Neighborhood Connections - South Meridian Church of God

Your generosity plants gardens, develops skills, and revitalizes neighborhoods.

The people of South Meridian Church of God have made a conscious decision to actively be a conduit for relationships and support in the Avondale neighborhood in the heart of Anderson. Led by Cherilyn Horning, the Community Development Director, South Meridian seeks to embody the principles of asset-based community development, engaging neighbors to identify their dreams and talents. "We ask what they want to do and what their interests and gifts are," Cherilyn explains, emphasizing the foundation of their approach.

One of the most recent projects is the Community Garden. This garden has become a hub of activity, involving seven households participating so far in the project. They will decide together how to utilize the vegetation as it continues to grow. The garden has also become a classroom where children have discovered the joy of planting, nurturing, and witnessing growth firsthand. When asked for thoughts about the garden project, a 10-year child exclaimed, "The garden was great. So many plants!” Another child responded, “My favorite part was shoveling the dirt! The squash are starting to grow.”

“The enthusiasm and energy that they brought to it was just awesome," Cherilyn reflects.

A Community Impact Grant from the Madison County Community Foundation provided funds for the community garden.

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S.T.A.N.D. Students Taking Action and Nurturing Diversity
Your generosity inspires advocacy, awareness, and change.
  • “I literally used to think differently . . .
  • S.T.A.N.D. brought me to discard biases
  • and inspired me to be a better person overall.”
  • -Larissa Follmar, S.T.A.N.D. Treasurer-
  • In October 2023, Kerah Walker, a junior student at Lapel High School, decided to take action to build an environment where all students feel respected and included. Several other students with a similar passion joined her and they began the work of creating a mission statement for a new student club. The result of their efforts is S.T.A.N.D., Students Taking Action and Nurturing Diversity. Walker, S.T.A.N.D.

    President, sent the plan to school administration and it was approved by the school board in February 2024 where several students spoke to the board and advocated for the club. “They were impressed and liked our initiative with everything,” Walker says.

    Since the club’s inception a few short months ago, club attendance has tripled in size and even more students have participated in field trips and educational events. Field trips have included the Diversity Showcase at Butler University and the Women’s Summit at IU Bloomington. The club plans to volunteer at festivals and events that promote pride and diversity awareness. They also would like to provide trainings and guest speakers for both faculty and students regarding implicit bias, racial diversity, and respect.

  • Students have been able to attend events free of charge and obtain supplies and training because of a grant made possible through the Madison County Community Foundation.

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Minority Health Coalition of Madison County

 Your generosity builds kindness, teamwork, and self-worth in the children of Madison County.

“I am strong! I am healthy! I am kind! I am creative! I am brave!”

A group of elementary school children shout powerful words of affirmation over their lives.

“I am ready for the challenge! I can do hard things! I am full of love! I am thankful for the day!”

With each word, the volume, energy, and conviction increases.

“I am Important! I am Enough! I am ME and that’s the best person to be!”

This group of children are led by Avrielle Johnson and her team of volunteers. Johnson is the Event Program Coordinator for the Minority Health Coalition of Madison County (MHCMC). This incredible program of impact, Positive Anderson Childhood Experiences (PACES), provides the opportunity for children to gather after school for soccer and dance and, most importantly, to learn to be kind to themselves, be kind to others, and practice teamwork and positive coping skills.

One young girl entered PACES with some behavioral struggles that often resulted in anger. Throughout the program, she was able to reframe her anxiety through positive affirmations and practical coping strategies. Johnson is grateful that these skills not only bring stability for children presently, but also prepare them for the future and for success in life.IMG 4071 1

A Community Impact Grant from the Madison County Community Foundation provided funding for supplies and extra staff to make this program possible.

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