Knowledge Equals Power

Written by Eric Kilbride, MCCOY Board Member
There was a man who collected birds, among them a rare bird from Africa. When the collector planned a trip to Africa, he asked if the bird if there was anything he could bring back.  “The best thing to do is to let me out of this cage,” the bird said, but the man refused.  In Africa, members of the bird’s family asked about their cousin.  When the collector told them their relative was in a cage, one of the birds fell out of a tree, dead.  Upon his return, the collector told the caged bird what had happened, and the bird collapsed, just as his relative had.  The man took the bird out of the cage, and suddenly it revived, flying off.  As it escaped the bird said, “Thank you for the information.”
In early 2000, as we were writing “Community YouthMapping: A Guide and Toolkit,” Richard Murphy rightly suggested we include this story in the foreward.  As a youth development pioneer, Richard was a staunch believer in the message of the story: KNOWLEDGE EQUALS POWER.  He knew that, whatever its immediate cause, a deficit in knowledge is severely limiting.  This hasn’t changed—we know that youth who don’t have a view past their immediate circumstances are unlikely to move beyond them.
But what about us, the youth development advocates and workers who are attempting to empower them? What knowledge deficits do we have and how have they impeded progress?
If we examine our databases, we find stores of deficit data that tell us what’s not working—juvenile detention statistics, teen pregnancies, school drop out rates, and so on.  But what data are being collected to broaden our view, to inform us with respect to what IS working—the number of young people who spend time in structured after school activities, volunteer around the city, etc.?  Wouldn’t we be better served collecting data with a broader view to better inform and shape budgets, policies and programs? 
I spent the past seven years running businesses and we used the maxim “What gets measured gets done.” Lets add to what we are measuring about young people and become a leader for what “gets done” for young people.   Our community has been a beacon for many groundbreaking initiatives that have positively changed lives. Let’s begin to collect and report data surrounding our many successes to broaden our knowledge, breathe new life into our efforts, and to put the “positive” back into positive youth development.

Statehouse Update

This week marked the final passage or defeat of bills in their house of origin and the start of conference committees – the time when bills that had significant changes to them are deliberated by both chambers and either passed into law or defeated.

MCCOY has been working in concert with other state and local education associations and child advocacy organizations on a bill that popped up late in the process.  Next week the House and Senate are likely to consider language that was added to Senate Bill 229, that would greatly increase the access of young people to guns in schools, day cares, preschools, residential child care facilities, and Head Start programs.  Attached is a letter that more fully details the concerns with the new language in SB 229, excerpted below.

1.  SB 229 takes away all power from schools and teachers to create gun safe zones for the safety of their students and staff, by prohibiting rules banning employees from bringing guns locked in their cars.

2. By redefining on what school property it would be a crime to possess firearms, SB 229 would allow firearms inside school buildings, if that building is not being used exclusively for a school function. 

3. By redefining school property, SB 229 also completely decriminalizes possession of a firearm, by anyone other than an enrolled student, in the parking lots of schools, day cares, preschools, residential child care facilities, and Head Start programs.

4. SB 229 almost completely decriminalizes leaving a gun in plain view on the seat of an unlocked car in school parking lots.It protects irresponsible gun owners who leave loaded weapons unlocked and in plain view of children.

The Senate has never held a public hearing to hear and consider the consequences of this very serious change in the law.

Please call your state Senator to express your concerns with this language. Ask that the House amendment be taken out of SB 229 as it was never heard in the Senate, and that this is such a serious issue, with significant ramifications, that it should not pass at least until fully considered and vetted by the Senate.

In addition to your state senator, please also contact:

Senator Jim Tomes: [email protected]
317-232-9442 (Business)
812-985-5473 (District)
317-232-9414 (Statehouse)

Senator Richard Young: [email protected]

President Pro-Tem David Long: [email protected]
260-436-7100 (Business)
317-232-9416 (Statehouse)

Speaker Brian Bosma: [email protected]
317-232-9605 (Business)
317-233-0539 (Statehouse Fax)
317-232-9657 (Statehouse)
Below is a status update of the bills that MCCOY has been following and links to our tracking reports.

IN StatehouseMCCOY’s High Priority Bills

HB1036 CHILD CARE & DEVELOPMENT FUND ELIGIBILITY (MAHAN K) Specifies health, education, safety, and training requirements that a child care provider must meet as a condition of eligibility to receive a federal Child Care and Development Fund voucher payment.
Current Status:      3/10/14 conference committee meeting 11:00 a.m. Rm. 404

HB1137    REPORTING OF SEX CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN (HALE C) Requires the commission on improving the status of children in Indiana to study and evaluate the underreporting of crimes against children.
Current Status:  2/3/2014 – DEAD BILL; Fails to advance by House 3rd reading deadline; amended into SB227
Position:  Support

HB1220 CRIMINAL GANG LAWS AND JUVENILE COURT JURISDICTION (LAWSON L) Modifies the definition of “criminal gang” to include a group with at least three members that collectively engages in a pattern of criminal gang activity and is a covert or overt organization that has a command structure. Specifies that criminal gang activity can only be committed by a member of a criminal gang. Removes criminal gang activity, criminal gang intimidation, and certain drug offenses from the list of crimes that a juvenile court does not have jurisdiction over.
  Current Status:  Language amended into HB1006 Criminal Code Revision
  Position:           Support
HB1351 WELFARE MATTERS; DRUG TESTING (MCMILLIN J) Requires the division of family resources to establish a statewide program for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that allows SNAP benefits to be used only for food and beverages that have sufficient nutritional value, as determined by the division of family resources. Requires the office of the secretary of family and social services (office) to administer a drug testing program (program) for individuals who are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) assistance or receiving TANF assistance on behalf of a child. Establishes requirements for the program and ineligibility penalties. Prohibits an individual who is ineligible to receive TANF assistance under the program from receiving assistance on behalf of a child and provides for an exception. Requires the office to collect data to assess and avoid discrimination in the program. Requires the office to provide information to the Indiana housing and community development authority and any division of the office that implements the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program concerning an individual who tests positive for controlled substances. Requires the department of workforce development to submit a report to the legislative council and the unemployment insurance oversight committee concerning certain unemployment topics.
Current Status:  3/6/14 conference committee meeting

If you have any questions about the bills or MCCOY’s public policy priorities, please feel free to contact me.  If there is any other information that you would like to see added to these updates, or that you would like to pass on to others for information or support, please e-mail me and I will add to the next update.  Thank you!

Mindi Kensinger Goodpaster, MSW
Director, Public Policy & Advocacy
3901 N. Meridian St., Suite 201
Indianapolis, IN 46208
P 317-921-1286
F 317-921-1298


MCCOY Provider Council: What’s In It for Me?

The MCCOY Provider Councils are a valuable opportunity for all youth workers and youth/family serving agencies. Moving forward, these events will focus primarily on connections.   We envision the Provider Council as a place where you can acquire program resources, build new peer relationships and connect to partners that can provide valuable services for your program or the families you serve.   We encourage all organizations/agencies that provide services to youth and families to attend.  We want to connect your services to the amazing individuals that work with young children daily. These connections will continue to build the capacity to support the developmental needs of young people. 
To register for an upcoming Provider Council, click here.

Race for Resources

Save the Date:
4th Annual “Race for Resources”
May 29, 8:30am-12:00pm
Garfield Park Arts Center
2432 Conservatory Dr, Indianapolis, IN 46203

Stewards of Children

We are off to a great start for 2014 with setting up Stewards of Children trainings throughout the community. So far we have 29 trainings set up for the year and have already trained 108 people!

Some of the feedback we’ve received from the participants includes:

“Great job discussing this important topic. This program is vital and needs to be widespread.” –Parent

“I enjoyed hearing the success achieved in the survivors’ stories. The message of hope from them is inspiring & motivational. They were very brave to open and share.” –I.U.P.U.I. student

“This was very informative and so clarifying. It helped me feel empowered to DO something about it.”  –School Guidance Counselor

Please contact Heather Wildrick-Holman at [email protected] to schedule a FREE Stewards of Children training at your work, place of worship, children’s school, or for any group of adults on one of the remaining 2014 dates, or contact Heather to schedule on an alternative date. 

Remaining open dates:

May 7th, July 15th, August 16th, August 26th, September 4th, September 13th, September 23rd, October 8th 

HELP MCCOY receive $25. Schedule an Energy Assessment for your home

Organization:  MCCOY   ID #MCOY12122013 (not there’s only one C here!)
Energizing IN Home Energy Assessments can help raise your home’s performance, lower energy bills, improve in home air quality and increase your home’s value. Your energy advisor will install energy efficient CFLs, energy efficient faucet aerators and showerheads, water heater pipe insulation.
Complete the enrollment form and Energizing Indiana will call to schedule your appointment.  This program is funded by utility rates; there are NO FEES to participate. When your assessment is complete, Energizing Indiana will donate $25 to MCCOY!  Enroll online at or call 888.446-7750 (note: click on box to the right; fill out info – last name must be as it appears on your utility bill! (i.e., mine ALL CAPS), and enter JUST the house NUMBER not street.

MCCOY Fundraising Opportunity

MCCOY has two tickets to Black Violin, Sunday May 4, 2014 at 4pm at Warren Performing Arts Center, valued at $50 for the pair.
Black Violin played at the presidential inauguration and were voted among the Top 5 New Acts at Austin’s South By Southwest Music Fest. Classically trained duo Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester’s music blends hip-hop, rock, classical, r&b, and pop influences.  The NYTimes says, “Black Violin works hard, but makes it all look like play…Sometimes they play with the intense seriousness of classical soloists; at others they fiddle as if at a hoedown; at still others they strum the violin and viola like guitars. 
Tickets will go to high offer sent to [email protected] by April 15

March President’s Message

Written by: John Brandon, President of MCCOY, Inc.
“A person’s image of his or her future may be a better predictor of his/her future success than his/her past behavior” is a piece of wisdom that many times we fail to grasp, especially when we come face to face with some of the behavior problems of some youth in our world today.  It is so easy for us adults—and I include myself among the guilty—to attach a label to a young person, slotting them into a certain set of expectations which are usually quite low.  Our classification takes away their opportunity to grow beyond their current behavioral issues and causes us to deny them the opportunity to reach what they are grasping for:  acceptance, belonging, a positive and caring relationship based on trust which can give a young person the courage to believe in themselves.  And without that belief in the goodness of themselves, it WILL be difficult to succeed.  It is the classic definition of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It is time for us to change the future and give every child and youth in our community the supports, the opportunities, the experiences, and the relationships they need to grow into positive, productive, and contributing adults.  We might make excuses—but we have no excuse.  We might say we can’t afford it—but we can’t afford NOT to.  We might say it is an impossible task—but something is only impossible until somebody does it.  There are over 200, 000 reasons in Marion County for us to step up and do what needs to be done.  The question is:  WILL WE?  Please join us in the work of positive youth development; let’s make our community a place where young people believe deeply in themselves and in their futures.