Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — The little blue house on Kokomo's north side appears to be just an average "flip."

Team Flipsters of Leadership Kokomo are Josh Shannonhouse, left; Patty Pavey, Jan Halperin, and Karen McCoy.Team Flipsters of Leadership Kokomo are Josh Shannonhouse, left; Patty Pavey, Jan Halperin, and Karen McCoy. 

However, when this house has been renovated, it won't make money for one person — it will become affordable housing for a local family, and fund job training for area teens.

Jan Halperin, Indiana University Kokomo's vice chancellor for university advancement, is part of the team preparing the house for sale, as part of her team's project for Leadership Kokomo.

"On our campus, community service is part of our mission, starting with our chancellor," said Halperin. "I'm pleased to work on this project, one that will keep on giving."

Leadership Kokomo is a nine-month leadership development program, which brings together existing and emerging community leaders, to strengthen their skills and develop community awareness. More than a dozen IU Kokomo faculty, staff, and administrators have graduated from the program.

Participants work in teams to develop, fund, and implement a project, benefitting a local non-profit organization. Halperin's team, which also includes Karen McCoy, Chamber manager for the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance; Patty Pavey, owner of Today's The Day Coaching & Hypnosis; and Josh Shannonhouse, principal of Sequel Motion, a local IT management service, are landscaping and painting a home for Advantage Housing.

The housing program, an outreach program of Maple Grove Church, buys homes and renovates them to rent or sell to people who otherwise have trouble getting a home. It works closely with the Kokomo Rescue Mission and the Family Service Association Domestic Violence Shelter, potentially selling or renting homes to those organizations' clients. Proceeds from the sale of the house Halperin's team is working on will benefit job-training programs for students at The Crossing, a local alternative school.

"Our job is to provide curb appeal for when we sell the house," Halperin said, adding that they had to raise money or donations of supplies, as fundraising skills are part of what the program develops.

All four have worked Saturdays since late May, with plans to be done by August 1. They've cleaned trash and debris from the yard, planted flowers, plants, and shrubbery, painted the house, and installed a rail on the front porch, among other projects. Halperin was surprised to enjoy the physical labor involved.

"It's fulfilling to take on a big project like this, and see it through from beginning to end," she said.

Pavey said Leadership Kokomo has helped her "develop an appreciation for all the good things that happen in Kokomo." McCoy added that it teaches participants to work with new people, and introduces them to civic leaders and those in not-for-profit organizations.

"We want to give back as business professionals," McCoy said. "This helps us learn how to do that effectively."

For Halperin, who became vice chancellor in August 2013, it's provided an in-depth introduction to her new community.

"It's given me exposure to the infrastructure of Kokomo, and an idea of how local organizations work," she said. "It's an opportunity to meet people from all different areas, and to find ways I can contribute. It's important for IU Kokomo that we reach out beyond our campus, and serve our community."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.