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NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A professor of entrepreneurship at Butler University is leading an effort to give women in marginalized communities a second chance in life by becoming business creators. The Launch HOPE Foundation works with women who face challenges, including incarceration, addiction and domestic violence. Professor Kristi Mitchell says HOPE is an acronym for hope, opportunity, prosperity and entrepreneurship, but it represents more than that.

“I want the women I work with one to have that hope, put those opportunities in front of them of business ownership and make that a realistic pathway,” said Mitchell. “I also want people to grab on to the mindset of prosperity.”

One entrepreneur taking part in the program is Kaitlin Vanderpool. She served three months in the Hamilton County jail following a third conviction for driving under the influence. Vanderpool admits her life was spinning out of control.

“Because of my struggles with alcoholism, I’ve never had any sort of stable view of the future. I just didn’t see it as something that was a possibility for me,” shared Vanderpool.

Vanderpool started taking entrepreneurship classes at the jail twice a week. It allowed her to gain self-respect and learn the basic skills of starting a business.

“I think that it’s given me a lot of hope that I can have a different future and go down a different path than I was going down prior to my incarceration,” said Vanderpool.

Vanderpool, who learned how to sew from her mother, is launching an e-commerce handmade apparel boutique through online marketplace Etsy (Nasdaq: ETSY)

“I always knew I ultimately wanted to be my own boss,” said Vanderpool. “Launch HOPE gave me the time and the resources I needed to make that happen.”

The resources include support from the Butler business students who volunteer for the program.

“My students have helped Kaitlin conduct research, vet her business concept, develop a business model, set-up an online storefront and go to market,” said Mitchel. “All the things she couldn’t do by herself while incarcerated.”

Nine other women are taking part in the pilot program at the jail.

 “Launch HOPE is a unique and incredible way to equip and empower these ladies to start careers and businesses they are passionate about,” said Captain Josh Carey, Hamilton County jail commander. “The hope is that these skills and concepts will allow them to support themselves and their families upon reentry into their communities.”

The Launch HOPE Foundation currently operates entrepreneurship centers in the Hamilton County Jail and the Phalen Leadership Academy on the east side of Indianapolis.  Mitchell says three new centers are planned in the coming months to support more budding entrepreneurs that want to transform their lives.

Kaitlin and her new company will be supported by the Launch HOPE Foundation Business Accelerator program for the next five years. 

“But it’s not over when I ‘graduate’ from the program,” said Vanderpool. “This program offered me a lifeline that I might not have gotten somewhere else. I want to be that for someone else. I want to serve as a mentor for those who come behind me.”

Step inside a world of pure imagination with Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical!

Fiona Claire Huber, ensemble and Veruca Salt understudy, joined us today to share what you can expect from this show.

WHEN: Performances October 19 – 24

WHERE: Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University

Roald Dahl’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY tells the story of Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, who has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous—and mysterious—factory is opening its gates…to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing, life-changing journey through Wonka’s world of pure imagination. Get ready for Oompa-Loompas, incredible inventions, the great glass elevator, and more, more, more at this everlasting showstopper!

Tickets are available online at or by calling 1-800-982-2787. Group orders of 10 or more may be placed by calling 317.632.5183.

WHITING, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Mascots from two universities in the Hoosier State have been nominated for the National Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting. Butler University’s Butler Blue bulldog and Purdue Pete from Purdue University are in the running this year. A total of 23 mascots, both in professional and collegiate sports, have been nominated.

The hall also serves as an interactive children’s museum. The Indianapolis Colts’ Blue and Indiana Pacers’ Boomer were both inducted in 2020.

Voting begins Sunday October 3 and ends Saturday October 9. The 2021 Mascot Hall of Fame inductees will be announced November 5 with the induction ceremony take place next June.

Butler Blue IV has served as Butler’s mascot since January 2020. The university says he has 42,000 followers on Instagram. The school says the live mascot program, and not specifically Butler Blue I, II, III or IV, is nominated. This would be the first live mascot in the Mascot Hall of Fame.

“Butler University’s live mascot program has come a long way since its inception in 2000,” said Evan Krauss, Butler Blue IV’s handler. “It would be a tremendous honor for the program to be inducted as the first live mascot in the Mascot Hall of Fame.”

Purdue Pete has been around much longer, cheering on the Boilermakers. According to a university website, Purdue Pete first ran onto the football field in 1956. However, his heritage can be tracked back to the 1940s when the likeness was used as an advertising logo.

Click here to see the full list of nominees.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Butler University students will talk Thursday about what Wednesday’s inauguration means to them.

The national event happened before students went back to class next week, and the idea is to continue the conversation, especially for Marcos Navarro Garcia and other students for whom the inauguration means more than just a change in leadership.

“Change feels a lot more possible,” he said.

Navarro Garcia is not just any Butler junior. His family moved to Indiana when he was 3. He was in the top 10 in his class at McCutcheon High School southeast of Lafayette and a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). President Donald Trump tried to end the program; if he’d been successful, Navarro Garcia could have been deported to Mexico. The Supreme Court overturned any chance of that prospect last summer.

Navarro Garcia hopes a new president means the end of that turbulence. “It’s a relief. The work is not done. There’s a lot of work still to be done in the undocumented community in particular. We have a lot of hope,” he said.

Those types of experiences and feelings are what Butler hopes to share through its regular series of Brave Dialogues sponsored by the Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Center for Faith and Vocation. The inauguration is the topic for Thursday.

“I think that this shows Butler is aware of the political moment we’re in.” Navarro Garcia said.

Gina Forrest, executive director of Butler’s Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said giving safe spaces for students to talk, even virtually, is important.

“Not to change your mind or think that there’s right or wrong, but to hear others. We think that’s an important space and place to do,” Forrest said.

She has two more goals in mind as well: developing empathy and creating the ability to disagree in a healthy way.

“You will learn how to have that civil discourse that I might completely disagree with you, how can we do so so we’re not throwing things, we’re not angry, we’re not cussing each other out,” she said.

The Brave Dialogues will tackle a few more big topics in the spring. They include vaccinations, the value of human life, abortion, and the death penalty.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Every year, volunteers serve thousands of hot meals for the Mozel Sanders Foundation‘s annual Thanksgiving Day event.

This year, as the city fights the coronavirus pandemic, the need is greater than ever, but limits of kitchen space facing the foundation will mean fewer are fed than usual on Nov. 26.

“Even more this year, there are still people that are still seriously hurting with regard to the economy, and with COVID and everything else going on, there’s a need. There are people that are going to go hungry on Thanksgiving,” said Dawn Jones, the marketing and public relations director for the Mozel Sanders Foundation.

To try to feed as many people as they can, the foundation needs volunteers to chip in. A website lets people apply to volunteer.

“My hope and my prayer is that their heart is warmed and they get the satisfaction of knowing they’ve helped another person, another family, another part of the community to be able to eat on Thanksgiving,” Jones told News 8 on Thursday.

Volunteers will have to follow strict COVID-19 safety guidelines.

In years past, volunteers made upwards of 40,000 hot meals. This year, the foundation is proposing only 10,000-15,000 meals.

“Just because of the constraints and not having our normal kitchen at Butler (University), that’s our biggest constraint right now. Not being able to provide at the level. So, we’re actually soliciting kitchens across the area. If they’re willing to open their kitchen, we’ll staff it with volunteers,” Jones said.

New this year, the Roberts Park Methodist Church on North Delaware Street in downtown Indianapolis will be a place for volunteers to cook the food and put some of those meals together. Jones also said the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church at 34th Street and Central Avenue has also opened its kitchen to help cook food.

“Right now, we need a few more kitchens so we can really help scale it the way we’d like to,” Jones said.

The foundation is also looking for drivers. “We really need drivers this year. What we’re going to do is a centralized location. They’ll come to that location, get a sheet. They won’t even have to get out their car. They get a sheet of ‘here’s your location,’ boxes with meals, here’s the food, and go deliver. We’re trying to simplify it, and all of our deliveries will be contactless,” Jones said.

For more information, send an email to

Anyone who would like to receive a Thanksgiving meal can call the dinner line at (317) 636-7985 from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. through Nov. 15.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A man is stable at a hospital after he was shot Wednesday afternoon in a residential area just south of Butler University, police said.

Police were called to a report of a person shot shortly before 3:35 p.m. Wednesday to the 600 block of Berkley Place. That’s a couple blocks south of West Hampton Drive on the Butler campus.

Police found the man inside a car on the street and he had suffered a gunshot wound to his right hip. He was taken to a hospital, and officers were unable to speak with him in the initial hours after the shooting, said William Young, public information officer with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Butler’s police force also responded to the shooting.

Butler sent out a mass text about the shooting since it was close to the campus. Young said IMPD did not yet know if the victim, who has not been identified, was a Butler student. Young would not say who owns the home or whether students live in the home. Young also would not talk about evidence taken from the scene.

Police have no suspect in the shooting and were canvassing the area to talk to witnesses. However, Young said, there is no current threat to the Butler campus.