Pat Hackett discusses issues facing the veteran community with special guests

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Rodger J. Pinto
United States Army

Rodger J. Pinto is a Master of Public Affairs candidate at Indiana University South Bend. From 2008-2014 Rodger served as an infantry paratrooper in the United States Army’s 1st Special Troops Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division. Rodger serves the veterans community as President of the Student Veterans of America at Indiana University South Bend, acting as an advocate for student veterans and their families.

Through his work as the Lead Intern for the American Democracy Project and President of the Master of Public Affairs Student Association, Rodger regularly facilitates public engagement projects and deliberative dialogues throughout northern Indiana. In his capacity as President of the Indiana University South Bend, Student Body and Chairperson of the Indiana University, All University Student Association, Rodger has the privilege of representing and advocating for Indiana University’s student body of 114,000. Upon completion of a Master of Public Affairs, Rodger plans on attending law school and returning to public service.

Celeste Ross
United States Marine Corps

Celeste Ross was commissioned a U.S. Marine Corps officer after graduating from The Ohio State University in 1994. She became a Public Affairs Officer, serving in the Division of Public Affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps, then as the Deputy Director Public Affairs for Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

After her time on active duty, Celeste served in various roles in the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve, leading Marines in South Bend, with Engineer Company B; Quantico, Virginia; and Santiago, Chile, during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When the Marines of Engineer Company B deployed to Iraq in 2003, and again in 2006, she was responsible for their more than 500 family members living across the country. In 2003, Celeste resigned her commission, after 15 years of service.

Currently, Celeste lives in northern Indiana. She is married to John Ross, who is also a Marine, and they have four children.

Andrew Stryker
Indiana Army National Guard

Andrew Stryker served in the National Guard from 2007 to 2018 as an Infantry Squad Leader in the Indiana Army National Guard. While in the military, Andrew held a variety of different positions and served both domestically and overseas until he was medically retired. He is currently a machinist at MG Products.

Andrew has a passion for his community. He is dedicated to helping the homeless population in Elkhart County and is the Board of Trustees Secretary at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Elkhart. Andrew was appointed by Mayor Roberson as a board member of the Elkhart Board of Zoning Appeals in early 2020, where he continues his mission for fair housing practices.

Pat Hackett talks with experts about the burden of student debt and the financial harm it causes

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  • Mary Nucciarone, Director of Financial Aid at University of Notre Dame
  • Jordan Schank, Director of Enrollment at Holy Cross College
  • Rachel Berryman, a recent Indiana University South Bend Graduate

Pat Hackett talks with local nonprofit leaders about how they are adapting their services during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Kathy Schneider
Executive Director of St. Margaret’s House

Kathy Schneider, Executive Director of St. Margaret’s House for nearly 30 years, holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Divinity degree from the University of Notre Dame. Before coming to St. Margaret’s House, she worked in parish ministry in New York City and served with the Sisters of the Holy Cross as a lay associate in their missions in Washington DC, Texas, and Brazil.

Kathy will discuss how COVID-19, quarantine, social distancing, and other has affected St. Margaret’s House. Building community is essential to helping women who struggle with poverty. Hear how St. Margaret’s House has adapted their services to meet the needs of the women they serve in this new time.

Isaac Hunt Jr.
Goodwill Industries of Michiana, Inc.
Director for GVI Social Services South Bend & Gary, Indiana
SAVE Outreach Team South Bend

Isaac Hunt is a native of Chicago, IL but has lived in South Bend Indiana almost all of his life. Isaac is a graduate of South Bend Washington High School and Indiana State University, majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Business Administration. Isaac served in the United States Army from 1984 to 1990 and is a current member of Amvets Post 66. He worked in the manufacturing industry for over 20 years in positions from General Labor to General Manager. He is currently employed at Goodwill Industries of Michiana as the Director for GVI Social Services for the Group Violence Intervention Initiative. In Isaac’s current position he oversees the social services for Gary for Life, South Bend’s Group Violence Intervention and South Bend SAVE (Stand Against Violence Everyday) Outreach Team. He is also the owner of Ice Services, Inc.

Isaac’s background and focus on community collaboration has led him to several volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles. Isaac is one of the founders and former board members of Xavier School of Excellence, Member of the 100 Blackmen of Greater South Bend, South Bends “Not in Our Community Committee”, Commission on the Status of Black Males, Ivy Tech Criminal Justice Advisory Committee, University of Notre Dame Community Engagement Correlation Council, South Bend Community School Corporation African American Student and Family Services, Advisory Board for YMCA, Criminal Justice Chair for NAACP and his proudest honor is Alpha Sigma Lambda (National Honors Society).

Isaac has been a guest speaker at several universities such as Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, Bethel College, Illinois State College, Malcolm X College, Indiana University of South Bend, United States Attorney General National Conference and various community settings.
Isaac Hunt is certified in Conflict Resolution, Restorative Justice, Certified Mental Health First Aid, Certified Gangs Specialist, Gangs Mental Health and ACE Interface. He has received numerous awards such as the Martin Luther King Community Award, Indiana Black Expo Elders Award and Community Spirit Award to name a few.

Isaac is married to his beautiful wife Yolanda Hunt. He has one daughter named Iesha Hunt and 2 grandchildren. When he isn’t mentoring young men and women or attending church at FAM Praise and Worship Center, he spends time harassing his wife, kids, joking and laughing with friends.

Dominic Vachon
Director of the Ruth M. Hillebrand Center for Compassionate Care in Medicine, University of Notre Dame

Dominic O. Vachon, M.Div, PhD, is the John G. Sheedy MD Director of the Ruth M. Hillebrand Center for Compassionate Care in Medicine in the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame. He is also a professor of practice in the preprofessional studies department, where he teaches courses in compassionate care in medicine, medical counseling skills, and spiritualties of caring in the helping professions. Vachon does research on the internal mental and emotional process of the clinician compassion mindset in patient care, clinician communication skills, and innovations in medical training applying the science of compassion. He is also on the Volunteer Clinical Faculty of the Indiana University School of Medicine in South Bend, Indiana. For over 10 years, he was on the faculty of the St. Joseph Family Medicine Residency Program as the Director of Behavioral Medicine and Caring Science Training. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1980 with bachelor degrees in Psychology and Philosophy. He received an MDiv from Notre Dame in 1985. In 1993, he received a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago. He has been a practicing psychologist and has been involved with training physicians, nurses, psychologists, and other helping professions throughout his career. He is author of the book, How Doctors Care: The Science of Compassionate and Balanced Caring in Medicine just published by Cognella Press in August 2019.

Vachon has devoted the last 25 years of his professional career to supporting and training physicians, residents, medical students, premedical students, nurses, and other clinicians in patient communication skills as well as dealing with burnout and the recovery of compassionate care in the inner lives of clinicians. As a medical psychologist who has spent most of his life training new physicians as well as conducting his own clinical practice, Vachon has been uniquely positioned to hear how physicians suffer in clinical practice and to bring to bear the insights of the science of compassionate caring to help them restore their compassionate ideals and thereby to improve patient care.

Pat Hackett talks with local educators about the importance of public education in realizing the American dream

Pat discusses the importance of public education with local schooling advocates.

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Kareemah Fowler
CFO of South Bend Community School Corporation

Kareemah Fowler joined the South Bend Community School Corporation as Chief Financial Officer in September of 2019. Kareemah is responsible for advising the superintendent in business and financial operations and providing long-and short-range financial projections and planning, working with administrative staff supervising and coordinating business activities, and preparing reports and public presentations for the superintendent.

In 2015, Kareemah, IAMC, CMC was elected South Bend’s 22nd City Clerk. By receiving the most 2015 general election votes of all other candidates on the ballot, Kareemah became the first minority elected to a full time executive office in St. Joseph County. Kareemah is responsible for a myriad of activities, but is primarily responsible for supporting the City’s goal of open and transparent government. One of the first things she did to ensure this was establish the ‘Clerk’s Corner Column’ in the monthly water bill which updates residents on seasonal information of interest. As City Clerk, Kareemah maintains an accurate record of all public meetings and proceedings, making sure all public proceedings are in accordance with the Indiana Open Door Law. Subsequently, she is also the steward of the City Municipal Code, the City Seal, and the City Charter. The Office of the Clerk also manages the overall operation of the City’s Ordinance Violation’s Bureau. Most recently, Kareemah established the first annual Parking Ticket Amnesty Day which allows individuals with outstanding parking tickets to come pay the tickets without late fees.

Kareemah is a proud graduate of South Bend’s Riley High School. She received her Bachelor’s (B.A.Sc.) degree in Business Administration with a minor in Public Service from Bethel College. At the age of 25, Kareemah owned and managed a successful retail start-up on the City’s Near Northwest side. With over 18 years of experience in municipal government, she is both a certified member of the International Institute of Municipal Clerk-Treasurers as well as the Municipal League of Clerks and Treasurers. Kareemah is also a certified State of Indiana Level-2 Assessor/Appraiser. Before her election to become City Clerk, Kareemah successfully performed every function within the Clerk’s Office including, Council Secretary, Ordinance Violations Clerk and Chief Deputy City Clerk. As Ordinance Clerk, she orchestrated the transitioning to a more efficient electronic ticketing system. While serving as Chief Deputy Clerk. she worked collaboratively with the County to create an inter-local government agreement to improve the out-of-date communications system while simultaneously making all Common Council public meetings video recorded, live-streamed and cached as part of public record.

Kareemah has also served 10 years in the County Assessor’s Office. There, she worked as a Compliance Officer and Office Manager during the 2008 tumultuous economic decline. During that time, she managed a three-fold increase in tax appeals while personally aiding local nonprofits and churches in navigating the appeals process. While being Compliance Officer, she was the first in the County to utilize the Indiana Gateway System and consulted to the Indiana Bar Association on the Federal Sales Disclosure reform. She also worked directly with the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) and was instrumental in managing over $8,000,000,000 in assessment data. Kareemah also facilitated new processes mandated by Governor Mitch Daniels including a complete system overhaul. Knowing she and her team were responsible for helping thousands of Hoosiers keep their homes and businesses, Kareemah is especially proud of her tenure and service in the Assessor’s Office.

Kareemah is a recent graduate of the prestigious Emerging Leaders Project, an Indiana Election delegate and a graduate of the Michiana Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Program Class XLI. She serves on various boards and organizations including being a proud Charter Member of 100 Black Women, a Founding Member of the Minority Business Entrepreneurs/Women’s Business Entrepreneurs Diversity and Inclusion Board, the Impact Committee at Mount Carmel, the St. Margaret’s House Board, the South Bend Civic Theater Board, the SBCSC IT Governance Committee and the City of South Bend Wellness and Sustainability Committee.

Kareemah fervently enjoys serving the South Bend Community and bridging the gap between people and government. Kareemah also keeps busy as a mother of two extremely active children- Kashlin and Franco.

Ashley Boling Molyneaux
Co-Founder of Elkhart Education Foundation

A product of Elkhart Community Schools, Ashley followed her parent’s legacy and attended DePauw University for her undergrad education and excelled as an English Literature scholar and avid volunteer. After graduating from DePauw with honors, Ashley spent 2 years working as an event planner in Chicago before returning to school to earn her first Masters degree in Education. Ashley married her college sweetheart, Wes Molyneaux in 2006.

Ashley earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Loyola University Chicago and spent 8 years serving as a high school teacher and administrator in Chicago-area schools. Through her professional experience, she has demonstrated her capacity as a leader and has collaborated to build a student-centered culture of learning. These myriad positions coupled with her M.Ed. course work and 2nd Masters Degree from National Louis University in Administrative Leadership helped Ashley to assemble a valuable tool-box of instructional, supervisory and leadership experience.

Ashley’s experience in education led her to take a closer look at what was happening in her hometown school district, and she realized she could be of help! Along with her sister, Hayley Boling, Ashley co-founded The Elkhart Education Foundation to help fill the budgetary gaps that prevent All students from getting the extraordinary educational experience they deserve. Ashley was voted by the board of directors to be the first full-time employee of the foundation and began her job as the Executive Director of EEF in August of 2015. After commuting from Chicago for her first year of work with the Education Foundation, Ashley, her husband Wes, and their 3 children (Ryan 9, Lyla 7, and Noah 3) moved home to Elkhart to focus their efforts on improving the schools full time.

Ashley’s leadership at the Elkhart Education Foundation led the new organization to have significant impact in a very short time. Wherever there was a gap that needed to be filled, Ashley and the EEF team identified the issue, sold the vision, raised the funds and implemented the programming to great success.

Ashley was most recently a democratic candidate for mayor in the city of Elkhart. Ashley’s work in the Elkhart community was recognized as a Chamber of Commerce 40 Under 40 Award Winner. She was voted an “Angel Among Us” by the Goshen News and, under her leadership, the Elkhart Education Foundation was named the #1 Charity in Elkhart County in 2018.

Ruth Warren
SBCSC Board of School Trustees, District 1

Ruth Warren began her career teaching mathematics at John Adams High
School after graduating with a B.A. in Mathematics from Indiana University
Bloomington. During that time, Warren attained an M.S. in Secondary Education,
also from IUB.

As Director of Title I, she led successful school improvement efforts at several elementary schools, focusing primarily on literacy and shared governance.

After earning her Ed.D in Educational Leadership at Indiana University Bloomington, she was appointed principal at Eggleston Elementary. There, she continued to lead school wide reform efforts. In 2002, Warren became principal of Clay High School, and retired from that position in 2010. While at Clay, her accomplishments were initiating Freshman Academy, Smaller Learning Communities, Peer Mentors and READ 180. Clay High School was the first school to partner with Robinson Learning Center in implementing Restorative Justice. She also led groups of students on educational tours to China.

Upon her retirement, Warren spent two years teaching English in Hangzhou, China. Interested in other cultures and languages, she has a beginning level proficiency in German and Chinese. Other retirement activities have been volunteering at Indiana Legal Services, John Adams High School, and the St. Joseph County Public Library.

Daughters Emily, Naomi and Esther attended Perley, Jefferson, and Edison,
graduating from John Adams High School. Warren and her husband, Jesse
travel extensively and spend time with their six grandchildren.

Pat Hackett celebrates 50th anniversary of Earth Day with environmental experts

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Pat talks with local and national sustainability and environment experts.

Onika Abraham
Director of Farm School NYC
Co-Founder of Black Urban Growers

Onika Abraham is a parent, partner, farmer, and educator. A Farm School NYC teacher before she became Director in 2014, Onika has always been drawn to growing and teaching. After leaving her position as Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Safe Horizon in 2010, she spent the next four years with her hands in the soil—learning as much as possible about growing food sustainably. In 2012, Onika completed the Farm & Garden Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) in Santa Cruz. At CASFS, Onika valued the hands-on agricultural training but was concerned by the lack of focus on social justice—one of the pillars of Agroecology. She served on the Social Justice Action Committee, helping expand the curriculum, diversify staff and faculty, and create more support systems for apprentices of color, including hosting the first CASFS People of Color Reunion, now an annual event which has drawn farmers from across the country each year.

Onika’s work to support farmers of color and increase the number of black farmers nationally, in particular, predates her time at CASFS. She is one of the co-founders of Black Urban Growers and helped organize three national Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conferences since 2010. Her commitment to this work continues in her efforts to recruit Farm School NYC students that reflect the diversity of New York City, especially those from low-income and black and brown communities, and help them achieve their professional farming goals.

Ben Hartman
Owner/Operator of Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Ind.
Author of The Lean Farm

Ben is a full-time farmer and author of The Lean Farm, winner of the prestigious Shingo Prize. In 2017 he wrote a field guide companion called The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables, and was named one of 50 green leaders in the US by Grist. Clay Bottom Farm offers on-farm workshops and online courses teaching small farmers how to farm smaller and smarter.

Therese Dorau
Founding Director of South Bend’s
Office of Sustainability

Therese Dorau is the Director of Sustainability for the City of South Bend, Indiana, where she is responsible for climate and energy programs.  Prior to joining the City, she managed consulting projects related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and environmentally-friendly practices for corporate, federal, and local government clients. Therese has a B.S. in Chemistry from Xavier University and an M.S. in Sustainable Systems from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. In her spare time, Therese takes advantage of the great South Bend-area amenities, including the arts and music scene, restaurants and microbreweries, and hiking and biking trails

Pat Hackett discusses LGBTQ+ rights with Mayor Annise Parker of Victory Fund

Pat talks with Victory Fund President & CEO Mayor Annise Parker

Pat Hackett hosted Houston Mayor Annise Parker, President and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund and Victory Institute. This live Pat Chat was moderated by Indianapolis City-County Councillor Ali Brown. Thank you to our wonderful guests and everyone who participated!