By Brenda L. Holmes
DANVILLE — More than 120 volunteers were put to work Friday as part of the annual Day of Caring organized by the United Way of Central Indiana.
Families, businesses, civic groups, and individuals came together to make a difference in the community. Several projects took place in and around Hendricks County. Two of them in Danville helped Sheltering Wings, a domestic violence shelter, and Head Start, a preschool for low income families.
Shane Alexander from Vectren helped to organize projects at Head Start in Danville, Hendricks Regional Health YMCA in Avon, and the Boone County Senior Center in Lebanon.
At Head Start, Vectren partnered with CASE, a contractor out of Taylorsville, to help with a resurfacing and green space project. Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to 5 from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development.
“CASE is one of our contractors and they are very community minded,” Alexander said. “We’ll have about 25 people at this project today between the Vectren and CASE people.”
The workers did a resurfacing project in the playground — getting it ready for a trike path.
“We have a Girl Scout that will be painting it,” said Dedee Rhea, Head Start site manager. “We’re really excited about today for a number of reasons.”
In the center’s parking lot, volunteers cut in new green spaces.
“We’ll be planting trees,” Rhea said. “They’ll be putting rocks in and top soil — getting it ready for planting.”
The green spaces will be used as a memorial garden in honor of Diane Smeelink. She had been a teacher and then the Head Start site manager.
“She worked for Head Start from 1987 until her death in 2010,” Rhea said. “She was a dedicated and loved teacher, supervisor, mentor, and friend. She’s still missed by all the staff who had the privilege of working with her.”
Vectren also recently pitched in on another United Way project with two other energy providers, Duke Energy and Hendricks County Cooperative, to deliver Backpack Attack donations.
About 12 volunteers, or 10 percent of the workforce at Theoris, helped with general cleaning and yard work at Sheltering Wings. The business had been involved with the United Way and Day of Caring in the past but this was the first time the employees were introduced to the shelter and its mission.
“Our company has a very compassionate culture,” said Dave Lovell, vice president of business development for Theoris. “We have a lot of people who are involved in different charity work. We love to give back to the community.”
Theoris is a 30 year old company at Keystone Crossing in Indianapolis. The company is a full lifecycle IT professional services and software firm offering strategic, project, and staffing based solutions tailored to meet the business needs of its clients.
During the Day of Caring, employees took the day to volunteer with both indoor and outdoor cleaning projects.
Susie Friend, director of Hendricks County United Way, did her best to meet as many of the volunteers as she could during the Day of Caring. She was able to visit with the Theoris delegation as they began their day at Sheltering Wings.
“Today you’re giving back in a wonderful way,” Friend said. “You’re going to love this facility. We have 99 agencies in our United Way family that partner with us. Thank you for being here.”