Welcome Valley Grads and Friends of the Akron / Mentone Communities

Two thirds of 8000 alumni of Tippecanoe Valley -- and the schools that created it -- no longer live in the school district. This blog is intended to keep us all connected, to news of our hometowns and of each other.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Idea Behind This Blog

Our hometowns are typical of the majority of communities in Indiana and the Midwest .  They still have their charms, virtues, and assets, but they are not growing.   Declining populations and tax bases make it increasingly difficult for small towns to provide young people the same opportunities that many of us received thirty, twenty, or even ten years ago.

Most of us have great affinity for the communities where we grew up -- not just the schools themselves, but the friends and family and teammates, the workplaces and churches and parks and lakes where we learned to interact with others.  Many of us who have moved away and become engaged in our new communities would still give back to our hometowns in some way ... if we were only asked. 

We estimate that there are 5000 graduates and former students of Tippecanoe Valley, and another 3000 living graduates of Akron and Mentone High Schools, living in about 7000 households.

Our research suggests that about a third  of these families still live in the school district; another third of them now live in Rochester or Warsaw, and the last third have moved further away – more than likely out of state.  

We have begun to implement a communications plan designed to cultivate our nearby and distant alumni with the intent to re-engage them as contributors to local educational, economic development, and philanthropic efforts. 

Education.  Our alumni can be mentors and e-mentors, and providers of internship opportunities for high school students, and volunteers for early education enrichment activities; they can recruit and serve as guest instructors for continuing/adult education programs.

Economic Development.  Our alumni can be advisors and mentors to local entrepreneurs;  ambassadors/recruiters/scouts for local businesses, chambers of commerce, and economic development corporations; and angel investors. A few might even be looking for the right opportunity to start or bring a business back home. 

Philanthropy.   Our alumni can be donors to an annual appeal to create both a permanent and a revolving fund with the local community foundation, using the “Giving Circle” model, to make grants for special projects at the schools and elsewhere within the community.   Eventually, we can be prospects for planned gifts.   Why wouldn’t the community in which some of us spent the first 20 years of our lives be a candidate, along with the college where we spent four, for being one of the entities we remember in our estate planning?

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