Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.
Following the Indiana Bicentennial Commission's passing of the first resolution on children in summer of 2015, activity began in earnest. In total, 268 projects centered on youth were endorsed as official Legacy Projects. Hundreds more had children as one of its main audiences.
Staff met with every State Agency with children and their needs within its purview. The Commission issued a second resolution stressing the opportunity for Indiana to provide for its children in the bicentennial year.
Op-Ed pieces and PSAs were created to keep this initiative front and center in marketing the Bicentennial.
“Celebrate history. Ignite the Future.”
This slogan of the Indiana bicentennial captures the spirit of Indiana’s 200th birthday. The “celebrating history” piece is self-explanatory. But how do we ignite the future of Indiana? How do we make the next 100 years the best Hoosier century ever?
We believe the real legacy of the bicentennial starts with Indiana’s children and working to ensure their lives are long and prosperous. This purpose forms the premise of a resolution adopted last summer by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission.
The resolution places special emphasis on “enhancing the well-being and health of children.” It expresses the aim “that the Indiana Bicentennial babies born in 2016 will grow and thrive better than any generation before theirs.” And it calls upon all Indiana citizens to join the cause.
As of January 2016, nearly 150 of the more than 850 community projects in communities statewide are focused on children. Consider three examples:
• In Wayne County, the Children of Indiana Nature Park is being created as a project of the Bicentennial Nature Trust. Cope Environmental Center and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources are purchasing a 28-acre piece of land adjacent to 103 acres already owned by Cope. Children, families and schools will be encouraged to visit the park and participate in Cope’s interactive learning activities. What makes this park so special is that The Nature Conservancy is developing a website providing every Indiana school-age child in grades K-12 the opportunity to claim an honorary deed to a piece of land in the park. Through this website, students will “virtually visit” their unique locations. The website will also feature educational content to assist teachers with nature-based education. In addition, the Cope Environmental Center has created a Bicentennial Nature Center Network that so far includes 16 nature centers statewide participating in environmental and child-focused bicentennial celebrations.
• Greene County General Hospital is providing a “Sweet Dreams Baby Bundle” for every new mom who meets certain prenatal care criteria. The “bundles” are large, heavy-duty decorated boxes lined with water-proof mattresses, covers and sheets designed to promote safe sleep for new infants. Other items in the boxes include onesies, diapers, blankets and educational materials covering tobacco cessation and safe sleep practices. The program is intended to help promote higher survival rates and better health among infants.
• Boone County Senior Services and its volunteers are knitting baby caps for all the approximately 500 babies projected to be born at the Witham Memorial Hospital in Lebanon in 2016. The senior-citizen agency has partnered with a local yarn shop to purchase the needed items to make the caps, including a badge emblazoned with the bicentennial year. A grant from Witham covered the cost of supplies.
Last month, on Statehood Day, Gov. Mike Pence spoke to hundreds of fourth-graders gathered in the state capitol. He expressed his love of history and the opportunities to look back on two centuries of achievements. Then, looking out at the students, the governor said, “This generation of Hoosiers will ensure that our third century will be greater still than the first two.”
What is your community doing to help Indiana’s next generation? Your employer? Your church or social organization? Now is the time to seek answers to these questions and to get involved to help create an enduring legacy of the Indiana bicentennial.