County youth come together to try to make a difference for the community PDF Print E-mail

The youth of Washington County want to make a difference and they are well on their way.


On Dec. 11, eight The Leadership Project students from Eastern High School made presentations to over 30 community members, parents, students, and school faculty members at the Awareness Washington County building.

For a little over 45 minutes, the teens shared their ideas with the group for making Washington County better.  They introduced:

a Greenway project that would stretch throughout the county

a school safety initiative that includes a sidewalk connecting Eastern High School and Highway 60

a community garden idea

concepts for developing Washington County farmers markets

summer family movie nights

developing a coffee co-op as a school-business venture

and introduced the need for appropriate housing for 20-something professionals returning to the county after obtaining their education.

“I think it is a great opportunity for us to enhance our community and to make it a place where youth want to come back to live,” said Shelby Lee, senior.  “I really enjoy working on the initiatives and I am excited to see them implemented.”

Students shared examples of communities the size of Salem where all of these things have been created and/or developed.  They described their passion for the projects and improving the quality of life for Washington Countians.  They also discussed how much they care about their community and want to be a part of it, want it to adapt so they are able to return to it, and cherish the kindness, support and general small town love demonstrated by its residents.

“I was so proud of them,” said Kate Jones, sponsor.  “They did such a great job presenting, and it was easy to see their passion for the project.”

Following the presentations, students remained available for another hour, in a gallery setting, for guests to visit the project areas where they felt they could offer the most in comments, suggestions, concerns, and help.

The students will take this feedback and develop a comprehensive five-year plan to accomplish their goals.  The plan will include how they can make the projects happen and how they can obtain the financial backing to see them completed.

Their plan will be presented to the state in the spring.

This project began this fall when The Leadership Project was one of five groups chosen throughout the state to participate in the youth-centered My Community My Vision project.  MCMV was developed by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority and Ball State University and supported by Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann to encourage youth to make a difference in their communities.

If anyone is interesting in more information on any of the projects, they can visit the My Community My Vision website at  Anyone who has questions, would like to get on the email update list, or would like to get involved in the project can contact Kate Jones, school counselor at Eastern High School and sponsor of The Leadership Project, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 812-967-3931 ext. 5766.