By: Darcey Mitschelen
Indiana’s Region 2 represents the most Northern and central of counties in the state. Each county, (Saint Joseph, Marshall, Fulton, Kosciusko, and Elkhart are as unique as any five counties in the State. From orthopedics to RVs; from higher education to innovation; and from festivals to parks, there truly is something for everyone. And that includes Adult Education opportunities. The 5 adult education programs in the Region offer a range of offerings in response to local needs. Horizon Education (Elkhart), Warsaw AE (Kosciusko), Plymouth AE (Marshal), South Bend AE(St. Joseph), and Elkhart AE (Elkhart) maximize funds to offer academics, training, and social supports to their participants.
As with all adult education programs across the state and the nation, 2020 has brought its challenges and struggles to Region 2 providers. But with that, many lessons have been learned. When asked “What is the Single Most greatest lesson/learning/understanding that you gained this year while navigating COVID”, Region 2 directors offered the following:
- The power of human connection energizes our work (Barb Stith/Horizon Education Alliance).
- The family still ranks #1 as the place to meet needs and find support!! (Steve Fraber/Warsaw AE).
- For both my staff and our students, our Maslow needs shifted; many of us found ourselves back at the bottom of that hierarchy, struggling to find safety, security and toilet paper during a time when the world was hard to assimilate mentally. This meant that as a program our level of support needed to be reframed in order to meet those needs. As a leader, I had to be there for my staff in ways that I hadn’t been before and staff had to replicate that for their students. It was important to step back and readjust all of our goals. (Amanda Russell/South Bend AE).
- At the end of the day, knowing that our students and their families are safe and health is what really matters. We quickly shifted to ensuring that all of our students had access to resources and supports to be well. It was important that they knew we care about their well-being and that they matter to us, beyond Table 4 (Darcey Mitschelen/Elkhart AE).
Indiana’s Region 2 – proving its ability to be adaptive and flexible…set and ready to serve!