Alternative Break Information

Alternative Fall Break: Chicago

Thursday, October 9th (departing campus at 4:00pm) through Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Interested in the religious and cultural diversity of Chicago?  Want to learn more about interfaith engagement and service?  We will be spending two nights and two days in Chicago visiting Christian, Jewish, Baha’i and Muslim faith communities, and learning about—and engaging in—interfaith service and dialogue, including volunteer opportunities with The Night Ministry and City Farm on Clybourn Ave. We’ll be staying at the Cenacle Retreat Center in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood and will also visit one of Chicago’s great restaurants on Devon Ave.

Questions?  Contact University Chaplain Elyse Nelson Winger at

Alternative Spring Break:  Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge

March 7th through March 14th, 2015

Looking for an opportunity to serve and sweat along with a great group of IWU students?  Interested in getting to know another city and local culture?  Collegiate Challenge is a program of Habitat for Humanity International that brings thousands of students to Habitat locations across the southern United States during the month of March—and IWU students are among these amazing students!  Travel to a warmer locale and spend a week building a house and working alongside the family who will live there, and go deeper in your understanding of housing as a human right and a matter of social justice!  The exact location of the trip will be revealed in October, following IWU’s registration with the Collegiate Challenge Program.

Questions?  Contact University Chaplain and Habitat RSO Advisor Elyse Nelson Winger at


Dylan Overstreet: CPP Program ’14


State Farm Projects: 

At State Farm I have worked on a variety of different projects this summer. I developed a Business Continuity Outbound Dialer for our department.  The dialer is the first communication after an event that causes a business interruption.  Other projects I have assisted with are; Enterprise Catastrophe Volunteer Project, CCG Hiring Process, and other business continuity projects.

Boys & Girls Club Projects:

I developed the Wish Wall at the BGC which is a way for the kids to communicate what they want from the Club.  I gave a ten minute presentation at the Board Retreat this Summer, sharing what other Boys & Girls Club similar to ours are doing. Helped develop a Pen Pals program as well as a monthly Newsletter to help strengthen the relationship with donors, board members and other supporters.  Also created a “Hard Work 2 Hoops” program, which allowed four members to attend the IWU Mens Basketball camp for free based on a behavior, attendance, and grades incentive program.

Dylan’s Grant:

For 22 years, Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal has been in the forefront of youth development, working with young people from disadvantaged economic, social and family circumstances. We are dedicated to ensuring that our community’s disadvantaged youth have greater access to quality programs and services that will enhance their lives and shape their futures.  In order to have an even deeper impact on our community’s youth, Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal is requesting funding from IWU Action Research Center to help the implementation of a program called SMART Girls, which enhances girls’ physical and emotional health. The program combines informational and experiential learning activities to help girls, ages eight to seventeen, develop the knowledge and skills necessary to practice healthy lifestyle choices.  To implement the SMART Girls program, we would like to request the amount of $500 towards an incentive after the completion of the program. A more detailed breakdown of how these dollars will be allocated can be found in this proposal’s Budget.  The Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal has the staff and tools necessary to see this vision come to life. We thank you for considering this request. Together, we can assure that our community’s youth go on to have great futures.

A Note From Dylan:

I’d first like to thank State Farm for your support of the community partnership program.  Big thank you to my whole department and everyone that has helped me out this summer, specifically my supervisor, Evan Russo.  Also would like to thank Grant Anderson and Jenny Hall from the Boys & Girls Club for letting me become a part of their team at the Club.  Finally a big thanks to Deborah Halperin and Matt LaLonde for all they do to make this program possible.

Khurram Ghayur: CPP Program ’14


State Farm Projects:

I completed a diverse group of work including project/ strategic initiatives, employee development, and operational work in the financial shared services sector of the financial operations department. Regarding project/ strategic initiative, I performed reconciliation between the master list of agreement activities and the finance activities agreement from department leadership for the sale of State Farm Canadian businesses to Desjardin. In addition, I updated the list of master agreement activities by looking at responses from finance departments’ directors and managers regarding the State Farm and Desjardin transaction. My work was reviewed by the Canada Migration Program (CMP) leadership. Also, I created a project funding excel workbook with the estimations of cost for upcoming finance projects to aid in the prioritization process. Regarding employee development, I created a revised version of the power point slides for the 2014 Fundamentals of Accounting Class by using the 2013 slides, textbook, and the 2013 State Farm annual report. Regarding operational work, I completed employee compensation on-cycle check count verification, W-2 reissues, and wage verifications on a regular basis. I had the opportunity to create an employee count report that listed the managers and directors of each department within financial operations and showed percentages to total employee count. Lastly, I completed a self-audit for master funding. In this audit, I verified the procedures for master funding duties performed by treasury services related to Bank of America, JP Morgan, US Bank, and Wells Fargo in order to ensure transactions are adequately calculated, executed, maintained and protected. Through my internship in financial operations, I had the unique opportunity to have four mentoring sessions and one on one meetings with several assistant vice presidents and the vice president of financial operations.

YMCA Projects: 

At the YMCA, I searched and applied for the grants for their New Generation Youth Soccer League to help get equipment to sustain this growing free of charge league for our community. In addition, I completed an analysis of United Way’s McLean County’s Community Assessment in order to show ways the YMCA’s services can fulfill community needs. I created an excel workbook with a contact list for all the youth travel basketball leagues in McLean County and a workbook with a list of around 25 potential grant opportunities for youth sports and community gardens. Also, I had the opportunity to harvest vegetables at a community garden and help out, from setting up the fields to working with the kids, at the New Generation Youth Soccer League.

Khurram’s Grant: 

The YMCA will collaborate with AsiaNet (State Farm’s Employee Resource Group), McLean County’s Indian Association (MCIA), Illinois Wesleyan University’s South Asian Student Group (SASA), Illinois Wesleyan University’s Athletic Department, Illinois State University’s Global Diversity Group, Puran Indian Restaurant, and the lead singer, Vonid Nambair, of the local Indian band “Exit 167” to offer a South Asian cultural event for the Bloomington-Normal community. The cultural event, “Desi Day”, will give the community the opportunity to learn more about the South Asian culture, as well as allow South Asians to connect within our community. The $500 grant will be used to fund the event expenses.

A Note From Khurram: 

First, thank you to State Farm for your support of the community partnership program. Thank you to the YMCA for taking an intern this summer. Thank you to Amy Davis, my supervisor at State Farm, for giving me a full internship experience within financial operations (only in 3 days per week) and for being extraordinarily helpful. Lastly, thank you to Illinois Wesleyan University’s Action Research Center, Deborah Halperin, Matt LaLonde, and my fellow CPP and financial operations interns for making this summer unforgettable. I feel truly blessed to have been a part of this unique and meaningful program.

Mehgan Keeley: CPP Program ’14


State Farm Projects:

My 3 main projects in PCA were to review customer-facing communications materials for Drive Safe & Save, to create an electronic database for DSS customers, and work on a group research project presentation regarding retaining frequent shopper business. In my communications reviews, I read webpages, agent brochures, quick start guides, email templates of communications plans, and watched commercials & informational videos to provide my feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of each in how effectively DSS is communicating with the “average” American consumer. I also organized customer letters sent in with returned In-Drive devices to address the most recent customer issues first, and developed an electronic database which addresses the frequency and priority of customer issues pertaining to the In-Drive program. Finally, I worked on a group research project with the four other interns in PCA to locate current and develop new strategies for State Farm to retain business of customers in the “frequent shopper” segment. At the end of the internship, we had the chance to share our findings and suggestions in a presentation to the executives in PCA.

Milestones Projects:

Most of my work at Milestones has been marketing and outreach-focused. In my first month, I spent time collecting video footage of the kids, teachers, parent and staff interviews, etc, and created a promotional video for the organization to share via social media and at various community or family events. I coordinated and helped host VIP tours to promote the new building to potential sponsors in early July. I also coordinated and planned a “Parking Lot Party” open house for the current, past, and new families to join and be welcomed to the new building facility. The event will also act as a small fundraiser and will include food music, raffle prizes, children’s crafts to contribute to a time capsule, and tours. There will also be a more formal Open House event in September, which will focus more on publicity and broader promotion, which I have helped gather an invitation list for and arrange for parent speakers. I also had a chance to create a historical presentation that will be used at the Open House to showcase Milestones’ 106-year-old history and will be kept permanently at the entrance of the building. Finally, I coordinated a collaborative program for the Milestones’ families and staff, in which I wrote a grant proposal to the Action Research Center to request funding for (see below).

Mehgan’s Grant: 

Milestones Early Learning Center is requesting $500 to fund the Milestones Family Feast program. Milestones will extend an invitation for the quarterly event to host all immediate family members of its students for a free dinner and presentation on a special topic about raising children. Milestones Family Feasts will address the needs for nutritional assistance and education, as well as “safe and enriching learning environments” for raising children, as per the center’s mission. This program involves a collaborate partnership with Illinois Wesleyan University’s (IWU) education department, an IWU philanthropic sorority, a local farming non-profit called “Farm to Food Pantry,” and a donor willing to match the half of the grant. The grant funding will be dedicated to sustainable supplies required to host such a program, such as dining necessities.

A Note From Mehgan:

All three of my “jobs” this summer–State Farm, Milestones, and the Action Research Center–have worked independently and together in unexpected ways to provide me with such an incredible experience. I can genuinely say that I feel I have learned more over the past 11 weeks than I have in two years of classes at Illinois Wesleyan. I’ve learned how to make mature decisions, take initiative, be confidently creative, about the advantages of making connections, to seek my own ambition and figure out how that can positively impact whichever group environment I am working in. I’m so grateful to be in a position where I have so many people to thank.

Sarah Bergman: CPP Program ’14


State Farm Projects:

At State Farm, I worked on a variety of projects that allowed me to see different aspects of the department.  I edited and offered feedback on compensation learning paths that HR representatives complete as part of their training.  I also learned about pay policy and wrote a summary analyzing the potential impacts of Seattle’s new minimum wage increase.

YWCA Projects:

At the YWCA, I had two main projects.  The YWCA is exploring the possibility of offering racial justice consulting services to local businesses and organizations.  My project was to research best practices and to figure out the logistics involved in offering this service.  I looked at different models of diversity & inclusion training, met with members of the community, and examined what other YWCAs were doing with racial justice programming.  At the end, I created a document summarizing my research and offering recommendations for the YWCA to consider if they move forward with the idea.  For my second project, I worked on developing a new career readiness program for low-income women called Fit for the Job.

Sarah’s Grant:

Dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, the YWCA McLean County often provides services to disadvantaged women who are trying to improve their lives.  With this in mind, the YWCA is respectfully requesting $500 to fund a new career readiness program called “Fit for the Job”.  Fit for the Job will consist of a one-day workshop in October 2014, where low-income women will learn how to write résumés and how to be successful in interviews.  Upon completion of the workshop, participants will each receive a gift card to Clothes Mentor (resale clothing store), which will pay for one business outfit to wear to interviews and jobs.  By providing useful resources, women will have the tools and information to be more confident in the job search process.  Ultimately, Fit for the Job will help empower women by contributing to their economic independence.

A Note From Sarah:

The Community Partnership Program has given me an in-depth look at the Bloomington-Normal community that I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.  This is definitely the most unique experience I’ve had in college, and I know I’ll take what I’ve learned this summer with me in the future.  I am extremely grateful to State Farm, the YWCA, and the Action Research Center for making my summer so fantastic.

John Pisani: CPP Program ’14


State Farm Projects:

This summer, two other interns designated to the procurement department and I had one main project assigned to us. Our task was to research how exactly we can measure the value of the Purchasing Department. When I was not working on this project, I was working on Vendor Financial Reviews. This means that I would look at the financial standing of a vendor we are going to do business with or already are doing business with, and figure out if they were financially stable enough to help protect State Farm against the myriad of risks associated with a business relationship.

Tool Library Projects:

 My main task at the Tool Library was to help structure our organization for long term success. To aid in this, we were looking to establish a board of directors, or some sort of management team by the end of the summer. We are happy to announce that at this point we have co-directors and an operational manager. Along with this, I updated the website, coordinated a workshop, reorganized the shop for efficiency, worked with regional alternative school students to fulfill their volunteer hour requirements, and created a manual that contains all the information needed to volunteer/work at the library on a daily basis.

John’s Grant:

The Tool Library is respectfully requesting $500 to help purchase a bike “Fixit” station and cover the advertising costs associated with it. The “Fixit” station will be located outside of our storefront at 801 West Washington, conveniently next to our bicycle rack that was recently won in the Friends Constitution Trail Bike Rack Give-Away. Adding this to will greatly enhance our library and help us in our goal of bettering the community by providing residents with the tools they need for maintenance and repair.  We will advertise for the “Fixit” station and The Tool Library by placing a road sign on the nearest entrance/exit to the Constitution Trail as well as distributing flyers throughout West Bloomington.

A Note From John:

Thank you, State Farm, for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your team. Especially, Dan Lukert and Bobby Arbogast I truly enjoyed working with you both and cannot thank you enough for your help and support. Thank you to Matt LaLonde, your boundless commitment to the community and the Tool Library is incredible. The opportunity to work with you on this project and watch it all unfold has had a great impact on my life and I am excited to continue our work. Lastly, thank you to Deborah Halperin and the fellow CPP Interns, it was a pleasure getting to know one another and being able to work with you all.

Jenny Prochotsky: CPP Program ’14


State Farm Projects:

My main project for the Enterprise Philanthropy team this summer was a proposal to the Marketing Department of State Farm to expand the Town Hall programs due to their great success. I also created a departmental timeline from 2009-2014 with key dates that impacted the department. Some of the smaller projects I part in were creating a database of social investments organized by state for CRA purposes. I have completed a few competitor analyses on bank products which compare State Farm Bank to other banks at the local and national level. I also had the privilege of teaching the Leading and Learning students about financial literacy, such as budgeting, saving, and goal setting.

WBRP Projects:

My main project with the WBRP this summer has been my pop-up produce stand. The project began as a small idea to gather research and quickly exploded into a really interesting initiative that has involved over 100 volunteers and farmers to distribute food to over 650 people in the last 6 weeks. I began the project by exploring West Bloomington’s food desert with some action research, visiting local grocery and corner stores to see what kind of fresh food is accessible to the people living within the bounds of West Bloomington. The findings of my research solidified my understanding that there isn’t enough fresh food at a reasonable price available to the residents of West Bloomington. I then contacted the coordinator of the Farmer’s Market to ask if we could glean the produce that doesn’t get sold, and she approved the request. Since then, we have created a Facebook group, an online volunteer sign up form, and an email address to invite local community members to be a part of the food distribution effort. We rotate the stand each week to different locations on the Westside, allowing us to speak to and reach a wider range of residents.

Jenny’s Grant:

The West Bloomington Revitalization Project is requesting $495.38 to fund the creation of a calendar for Westside residents and businesses to display. This calendar will serve as a published document to promote community pride by highlighting the wonderful things happening within the area, and as an advertising tool for local agencies and businesses. Grant funding will be used to pay for paper and ink for each copy of the calendar. The monthly images of the calendar have been selected from the Westside photo contest of 2014, which encouraged local community members to submit pictures of different Westside locations. The WBRP will collaborate with Illinois Wesleyan University’s graphic design students in order to make a visually appealing document, which will be printed in October to distribute to community partners, located in the additional information section, and to residents at the Harvest Festival.

A Note From Jenny:

I am so unbelievably thankful for the opportunities I’ve had this summer, both withinState Farm and in the community. I would like to thank Deborah, Lara, and Vicki for believing in me and inviting me into this program, and for helping me in so many ways throughout the summer. I would like to thank my entire Enterprise Philanthropy team for having patience with me as I learned and asked so many questions. I would like to thank Matt and my group of fellow interns for making me and my projects better this summer. A special thanks to the Downtown Bloomington Association Farmer’s Market and all of the farmers who have made my project what it is. I am so grateful for the things that I have learned and I look forward to all of the ways I will apply this new knowledge in my future endeavors.

Nicole Jovicevic: CPP Program ’14

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State Farm Projects:

During my time at State Farm, I did not have one particular project I worked on. The experience I gained included helping with side projects like database transfers, the creation of an acronym database for an executive summary, assisting with on-site research, and mastering my Powerpoint animations skills through restructuring a particularly troublesome Powerpoint slide created by an outside vendor. What I gained from working at State Farm was more intangible and not directly linked to my work with the internship. One of the main benefits of working at State Farm was realizing I liked working at a corporation. All the jobs I had and enjoyed prior to this internship had been with non-profit organizations. If it was not for this internship, I do not think I would have ever considered a job at a corporation and I’m thankful for being shown my future could take a different path. The other benefit of working at State Farm was being surrounded by many strong, female leaders. They inspired me to work hard at creating the work efficiency they were able to command from their employees. Seeing females rather than all males in these roles was a first-time experience and made my ability to succeed in these high level positions seem more probable. I also realized the importance of a work-life balance. State Farm’s strict policy on not working overtime or through lunch at first seemed overly strict, however, after experiencing a whole summer where I was able to do work, and have a full social life, I recognized how I had been creating a work-centric life with my responsibilities at school and would have run myself down quickly once I entered the workforce if I went in with the same work-centric life mentality.

Mid Central Projects:

Working at Mid Central Community Action has been an unexchangeable experience. From the moment I arrived, my supervisor Kristen Sand made sure my skills were utilized. The amount of time and energy spent on constructing a meaningful internship was rare, and exceptional. During my time here, I had the pleasure of hosting the Catherine Street Neighborhood Block Party in June as part of MCCA’s annual participation in NeighborWorks Week. The program was initiated by former intern Veronica Watson to support local West-Side resident, Tricia Terven, in her goal to give kids something to do in the summer and to bring the community together. After all of the work our team invested into this event, the Block Party was a great success and was a wonderful opportunity for a removed, Wesleyan student like myself to see the benefits I can contribute to the local community. The second project I completed during my time at MCCA was the construction of the Action Research Center Grant proposal on behalf of MCCA. Writing a well-crafted proposal helped me advance my writing skills, and my ability to make a well-crafted, well-supported proposal. The confidence I gained from this experience will allow me to pursue writing grants for other non-profits in the future. Currently, I am in the process of producing social media content for MCCA’s 50th anniversary campaign next year. It is a pleasure to be given the freedom to create strategies that I think will help highlight their programming, and transfer well to social media. Overall, this experience has made me a better, more marketable employee for the future and I feel very fortunate to have had this experience.

Nicole’s Grant:

Mid Central Community Action (MCCA) is dedicated to the restoration of one historical, faded “ghost” advertisement painted on a building in West Bloomington. To highlight this restoration, MCCA would like to publish a free brochure outlining a ghost-ad tour around West Bloomington. The brochure would allow individuals to follow a map that marks the ghost-ads in Bloomington and learn about the history along the way.  If MCCA receives $500 to cover the development and printing of the brochures, as well as the painting and restoration of the advertisement, then the West Bloomington Revitalization Project (WBRP) will match the donation at $500 for the installation of a plaque. This plaque would recognizes the historical significance of the building/advertisement. The ghost-ad restoration will add art to the neighborhood, while the plaque will provide cultural and historical value—three attributes strongly lacking in this community. This project is in-line with MCCA’s vision because supporting art and history will help “enhance the community.” If the project is successful, MCCA will commit to restoring one ghost-ad during MCCA’s annual participation in NeighborWorks Week.  MCCA will partner with Illinois Wesleyan Art Professor Kevin Strandberg, library assistant Milan Jackson from the McLean County Museum of History, and Deborah Halperin from the WBRP. Kevin Strandberg will be responsible for the restoration of the art, Milan Jackon will aid in the creation of accurate historical information for the plaque, and Deborah Halperin will assist in designing our Westside Ghost Tour and brochures.

A Note From Nicole:

As I mentioned before, I would like to thank Kristen for being so kind, patient, and invested in my internship. She truly played a fundamental role in making this summer internship exceptional. I would also like to thank the Strategic Integration team for helping me develop professionally and feel confident in my ability to work for a corporation in the future. I would also like to thank my roommates for being unbelievably patient with me, and for setting a consistently good example of how to live a healthy lifestyle.  I think this summer was eye-opening because for the first time I was not only invested in my work, but also into time for a social life. Working at State Farm was a key element in supporting this healthy habit because of State Farm’s policy on work-life balance, and how every employee believes and lives it full-heartedly. If I had gone into the workforce without this experience, I know I would have followed the bad habit of a work-centric life.

Brittany Brady: CPP Program ’14


State Farm Projects:

My work at State Farm revolved largely around supporting and promoting the newly introduced State Farm program for individuals perusing an agency career. This new design, the Agent Aspirant Program, is a path for individuals to train to become State Farm agents after working under the guidance of a current agent. To support the program, I analyzed leadership best practices surrounding the Agent Aspirant Program and created prompts for Sales Leaders to answer so they could then be advertised to other State Farm employees in field leadership roles. I also created timeline representations of the program to be used to help various audiences understand the program phases. Additionally, I worked to document and record processes of the Agent Aspirant Program to help ensure easy access to past decisions. Beyond my efforts surrounding the Agent Aspirant Program, I also handled the task of compiling contacts across the Agency Development Centers and Agency Recruiting centers to be used for intern tracking purposes as well as developing organization techniques for business success.

Red Cross Projects:

This summer at the American Red Cross I worked on enhancing the current Ready Rating membership program they have through various avenues. Ready Rating is an online program that allows organizations, schools, and businesses to gauge their level of preparedness, and then use tools to help them improve it as well. To maintain active membership, I worked to develop an organized process for Red Cross coordinators to communicate with Ready Rating members on a consistent basis. Through creating customized email templates and membership lists, personally delivering certificates to active members, and even presenting on the Ready Rating program to community members, I was able to help increase membership motivation and promote awareness of the program. Additionally, I worked to help develop a Ready Rating workshop for faith-based organizations in the area, an objective of the American Red Cross following the tornadoes that affected Central Illinois last November. Outside of the Ready Rating program, I was able to gain a sense of the work that the American Red Cross accomplishes as a whole: I also collected feedback from recipients of American Red Cross disaster services, assisted in a blood drive, helped educate community members about the history of the American Red Cross, and more.

Brittany’s Grant:

The American Red Cross requested funds to assist them in their interactive workshop for faith-based organizations, “Growing Resilient Communities.” This workshop will educate leaders of their faith-based organizations on steps their organization can take to respond to a disaster in an appropriate and efficient manner. The American Red Cross strives to provide compassionate care to those in need and is committed to educating communities on emergency planning and preparation. Through this program, they will be able to exercise both objectives by enhancing preparedness levels of organizations throughout the community. Not only do churches serve as a place of worship for their immediate congregation, but they often times provide services to many vulnerable populations as well. The more prepared they are to respond to and recover from an emergency, the sooner they will be able to continue serving and providing a safe environment for their own congregation and the additional vulnerable populations they serve. Through this workshop we hope to provide them with the necessary information to help them prepare for and recover from a disaster and understand the role they can play in helping the greater community recover from a disaster as well.

A Note From Brittany: 

Thank you to all the kind, intelligent people I met this summer at State Farm and the American Red Cross. This internship has given me rewarding challenges, enormous growth, and a variety of opportunities. You have all offered me a summer filled with positive experiences and invaluable lessons to take with me as I continue down my career path in the future— for that, I cannot thank you enough.

Gavin Schroeder: CPP Program ’14


State Farm Projects:

At State Farm I helped develop tactics and write the 2015 strategy for home finance, customer awareness and agent engagement.  I used analytics and research to make recommendations for improving State Farm Bank’s webpages. I also helped connect State Farm with Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity Projects:

I called ReStore managers and got information from across the state and country about their operations. I used this to develop and present recommendations for increasing donations. I compared our ReStore’s performance to similar ReStores across the country to find areas of improvement. I created a database with names addresses and contact numbers of over three hundred prospective McLean County corporate donors, organized by sales revenue. I wrote word tracks for calling these companies and then started calling about donating to the ReStore. I wrote a new volunteer manual, workplace harassment policy, drug free workplace policy, and a frequently asked questions sheet. One of the ReStores I called reduces its expenses by asking for small donations to recycle or dispose unusable items. I wrote a new disposal donation receipt for this to help our ReStore reduce costs.  I also designed business cards, thank you fliers for corporate donors, as well as posters and handouts that advertise the ReStore as a place to donate items. I organized and searched through old Habitat homeowner files to help create a database with historical information. I also wrote a grant for a new partnership cabinet construction program that
will save Habitat thousands, and I will help start up a new ReStore internship program.

Gavin’s Grant:

Habitat for Humanity of McLean County is requesting $500.00 for a partnership cabinet building program. Habitat for Humanity’s experienced Retired Crew will collaborate with instructor Ben Adler’s high school students from the Bloomington Area Careers Center (BACC) construction trades program. The program will be directed by Habitat for Humanity’s construction manager Bill Waller, who has helped build over 100 homes in McLean County.  Habitat for Humanity will provide expertise, construction space on the ReStore property, and equipment. Bloomington’s Tool Library Manager Matt LaLonde has agreed to provide additional equipment as needed.  Working with Habitat’s Retired Crew, students will build cabinets that will be used in Habitat homes and sold in the ReStore. Building cabinets locally will enable Habitat to significantly reduce its expenses, while providing BACC students with an opportunity to work towards industry certifications. Any excess cabinets built will be sold at the ReStore, with proceeds put back into the program. The added savings and ReStore revenue will allow the program to be self-sustaining and grow each year.  The grant will be used as seed money. It will jump start the program by providing enough funding to build cabinets for nearly three homes and give many hours
of needed experience to the BACC students without a shop who depend on outside groups for construction experience.

A Note From Gavin:

Thank you to State Farm for your support of the community partnership program. Thank you to Habitat for Humanity and the ReStore for taking on an intern this summer. Lastly, thank you to Illinois Wesleyan, the Action Research Center, Deborah Halperin, Matt LaLonde and my fellow interns. I feel truly blessed to have been a part of this unique and meaningful program.


Christine Peterson: CPP Program ’14

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State Farm Projects:

  • Social Recruiting Research Paper: Researched different social recruiting methods used by various companies, compared those with State Farm social recruiting, and created a series of recommendations for EREC as to which steps should be taken next.
  • Language Testing Table Revisions: Addressed missing task analyses, incorrect job codes, incorrect job titles, and unclear language proficiency levels in order to create a table of language testing proficiency levels that is up to date and accurate.
  • Candidates Over 50 Research: Researched the specific job market of candidates over 50 to deduce if it is a viable target group to employ in the call centers in the hubs.

Western Avenue Projects:

  • Needs Assessment Survey: Devised a survey to assess the usage of WACC’s secondary location, the Lawrence Irvin Neighborhood Center, distributed the survey in the immediate area of the center, recorded the survey data using SPSS, then analyzed the data with SPSS and produced a report for the board members.
  • WACC Client Map: Used an online map generator to enter client addresses and produce a clear visual of WACC’s reach. Each program has its own layer and color within the map, allowing WACC to maneuver the map and show the reach of each program individually or the overall reach of WACC

Christine’s Grant:

My grant was written in order to fund a Ladies’ Night event at LINC, with the purpose of giving the women in the community a night off. The event is geared towards the high population of single mothers in the neighborhood, and child care will be provided at Boys and Girls Club to ensure they can attend the event whether or not they have someone to watch their kids. The night will include yoga, bellydancing, Avantis’ catering, DIY mani-pedi station, sharpie mug decorating station, and they will leave with a gift bag containing a scented candle, various pamphlets of relevant information from other organizations such as YWCA, MCCA, and Milestones, and Dove chocolates.

A Note From Christine:

Big thank you’s to my State Farm team and to my WACC team, in particular my supervisors Jean and Amy. Couldn’t have done any of this without their help. And thank you to State Farm, Lara, and Deborah for making this internship possible!

Veronica Watson: NeighborWorks Week Block Party

IWU student Veronica Watson partnered with Mid Central Community Action and The West Bloomington Revitalization Project to request $500 to hold a block party for the West Bloomington residents. This will serve as a conclusion to NeighborWorks Week programming and a celebration of the beginning of summer. Materials from the Tool Library will be used to make this event happen. This block party allows residents to form stronger relationships with their neighbors while providing safe activities for kids. They hope to expand this program to have more residents-lead developments.

Nicole Pierce: Bookmarks – Books for Kids in Need


Wesleyan Student Nicole Pierce wrote a grant for First Book-McLean County, a community partner that has provided book grants to local tutoring, mentoring and literacy programs in McLean County for 13 years. She helped them to request bookmarks for the books each child receives. The organizations goal is to provide each child in need with 12 books every year. Illinois Wesleyan’s Printing and Mailing Services is even helping out by providing the design for the bookmarks.

Volunteers Needed for DBA Farmers’ Market!

The Downtown Bloomington Association is looking for volunteers to assist with their weekly Farmers’ Markets starting in May and going though October!


Duties include: Farmers' Market

– assist with financial transactions

– sharing information

– subbing for vendors when breaks are needed

– setting up and tearing down on a monthly or bi-monthly basis


Contact Marisa Brooks at at for more information!

Niko Garcia ’15: Boys & Girls Club

As Youth Program Intern, Niko Garcia’s (Sociology ’15) role at the BGC was to aid, tutor, and program for the children that attend the club. With the time that Niko spent at the Boys and Girls club, he created his own  nikogarciabasketball/fitness program for the kids that runs Wednesday and Friday nights. It is a program that was created to get the kids active in exercise as well as build a fundamentally sound foundation in the most popular sport among the children. Niko hopes to continue to work with youth and inspire them to pursue their personal dreams.