth in the foreseeable future,” Paulsen said.

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Shoe art by Kokomo native stolen from northern Indiana museum

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WISH) — A shoe by an Indiana native was stolen Saturday from a northern Indiana art museum.

South Bend Museum of Art is seeking help to find the thief of a shoe from the piece titled “Welcome Knives,” part of an exhibit by Kokomo native Chris Francis that’s traveled to other U.S. museums. His work has been described as wearable architecture.

The shoe disappeared between 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday while the museum was open. The museum staff and city police are reviewing surveillance video from the Century Center to gain a lead. South Bend’s show called “Chris Francis: Modern Bespoke 21st Century Shoe Art” is in the downtown Century Center through April 5.

Francis, who grew up in Kokomo and now lives in Los Angeles, said in a statement that he was “saddened to be informed that someone has chosen to steal the piece ‘Welcome Knives’ from the exhibition. The shoes exhibited are all documented and catalogued works of art that have shown in many museums. Every shoe in the exhibition is one of a kind, with no others in existence making them very different than shoes we find in stores.”

Francis has created shoes for runway shows and for celebrities, including Lady Gaga and the members of Kiss and The Sex Pistols.

His work was displayed late last year on the Purdue University campus.

Anyone with information was asked to call the South Bend Police Department at (574) 235.9201 or contact the South Bend Museum of Art via email at info@southbendart.org, or through the museum’s social media accounts: Facebook, @SouthBendMuseumofArt; Twitter, @southbendart; Instagram, @southbendart.

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