September Social Justice Calendar 

A carnival for Kenya’s children

“Ken-Ya Help Us?” ask a group of kids with the Global Interfaith Partnership. Their Sept. 6 Kenya Carnival at Second Presbyterian Church promises to give people a painless way to reply in the affirmative.

Raising funds to support Kenya’s orphans and children devastated by HIV is the goal of this youth-led endeavor. Carnival attendees can “knock down pins as a human bowling ball,” climb a rock wall and try out the moonwalk — all for a good cause.

All funds raised will support the Umoja (Unity) Project, a collaboration with schools and churches in Western Kenya. “We’re hoping to receive enough contributions to purchase a basic utility vehicle for the food security program we’re developing in the area,” says Second Presbyterian’s David Berry, pastor in charge of mission and outreach.

“One of the real touching stories,” Berry says, “is a group of five seventh grade girls who decided to work all summer to earn enough money to sponsor the bungee trampoline game on the carnival. They contributed $1,400 they’d earned from babysitting and gardening, because they heard the story of the 13-year-old orphan taking care of her siblings and wanted to support her.”

The carnival is from 2-6 p.m. Saturday (rain date Sunday) at Second Presbyterian, 7700 N. Meridian St.

More information: and

Walking for survivors

The lonely journey of survivors of sexual violence is being mirrored this month in one woman’s solitary walk across the Hoosier state. Anita Carpenter, CEO of the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault, will start her Walk for Survivors Friday in Richmond, ending 10 days later in Terre Haute.

Carpenter is traveling on foot, alone, for 150 miles, hoping to raise awareness of the underreported issue, as well as funds. “Many times the victims go through this process of healing all by themselves,” she says, “because they’ve never told anyone. They’ve never reported [the crime] to law enforcement, and they suffer in silence.”

One in seven women, one in four girls, one in six boys and one in 12 men will be sexually assaulted during their lifetimes, according to Carpenter. INCASA is a statewide resource for advocacy, training and support on the issue of sexual violence, with a Choose Respect campaign teaching young people about healthy relationships.

“I am hopeful,” Carpenter says. “I don’t think we’ll see an end to sexual violence, but I think we can change some attitudes and that’s a huge part of the battle.”

To donate in support of this walk, go to More information: or 800-691-2272.

Beyond a car-centric culture

Indiana’s transportation systems are out of balance, to the detriment of public health. That’s the premise of the Sept. 8 Health By Design Conference, Balanced Transportation for Healthier Communities, taking place at the Hyatt Regency.

Organizer Kim Irwin of Health by Design says that “balanced transportation” is another term for alternative transportation, or “getting away from the idea of only using a car for transport.”

The concept of balance also refers to funding. “There is a lot of disparity in terms of funding. The vast number of funds are spent on roads,” she notes. Americans’ car-centric culture has wreaked havoc on the environment as well as individual health. One conference session will detail the economic costs of physical inactivity, addressing this issue.

Irwin hopes that community advocates, public health officials, urban planners and designers, park officials and policymakers will be in attendance.

Appropriately enough, the day concludes with a biking and walking tour of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

For more on the Health by Design conference, go to

Preparing for Election Day

With vast numbers of newly registered voters, a new voter ID law on the books and a historic national election approaching, the League of Women Voters of Indianapolis is stepping up its outreach efforts.

At several sessions planned at area library branches this fall, LWV Indy will offer free voter education classes. According to LWV Indy board member Erin Kelley, voter registration efforts are standard fare for the league, but 2008 marks its first large-scale education campaign. “This is the first time we’ve done a concerted effort,” she says. “We potentially have large numbers of voters coming to the polls who haven’t voted before. We want to help them understand the process.”

The programs will cover the ins and outs of voter registration, especially prior to the Oct. 6 deadline. Participants will learn how to prepare for Election Day, including compliance with the voter ID law.

In addition to the classes, two publications are available from the LWV Indy’s Web site,, or by calling 317-767-4187 (while supplies last). Voting in Marion County provides an overview of voter registration and what to expect on Election Day. The 2008 Executive & Legislative Directory of Government Officials for Indianapolis/Marion County contains a listing of current national, state and local officials.

Voter education programs will take place on the following days and times:

Franklin Road Branch Library
Sept. 13 at 10:30 a.m.

Irvington Branch Library
Sept. 18 at 6:30 p.m.

Wayne Branch Library
Sept. 25 at 6:30 p.m.

Pike Branch Library
Oct. 4 at 11 a.m.

Eagle Branch Library
Oct. 18 at 2 p.m.

Glendale Branch Library
Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.

West Indianapolis Branch Library
Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m.

Central Library
Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.

More information: 317-767-4187 or


Eastside Health Fair offers free screenings

A few years ago, several agencies offered annual health fairs on the Eastside. When the organizations decided to team up three years ago, according to Wishard Health Service’s Todd Harper, the resulting Community Day drew some 600 people to the free health screenings and family entertainment.

This year’s Community Day is from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 13 at Floro Torrence IPS School 83, 5050 E. 42nd St. While screenings are serious fare, the event also features a variety show. “We’re soliciting local talent from music to comedy acts to participate in the Community Day event,” Harper says. IU School of Medicine medical students have organized a kids’ carnival complete with “bouncy house.” Door prizes and give-aways round out the festivities.

“It really ties the whole Eastside community, Devington/Forest Manor area together,” Harper says.

The event is hosted by Forest Manor Community Health Center and North Arlington Community Health Center, both part of Wishard, as well as IPS School 83 and the Devington Communities Association.

Community members can have free screenings for cholesterol, diabetes, lead, skin cancer, blood pressure, HIV and depression, among other things.

More information on the health screenings can be obtained by calling 317-226-4283.

Uniting to end abuse

The Latino Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence statewide conference this year brings the uplifting messages of best-selling author Dave Pelzer and motivational speaker Betty Ramirez Swinners.

Affecting Change: Many Voices, One Vision will draw some 500 people from across Indiana and adjoining states Sept. 18 to the Sheraton Hotel downtown. Pelzer, author of A Child Called It and recipient of numerous national honors for his life of service, will tell his personal story of overcoming the abuse of his childhood. Also an abuse survivor, Swinners was recently named one of Texas’ most influential women. She will share her experience of moving from survival to success.

According to program coordinator Rocio Bonilla, both Latino and non-Latino service providers are invited, along with nurses, sheriff departments, victim advocates, health care providers, school officials and others interested in the issue of domestic and sexual violence.

“We welcome anybody that wants to help us unite our voices to end domestic and sexual violence,” Bonilla says.

For more information, go to

Raising funds to address dyslexia

Dyslexia Institute of Indiana’s Kristin Baxter describes the ailment as a “neurological glitch” that impairs reading ability. This fall several fund raisers will seek support for the institute, which offers scientifically-based, customized instruction to “rewire the brain.”

Sept. 13, artist/philanthropist Nancy Noel will donate 20 percent of sales to DII from The Sanctuary, 75 N. Main St., Zionsville, from 10 a.m.-noon. A lunch afterward also benefits the institute. RSVP by Sept. 4 to 317-545-5451, ext. 225 or

A 2008 Indianapolis Monthly Dream Home Patrons’ Preview Party will benefit DII Oct. 4 at Hampton Cove, Geist Reservoir. Also at the Dream Home, an Oct. 9 VIP tour with the designers is planned, proceeds going to the institute. RSVP for the Dream Home events at 317-545-5451, ext. 226 or

Dyslexia affects upwards of 15 percent of the population, including sufferers of both sexes and all races, ages and circumstances. DII provides tutoring, a day camp and school programs to assist dyslexics. Financial aid is available for tutoring and the camp, and the school programs are free to any qualifying student, with services covered by grants and school budgets.

Go to for more information.

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