Story by Holden Hartle, INRC PR Intern
Elizabeth Ryan started INRC’s Indianapolis Community Building Institute (ICBI) program because she felt like she had run out of options. Ryan says, “I knew at the time I already had one kid, I was pregnant, and I couldn’t afford to move, so I better clean up this block.”
Through her time in these workshops, she learned how to tackle large community-based issues. Ryan says, “You’re getting a lot of information. So, [ICBI] teaches you how to use that information so it’s very introspective. But then you get this opportunity to share that and do that self-thinking with a bunch of folks who are doing great things or wanting to do great things in their own neighborhoods or around subjects they are passionate about. That snowballs into action and interests and friendships and learning from each other.”
After her time in training, Ryan worked in the Southeast Area of Indianapolis, the Fountain Square area, also partnered with organizations in the Martindale Brightwood area. She helped create a Quality of Life Plan as well as a neighborhood congress. One of her passions was contributing to the Fountain Square Arts Council.
Despite all of the work Ryan did in these neighborhoods, she attributes her success to the people around her in the INRC, saying “I created friendships and relationships that are like family.”
Ryan advocated for people to go through ICBI, saying that the skills she learned can be applied to all aspects of her life, not just her neighborhood. Ryan offered some advice to those that want to participate in ICBI. She says, “They are going to go in with an expectation or a thought of ‘I want to learn how to get the trash picked up on my street on a regular basis.’ They’ll have a thought that might feel straightforward, but they are going to be challenged to think about their perspectives and their leadership skills. They’re going to enjoy the support and the energy from the other participants. It can lead into not only cleaning up your block, but a whole slew of improving your self-habits, improving your understanding of systems, how to navigate these things, and then how to grow and help others from it.”
To apply for ICBI, go to http://www.inrc.org/icbi or contact Sharon Logan at firstname.lastname@example.org.