Everyday Champion: Carlos Trincado

This story is a part of our Everyday Champions series. Helping youth succeed takes commitment and action from our whole community. Everyday Champions are people who are committed and who act in small and big ways to support youth in central Indiana. Do you know someone who you think would make a great Champion for Youth? Click here to get started.

As an IMPD Officer, Carlos Trincado began to see a need in the community. Schools needed additional help dealing with behavioral and low-school performance issues. And students needed extra help with academics and finding outlets to reduce stress. So Officer Trincado developed B.R.I.D.G.E. (Behavior, Responsibility, Integrity, Discipline, Guidance, Education). The program is one of the only support and prevention approaches of its kind in the metropolitan Indianapolis area.

During each nine-week session, students meet three times a week for academic tutoring, physical activity and speaker presentations for students. Additionally, there’s a weekly parents group and two-hour spiritual growth session for the whole family, which includes a class for parents in parental skills. With this, B.R.I.D.G.E. participants can develop lifelong wellness habits.

The program operates at NO COST to families. Teachers and staff members are volunteers.

What is your profession or vocation?

Police Officer

How are you an Everyday Champion for Youth?
I worked very close with public schools and teen students, assisting the school system and parents with their children. As the Latino affairs officer for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, I try to be a role model for young students; I focus a good portion of my time with the Latino youth at-risk.

I developed a teen crime prevention program over a year ago. I meet with the students three times per week and I meet with their parents one day per week as well. We work with the students to instill a sense of pride and accomplishment by teaching them a series of good values. Through every contact with the children in the schools or the street, I yearn to be a positive experience for the youth.

What impact do you hope to make on youth?

The impact I hope to have on the children, regardless of what the choices in their lives may be, is to remember to be responsible, positive, trustworthy and serious about it and honest with others and with themselves. I wish that some of them will be inspired to follow my steps in what I do in my professional life.

What’s the one thing that you wish an adult had told you when you were a young person?

Relationships in life are the most important things and should be the focus. Nothing else will fulfill a human being as much as the relationships we develop with other people. Accomplishment in life is measure by the true relationships you can build—family, friends and neighbors. A relationship is what makes you a reach person, not the money you make.

What do you want to do next to support youth?

I would like to expand B.R.I.D.G.E. teen crime prevention program throughout all Marion county schools. This is a children support project and parent-oriented program. I know it can benefit students, parents, school systems and the neighborhoods were we live. Teens and their parents can start building relationships with role models for the youth, and the community can be involved in meaningful relationships with children.

Everyday Champion: Melissa Webber

This story is a part of our Everyday Champions series. Helping youth succeed takes commitment and action from our whole community. Everyday Champions are people who are committed and who act in small and big ways to support youth in central Indiana. Do you know someone who you think would make a great Champion for Youth? Click here to get started.

Everyday Champion Melissa Webber is a tireless advocate for the youth in her care, an excellent collaborator and a supportive mentor to her staff. As Supervisor and Case Manager with Interact Family Services, a therapeutic foster care agency, Melissa feels that she was put on earth to do the work she does, and she lives it twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Melissa is always looking out for the children’s best interests even if that means she loses sleep several nights in a row,” says Jennifer Troesch, Interact Case Manager. “As a supervisor, Melissa is very supportive. She is full of innovative ideas on how to deal with difficult situations in a therapeutic setting. Melissa attends any type of meeting where she is able to find outside sources that may assist the children in our care and she is diligent about providing this information to the case managers and foster families of Interact.”

Jennifer recounted the following story of Melissa’s skill in resolving issues and determination to ensure that children in Central Indiana have a place to call home.

Several weeks ago, Melissa received a call at 11:30pm on a Saturday for an emergency placement of an Autistic child who had been physically abused and was at a local hospital. Melissa immediately found a home for this child and did not hesitate to transport this child from the hospital to a foster home in Anderson, IN.

Melissa stayed at the foster home until the child and family were stable and she did not return to her own home until 4:00am. She was then on the phone with the foster family at 7:00am Sunday morning assisting them with how to handle specific needs of a child with Autism. For the following two days, Melissa was on the phone with the family every few hours assisting them with the difficulties they were having. She then was able to identify another home that had specific training with children with Autism.

What is your profession or vocation?
I work as the Supervisor and carry a caseload as a Case Manager with Interact Family Services, a Therapeutic Foster Care Agency. I have worked with both children and adolescents for 20 years, who have had mental health issues, developmental disabilities; among other problems.

I believe as a nation all adults must work to help the youth in our communities, because one day they will be the ones we as aging adults will look to for making the decisions that will impact our society.

I try to spread the word to not only the people in our field, but to everyone I meet, that it is their responsibility to reach out to our youth and in any way they can help make a positive impact on at least one young person they know.

How are you an Everyday Champion for Youth?

This is embarrassing! I have been working with youth for so long that I know it was what I was put on this earth to do. I try every day to talk to someone about their role as an adult to be a positive influence in a youths’ life.

It does not matter if it is someone I am working with professionally or someone I meet at the grocery store; I always try to work in a conversation how adults must stop complaining about the problems with the young people these days and start becoming a part of the solution; even if that means just sending a positive message to the young people in their extended family.

What impact do you hope to make on youth?

I want all the youth in our community to understand that they ARE the future of this country; no matter what they decide to do with the rest of their lives that they need to lead the way.

I also want to make the youth I work with understand that even though their lives to this point have been a real challenge that is not a barrier to becoming a responsible and productive member of this country. I always let the youth I work with, who constantly complain about how unfair life has been to them so far; that while I sympathize for what they have been through; I will not accept that as an excuse for not trying to reach their goals and dreams.

What’s one thing that you wish an adult had told you when you were a young person?
That life is not always fair; but that everyone on this earth carries their own burdens. And, even though you may not readily see another person’s problems, we all face challenges and must never use those challenges to stop dreaming and trying to reach our goals.

What do you want to do next to support youth?

At this time; I want to continue to help the youth caught in the foster care system to find permanency in their lives. I also want to help change the view of the general population that we as adults are responsible for how the next generation goes on to lead this world.

Everyday Champion: Nate Faris

This story is a part of our Everyday Champions series. Helping youth succeed takes commitment and action from our whole community. Everyday Champions are people who are committed and who act in small and big ways to support youth in central Indiana. Do you know someone who you think would make a great Champion for Youth? Click here to get started.

Everyday Champion Nate Faris, Certified Arborist and Youth Tree Team Director at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB), has developed a truly outstanding Youth Tree Team, an innovative program that combines environmental improvement efforts with workforce skills development. Youth work three days a week to water, mulch and prune trees planted by KIB volunteers around the city. They spend the fourth day on some enrichment activity, from visiting college campuses, meeting landscape professionals, learning how to open a bank account or rafting down the White River.

“With a background in both scouting and youth ministry, he knows well what motivates teenagers and is neat to watch in his role,” says Linda Broadfoot, KIB Vice President of Development and Public Relations.

According to Linda, the following story is just one example of the impact that Nate and the Youth Tree Team have had on our community.

As a high school freshmen, Jake had gotten into some disciplinary problems, and his future prospects looked dim. Jake’s teacher handed him a flier about the Youth Tree Team. Although he was worried that trouble he had gotten into would prevent him from being considered, Jake was accepted. He spent the summer watering, pruning, mulching and staking newly-planted trees and getting paid for his meaningful work to help our environment. Jake came back to KIB each summer in high school. After 3 years as a member, Jake became a Leader in summer 2009. He served as a guide and role model to his teammates, and an inspiration to everyone at KIB. Jake’s a freshman again, in Landscape Architecture at Purdue. Jake credits Nate and the Youth Tree Team with showing him a path where that interest could lead to a career.

What is your profession or vocation?
I am a Certified Arborist and I direct the Youth Tree Team program at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. I hire high school youth to work in crews to water and care for newly planted NeighborWoods trees in Marion County, Indiana.

How are you an Everyday Champion for Youth?
I think I am a champion for youth by both setting clear boundaries with youth and, at the same time, befriending them. I aim to make good use of the creative tension between being a friend of youth and being an employer of youth. Such a situation allows for youth to feel both valued for who they are as well as invested in and responsible for their crew’s work, and the work of the Youth Tree Team program in general.

What impact do you hope to make on youth?
I hope to give high schoolers a great first job that gives them life skills (punctuality, responsibility, teamwork, leadership), job skills (proper tree and plant care), connections to local green-collar job (landscape architecture, tree care), and experience with the environment (rafting on the White River, learning how to identify tree species).

What’s one thing that you wish an adult had told you when you were a young person?
I value the work you are doing, and you are on the right track.

What do you want to do next to support youth?
I want to make connections with local green-collar professionals–landscape architects, tree care specialists, etc.–in order to connect youth with meaningful jobs when they have graduated from our program.

Do You Know Someone Making a Difference in the Lives of Central Indiana Youth?

Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY) has announced a new awards program that promotes the work of youth development professionals. The Champions for Youth Awards recognize youth workers who have made a significant impact in the lives of young people.

The Champions for Youth Awards are designed to specifically honor excellence and impact from youth workers – those who show a unique and authentic commitment to supporting young people of any age. Youth development professionals like these approach their work in a number of ways, but have one thing in common: they combine high expectations with high levels of support to help young people discover success.

Through a competitive process, MCCOY is awarding $300 to the winning Champion and $200 to her or his organization, and two $100 awards for second and third places. The community decides; online voting begins next fall, but nominations begin now.

Do you know someone who you think would make a great Champion for Youth? Click here to get started.

Everyday Champion: Lisa Curran

This story is a part of our Everyday Champions series. Helping youth succeed takes commitment and action from our whole community. Everyday Champions are people who are committed and who act in small and big ways to support youth in central Indiana. Do you know someone who you think would make a great Champion for Youth? Click here to get started.

From work to home, Lisa Curran has a true passion for youth and their needs. As Senior and Youth Program Coordinator, she runs the afterschool, summer camp and Senior programs for the Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFE). Additionally, Lisa has fostered and adopted several children in her own home, many of whom have special needs.

“She treats the youth that we serve as her own,” says CAFE Executive Director Melissa Drew. “She is committed, compassionate and understanding. I am always amazed by her spirit for the work she does.”

How are you an Everyday Champion for Youth?
This is a difficult question to answer as I simply do everyday what my passion is and that is to work to serve the best interests of children. I started as a teenager providing free child care to a parent support group in the area I lived. I babysat every chance I had and knew that someday I would foster/adopt and work with children in whatever avenue I could find. I have been blessed to do this my whole adult life!

Through group home care, fostering, adopting, being a court appointed advocate volunteer, and now in my profession as a Youth Program coordinator, I embrace each day as an opportunity to make a difference in the life of the children I encounter. Each child has a purpose…each child has their own special gifts and talents and it is a privilege to help them discover their value and pursue their purpose.

What impact do you hope to make on youth?
I always make it a goal of mine that each child leave feeling better, stronger, more courageous having spent time together. I want them to know that there truly are limitless possibilities no matter their circumstance and that there are adults who can be trusted, who will encourage and not tear down, who will help and not hurt. I want to teach them to reach out and utilize the resources that are available to them.

What’s one thing that you wish an adult had told you when you were a young person?
That I could do anything that I actively pursued! That there were opportunities waiting to be discovered and shared!

What do you want to do next to support youth?
I want to continue to work in our after school program establishing relationships with the children entrusted to our care, supporting each individual child’s academic endeavors. Through our summer camp program, I want to continue to provide educational and recreational memories for a lifetime. Also, I would like to continue to establish programming that supports the families of the children we serve to be the best they can be as parents/caregivers and citizens in the community that they live.

Everyday Champion: Luis Morales

This story is a part of our Everyday Champions series. Helping youth succeed takes commitment and action from our whole community. Everyday Champions are people who are committed and who act in small and big ways to support youth in central Indiana. Do you know someone who you think would make a great Champion for Youth? Click here to get started.

Born and raised in Indianapolis, Louis Morales is dedicated to helping students succeed in school and beyond. “I am really pushing students to pursue education and become successful citizens,” says this teacher and our featured Everyday Champion.

Louis’ impact on youth extends outside of the classroom. As head varsity coach for the Northwest High School soccer team, Louis organized the first soccer league in IPS. He has been a mentor to many minority and at-risk students. He is married and the proud father of two children.

What is your profession or vocation?
I am a teacher and head coach for soccer at Northwest High School.


How are you an Everyday Champion for Youth?

I have the opportunity to guide our youth through education. It also allows me to help with everyday decisions and daily problems.

What impact do you hope to make on youth?
I hope to help our youth realize their dreams through education. I want to empower them to work hard and dream for “the bigger picture” in their lives.

What’s the one thing that you wish an adult had told you when you were a young person?
I have been fortunate to have loving parents and mentors in my life. I feel that my life experiences have molded me to become who I am. I can only think that patience is a quality that is important in making decisions.

What do you want to do next to support youth?
I would like to create more opportunities to help our Latino youth further their education. I also hope to work hard to become a model for our youth through sport and education.

Everyday Champion: Wanda Spann Roddy

This story is a part of our Everyday Champions series. Helping youth succeed takes commitment and action from our whole community. Everyday Champions are people who are committed and who act in small and big ways to support youth in central Indiana. Do you know someone who you think would make a great Champion for Youth? Click here to get started.

While the community has focused on reducing teen pregnancy, the fact remains that many teens in our community do get pregnant. Future Promises educates and advocates for pregnant and parenting teens, improving their health and life outcomes.

What is your profession or vocation? By education, I am a pediatric/adolescent nurse practitioner. After many years being a nurse, then becoming a nurse practitioner, I have had the great opportunity to take the knowledge and experience and my love for adolescent reproductive health to develop a comprehensive program for pregnant and parenting teens called “Future Promises – A Program for pregnant and parenting teens”.

How are you an Everyday Champion for Youth?
While teen pregnancy prevention advocates continue to place much needed attention on reducing teen pregnancy and teen birth rates, little emphasis has been placed on providing services for teens that are already pregnant and/or who have become parents. In an effort to address this gap, everyday I work hard at improving services, educating and advocating for the special needs of pregnant and parenting teens in order to improve their health and life outcomes and those of their children.

What impact do you hope to make on youth?

I hope that the work that I do, the young lives that I touch – even just everyday – demonstrates to youth that there are adults in this world that sees a promising future for them and will advocate and support them, either directly or indirectly, as they work to reach their dreams and their goals.

What’s the one thing that you wish an adult had told you when you were a young person? As I recall, when I was younger, I surrounded myself with positive people that gave me a lot of good advise and support. So I don’t know of any one thing that I wished an adult had told me. However, the two things that was said to me that I have never forgotten and continues to nudge me are

  • An 8th grade English teacher said – “You will never be good in English – not like your sister”
  • The Nursing School Dean told me that “… maybe you should change your major because you aren’t going to make it through nursing school or be a good nurse”.
  • It’s a good thing that I didn’t take to heart either of those negative comments –thanks to the supportive people around me and my courage and determination to prove them wrong. I frequently write long papers – mostly grants and make many public presentations with excellent feedback. I successfully graduated from nursing school, became a great nurse, received a graduate nursing degree with honors and have won awards for the work that I do. But yet those comments still haunt me 30 to 35 years later. Adults never know the impact of what they say to young people – so it should always be positive and show support.

    What do you want to do next to support youth?

    As I prepare for my next phase of life – retirement – I hope to spend these next few years preparing myself to be able to train others on developing youth programs that work. I have learned a lot over the past 30 years on youth development and program development. I have had lots of success developing a wide range of youth programs, particularly the “Future Promises Program” and I want to give young professionals who desire to work with youth, the skills and training that I have acquired that has made a difference in the lives of youth.

    Everyday Champion: Rebekah Mazanowski

    This story is a part of our Everyday Champions series. Helping youth succeed takes commitment and action from our whole community. Everyday Champions are people who are committed and who act in small and big ways to support youth in central Indiana. Do you know someone who you think would make a great Champion for Youth? Click here to get started.

    We’re excited to feature Rebekah Mazanowski in this edition of Everyday Champions. Rebekah, a Parent Liaison at Howe Community High School, is also the sister of Natalie Mazanowski, MCCOY’s Communications Director. Rebekah appreciates the role that her parents and the community have had in helping her develop into the person she is today. Growing up in a large family, she understands that parents and families need the support of a strong and healthy community.

    What is your profession or vocation?

    I am a 2007 graduate of IUPUI with a degree in Sociology. I am currently the Parent Liaison for IPS school 420; Thomas Carr Howe Community High School. My job is to communicate with parents at home and within the school. I focus on increasing parent involvement in order to improve the chance of student success.

    How are you an everyday Champion for Youth?
    Working in a school and interacting on a daily basis with kids and teens enables me to visualize the things that are most beneficial to high school students today. Participation in sports and school activities inevitably gives kids a sense of purpose and accomplishment. I organize activities and club opportunities for the students. Additionally, parent involvement is essential to a child’s success. I facilitate workshops within the school strictly for parents. The workshops address ways for parents to help their child or they provide information and resources for parents to incorporate into their parenting role.

    What impact do you hope to make on youth?
    I hope to impact the students through parent involvement and/or parent interest in the child. Educating parents will directly effect youth. The more I can help a parent by providing knowledge and resources, the better off a child will be.

    What is one thing you wish an adult had told you when you were a young person?
    I think so much about life is figuring it out on your own, but I think it is good to tell young people to be explorative, try new things and venture out of comfort zones when thinking about future goals and educational plans. Think big and plan accordingly.

    What do you want to do next to support youth?
    I will continue my work with the Indianapolis Public School system. I host family reading nights every month at the school. I have noticed in the past that kids really enjoy discussing their most current read, whether it is for school or for pleasure. I would like to get some type of book club going where kids are free to read and discuss the books that they enjoy.

    Everyday Champion: Trevor Holloway

    This story is a part of our Everyday Champions series. Helping youth succeed takes commitment and action from our whole community. Everyday Champions are people who are committed and who act in small and big ways to support youth in central Indiana. Do you know someone who you think would make a great Champion for Youth? Click here to get started.

    We’re thrilled to feature Trevor Holloway in this edition of Everyday Champions. Trevor, a recent graduate of North Central High School, is also a MCCOY Board Member. This summer, in addition to getting ready to head off to college in Bloomington, Trevor has been assisting MCCOY staff with the upcoming Summit for Student Success. He’s been a joy to have in the office, not only for his remarkable skills and fun personality, but also for his engagement and excitement for youth development.

    What is your profession or vocation?
    I’m a recent graduate of North Central High School and about to start my first year at the Kelley School of Business of Indiana University Bloomington. As a direct admit, I plan to study Public Policy Analysis and International Business. I plan to be a millionaire by age 27.

    How are you an Everyday Champion for Youth?
    I have been involved with MCCOY since my sophomore year of high school. I am a board member and serve on various committees. This summer I am volunteering at MCCOY helping out with various tasks. I also do some work with the JCC Teen House and David Waldman. It’s a good gig. Last summer I traveled between community centers and spoke to at-risk youth about life skills and values.

    What impact do you hope to make on youth?
    I don’t know if I’m really focused on one specific endeavor. I just understand the struggle that youth go through. No matter what background, being a youth is challenging and when I help by providing resources to make life easier for youth and their families, it is one of the most fulfilling things.

    What’s one thing that you wish an adult had told you when you were a young person?
    Hah. I am still young. I think I have had adults tell me plenty of good things but it was usually more of a challenge to get me to listen to what they were saying. Something that I wish an adult had told me and that I had listened to would be to think long-term.

    What do you want to do next to support youth?
    Well I plan to continue to work with MCCOY in some capacity even when I’m away at IU. But short-term I will continue to help out MCCOY staff members around the office, and long-term I will be the biggest philanthropist in the USA.

    Everyday Champion: Chad Richards

    This is the first in our new series, Everyday Champions. Helping youth succeed takes commitment and action from our whole community. Everyday Champions are people who are committed and who act in small and big ways to support youth in central Indiana. Find out more ways you can be a champion through our Community Compact for Youth.

    Our first Everyday Champion is Chad Richards, an Account Manager at Firebelly Marketing. Leveraging his expertise as a marketing professional, Chad volunteers with youth and with organizations that support youth. In addition to his classroom volunteerism described below, Chad also contributed his internet marketing expertise at MCCOY’s Social Media Marketing for Nonprofits training. He was also recently asked to join the Board of Directors of IndyDads.

    How are you an Everyday Champion for Youth?
    I originally went in to Mrs. Russo’s business class at Westfield High School to talk to them about what I do, how I got here, Internet/social media marketing strategy, and to answer their questions. I was then invited back to help the students develop marketing campaigns for an end of the year project in which they each had to create a “healthy burger” and the marketing materials that would be used to promote said burger in restaurants.

    What impact do you hope to make on youth?
    Ha-ha. I don’t know how much of an impact I’ve made… or will make. I enjoying working with young people. Their optimism is inspiring. I just want to encourage them and help them understand how to make themselves and their dreams more “marketable” if you will.

    What’s one thing that you wish an adult had told you when you were a young person?
    I was lucky. My parents were always incredibly supportive of me. They knew “not all who wander are lost.” I was a late bloomer and needed time to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with myself. I tried a lot of different things and finally found my place at 28. I wish more adults would tell young people “You don’t have to have it all figured out by 18. Everyone’s timeline is different. A destination can be reached from many different paths.”

    What do you want to do next to support youth?
    Well I hope to return to Mrs. Russo’s class in the Fall. She’s doing amazing things with her students. I was also recently invited to join the Dads Inc. Board of Directors. The mission of Dads Inc. is to provide support and education for fathers in order for them to develop healthy relationships and involvement with their children.