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If you’re looking to keep your kids busy this summer while getting them out of the house, this is for you! Shannon Williams, Vice President of Community Engagement at The Mind Trust joined us today to fill us in on the Summer Learning Labs happening in Marion County this year.

Enrollment for the Indy Summer Learning Labs is now open to families and students who will entering grades 1-9 in the 2021-22 school year. The Indy Summer Learning Labs are a free, five-week learning acceleration and enrichment program being offered at more than 35 community sites in Central Indiana. The goal of the program is to seize missed learning opportunities that may have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to enrolling interested families for the program, the Indy Summer Learning Labs are also actively recruiting educators from Central Indiana to serve as teachers, coaches, aides and more. Teachers can earn up to $10K for the five week program plus a week of training.

It’s estimated that students may have lost up to a year of learning because of COVID-19, and intensive programs like the Summer Learning Labs have shown to make tangible gains against academic and social-emotional learning outcomes, especially among students from low-income households.

The Mind Trust is an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit that works to build a system of schools that gives every student in Indianapolis, no exceptions, access to a high-quality education.

More information can be found at

United Way invites all members of our community to LIVE UNITED by giving, advocating and volunteering to improve lives in Central Indiana. Visit to learn more.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) —  There is a new campaign aimed at ending dating violence among teenagers. Indianapolis Public Schools and the Domestic Violence Network is partnering to spread awareness and get students’ help. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, therefore 14 billboards, signage on IndyGo buses and posters around schools will be displayed in Indianapolis through February, which is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month.

When it comes to teenagers, the statistics are staggering.

“One in three young people experience some form of dating violence. Whether that is emotional, verbal through social media, stalking, sexual abuse or physical,” said Lindsay Stawick.

(Provided Photo/IPS & DVN Campaign)

Stawick is the associate director for the Domestic Violence Network and said one in 10 Indiana students report being physically harmed by an intimate partner. Statistics show that 10% of teens surveyed in Indiana said they have been forced to have sex against their will. Indiana is also ranked third out of 30 states for teen dating violence.

“Teen dating violence is at epidemic proportions. Indiana ranks pretty high up there for teen dating violence in our state and where is the best area to reach these kids? In the educational environments they are all in,” said Kim Kennedy.

Kennedy is the IPS Title IX Coordinator and is using federal law to protect kids.

“Coincides with the new federal regulations from U.S. DOE that said K-12 you need to address this issue. It is a form of gender discrimination. So, applying the protections that already exist will only work if parents, students and staff report those incidents,” said Kennedy.

Indianapolis Public Schools amended its Title IX policy to include teen dating violence guidelines and resources in Oct. 2018 after a group of female students from Crispus Attucks High School stepped forward to raise awareness and request attention to the issues surrounding teen dating abuse/violence in IPS schools. 

(Provided Photo/IPS & DVN Campaign)

The updated policy includes initiatives to address teen dating abuse in both high schools and middle schools, including ways to report anonymously on school websites. The policy creates an appointed Teen Dating Abuse Advocate for all middle and high schools who serves as the primary resource for students experiencing teen dating abuse. Additionally, literature and resources are shared within middle and high schools from the Domestic Violence Network. Programming also includes prevention efforts through The Change Project, a healthy relationship class available to middle schools by request. 

This is also where the campaign to end teen dating violence, comes in. The two women worked with students, allowing the kids to come up with the 14 billboards, panels displayed on IndyGo buses and posters now up at various schools.

“They came up with the slogans and they came up with pictures,” said Kennedy.

Students, urging students to recognize the signs and easily get help. The billboards offer a link, to a specialized IPS website where kids can find resources. Students can also simply text 3-1-9-9-6 anonymously for immediate help.  

“It allows them to not just say what maybe they need, but maybe give me some resources or explain to me what a healthy relationship is… or I am a little concerned about my friend,” said Kennedy.

Perhaps this is the first step in starting this important conversation. These experts said they start seeing this type of domestic violence in kids as young as 12 and 13 years old. Therefore, it’s also important for parents and teachers to look for signs such as students fighting or skipping class and pay attention to this campaign.

“It is definitely an issue that needs to be talked about that happens all the time to young people,” said Stawick. “They are not shy about doing campaigns because they want their friends to be safe and healthy.”

For more information on the IPS Title IX policy and teen dating violence resources, click here.

How to talk to kids about mass shootings

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Kids are heading back to school this week amidst a country in mourning over two mass shootings –one in El Paso, Texas, and another in Dayton, Ohio — that killed 31 people over the weekend.

The El Paso shooting that killed 22 people happened at a Walmart where many families were doing back-to-school shopping.

Central Indiana is about two hours away from Dayton, where a shooting killed nine people in a popular nightlife area early Sunday morning.

Mathias Beier, associate professor of pastoral theology and mental health counseling at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, strongly suggests that parents speak with their kids if they fear for their safety.

“They might say that they don’t feel like going to school or have a more depressed mood, or they might be more quiet than usual after this happened,” Beier said.

According to Beier, it’s not uncommon for children to think of the possibilities of a tragedy happening locally as a reality.

“We want to reassure kids that basically the world is safe,” said Beier. “The way we create our world here. We cannot do anything about the larger political world out there.”

Beier believes that mental health issues are not the only problems leading to these tragedies, adding it can have an impact on children who suffer with mental health issues.

“They might need to be held, they might need to have hugs and be reassured you know, ‘I love you.’ That’s really important,” he said.

Beier also said that bullying is a common factor that could lead to violence at school and recommends parents talk with their kids.

“Among friends, you can point out, you know, ‘That wasn’t cool what you did’ and to not reward that behavior,” Beier said.

If your child’s behavior of anxiety and fear continues, he recommends speaking with a counselor.