Developing the Leaders of Tomorrow

by Starfish Initiative - Starfish Inc. - Indianapolis, IN







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Developing the Leaders of Tomorrow

by Starfish Initiative

We envision a brighter path for Indianapolis youth who face the bleak prospects of a cycle of poverty – a path where overcoming the burdens and challenges to attend college, earn a degree, and successfully enter the workforce would be possible by providing consistent encouragement, support, and inspiration from a college-educated mentor committed to the student’s success. Starfish Initiative, along with 400 volunteer “college coaches” help our Scholars prepare for college and career success, serving an estimated 650 economically disadvantaged, predominantly minority students in high school and college.

Barriers to success include poverty, the lack of emotional support, life skills, and leadership training. Built on our acclaimed, one-on-one Mentor-Scholar relationship framework, the Starfish Initiative model is comprehensive in combating these barriers, with remarkable outcomes.

• 100% of Starfish Scholars completing our four year program graduate from high school
• 96% of Scholars matriculate to college, where in the last six years
• 74% have earned or still pursue their postsecondary degree

Starfish Initiative’s annual September Leadership Camp provides structured support and opportunities to develop effective leadership skills, interpersonal communications, conflict resolution skills and teamwork, while building self-confidence, enhancing character, and practicing self-sufficiency. For the majority of our new Scholars, Leadership Camp is their first opportunity to spend a weekend away from their urban home environments, giving them the experience packing an overnight bag, planning ahead on their own, and traveling to a new place – experiences that students from higher-income households are often familiar with. During the Camp experience, Scholars have the opportunity to gain this same advantage and envision the realities of transitioning to college by experiencing time away from home in a new place, practicing independence, sharing living space, and following new daily schedules.

Camp cost is $125 per camper and we expect 360 campers. Our fundraising goal will allow us to cover all of the “out of pocket” expenses of the Camp prior to departure on September 16, 2016.

FUNders (115)

Steven Dickmeyer

Gift $114

Matthew Wright

Gift $20

Starfish Initiative

Gift $109

Cecil Whitaker

Gift $107


Gift $19

Donald Agin

Gift $229

Mark Scales

Gift $500

Anthony Wise

Gift $31

Rhonda Tommasin Hoeft

Gift $93

Richard E.

Gift $500


Gift $25

Scenario B Adebesin

Gift $108


Gift $20

Cameo Moore

Gift $21

Zach Nichols

Gift $204


Gift $50


Gift $37

Shelly Sondgerath

Gift $111

Peter Molina

Gift $94

Emily Sellers

Gift $32


Gift $50

Robin and Tom Ledyard

Gift $151

Coleen Albright

Gift $106

Jeremy Brown

Gift $112

Jackie Webster

Gift $25

Cindy Bauer

Gift $23

Rosemary Kusmiz-Brunette

Gift $124


Gift $95

Karen Turner

Gift $40

Emily Washburn

Gift $20

Rick Meyer

Gift $104

Shelby Houston

Gift $24

Julie Wood

Gift $250

Greg Wright

Gift $25

Matthew Whitaker

Gift $202

Dustin Sickinger

Gift $230

Joanna Schaefer

Gift $13

Karen L. Bevis

Gift $103

Cheryl Platt

Gift $100

Cory McWilliams

Gift $97

Sandy Carrico

Gift $100

donald agin

Gift $233

Nancy Rairdon

Gift $66

Larissa Warne

Gift $100

Emily Mahurin

Gift $36

Brenda Buetow

Gift $14

Rita Black

Gift $130

Lisa Schlehuber

Gift $500

Diane Elmerick

Gift $16

Julie Ragsdale

Gift $55

Elaine McVay

Gift $25

Heather King Kelly

Gift $120

Celestine Gates

Gift $29

Tom Malasto

Gift $500

Vaughn Broadnax

Gift $52

Eric Spohn

Gift $237

Melissa Carter

Gift $25

Margaret Meyer

Gift $250

James M Carr

Gift $85

john cannon

Gift $12


Gift $1

Dan & Erin Johnson

Gift $28

Joe Peterson

Gift $239

Steve Davey

Gift $42

Ginger Plexico

Gift $250


Gift $20

Helmi Banta

Gift $73

Janet Maric

Gift $25

Lori Reitz and Tami Moore

Gift $250

Daniel L Peyton

Gift $250

Bruce C Inman

Gift $244

Chris Wilgus

Gift $221

Sharon Jacksn

Gift $125

Nicole Fishback

Gift $47

Matt McGregor

Gift $40

Stephanie Hopp Borlik

Gift $35

Janine Burkhart

Gift $125

david jarrett

Gift $49

April Wood

Gift $250

Chuck Goodrich

Gift $246

Mark Helmus

Gift $198

Ronak Desai

Gift $51

Rodney Frederick

Gift $21

David Roushia

Gift $15

Jeff Humphrey

Gift $26

Becca Reed

Gift $240

james thomas

Gift $102

Sharon Whitley

Gift $22

Zach Gross

Gift $100

Jeffrey and Ellen Butz

Gift $247

Kerry Nesbitt

Gift $75

Michael R. Berghoff

Gift $105

Kirk Bohde

Gift $23

Robin Elmerick

Gift $33

Michele Lorbieski Anderson

Gift $39

Starfish Initiative

Gift $235


Gift $10

Greg Fuller

Gift $113


Gift $25

David Berry

Gift $25

Pepper Construction Company

Gift $201

Mike McCann

Gift $248


Gift $27

Kimberly Ewing

Gift $100

Vincent Viveros

Gift $30

Eric Johnson

Gift $249

Ellen Salmon

Gift $53

Clayton Mitchell

Gift $50

Beth Bingman

Gift $101

Tom Lazard

Gift $200

Teresa Shaffer

Gift $150

Nicole Wallace

Gift $79

donald agin

Gift $250


Gift $11

Starfish Initiative

Starfish Initiative

Gift $225


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Matthew Wright said:

I got the opportunity to be a mentor with Starfish and it was an amazing experience. I was not only able to help out in the community, but I made a great friend along the way.

Sept. 15, 2016, 12:11 p.m.

Cameo Moore said:

This number was the age I was when I graduated from Ball State University!

Sept. 12, 2016, 4:01 p.m.

Zach Nichols said:

Dear Students,

I congratulate each of you for taking this path towards a college education. This is not the path to least resistance. I am also a first generation college student in my family, and It truly wasn't until my Junior year of college that I actually understood the power of education. Looking back on a 4 year degree, graduate school, and a professional certification, it seems like a mountain to climb. However, for this sacrifice, I have realized a since of accomplishment, work ethic, and a professional position that allows me to be excited to go to work. With all of that being said, I challenge each of you to stretch yourselves. In the grand scheme of things, college is 4 years of your life. Put in the extra effort up front, to realize a great deal of open opportunities in the future. I commend each of you for pushing yourselves and wanting more.

Best of luck!

Sept. 12, 2016, 3:41 p.m.

Anonymous said:

I met Melinda and Bob Kizer through Vision in Action. The number is associated with my first involvement with that group, which is also helping to develop leaders. Thank you, Starfish Initiative, for doing the work of developing leadership where it is both wanted and needed.

Sept. 12, 2016, 11:54 a.m.

Rosemary Kusmiz-Brunette said:

I would just like to be able to send one person if possible. They'll have to throw in the extra dollar 😉

Sept. 7, 2016, 10:11 p.m.

Anonymous said:

I know how hard the Starfish mentors work and how dedicated they are.

Sept. 6, 2016, 6:02 p.m.

Shelby Houston said:

$24 dollars.... For my 24 years of life thus far! Excited for my first year of Starfish Leadership Camp as a Starfish Mentor & Chaperone. Praying for good weather and Starfish Scholars to have open minds & hearts to enjoy camp to it's fullest!

Sept. 1, 2016, 5:54 p.m.

Julie Wood said:

I believe in Starfish because of the passion April has shown for the organization.

Sept. 1, 2016, 4:15 p.m.

Dustin Sickinger said:

My client, Alex Mislan, believe so much in this organization that she chose to come work there.

Sept. 1, 2016, 11:46 a.m.

Cheryl Platt said:

In support of Nancy Rairdon's efforts with Starfish!

Aug. 31, 2016, 9:07 p.m.

Emily Mahurin said:

36 is my age and 3+6 is my daughter's age. Every child deserves to have the same opportunities as her. Thanks, Starfish!

Aug. 30, 2016, 4:19 p.m.

Celestine Gates said:

I had to pay my own way through college because my parents didn't have the funds to provide my education so I am very proud to donate.

Aug. 29, 2016, 3:06 p.m.

Tom Malasto said:

Starfish Initiative does fantastic work and I fully support their efforts to make a difference in the lives of so many well-deserving young adults!

I'm also honored to have served on their Community Advisory Council.

Aug. 29, 2016, 9:44 a.m.

Vaughn Broadnax said:

No story just a number available.

Aug. 29, 2016, 9:33 a.m.

Dan said:

28 for the largest group of prospective mentors to attend one of our mentor orientation sessions this summer who all showed up answering the call to change a life!

Aug. 26, 2016, 10:13 a.m.

Steve Davey said:

Jackie Robinson

Aug. 25, 2016, 12:36 a.m.

Helmi Banta said:

Mentoring my scholar the past two years has been so rewarding. I graduated in 1973.... Hence $73.

Aug. 23, 2016, 7:12 p.m.

Lori Reitz and Tami Moore said:

In support of April Wood and the fabulous person she is!

Aug. 23, 2016, 11:41 a.m.

Mark Helmus said:

Represents the year I enrolled in college (1982) as a first-generation college student!

Aug. 22, 2016, 4:23 p.m.

David Roushia said:

I run on a very limited budget but I know Bob and Melinda Kizer and am encouraged by the efforts they put forth for Starfish. I wish I could do more.

Aug. 20, 2016, 8:03 p.m.

Kirk Bohde said:

Thank you for all you do for our future leaders!

Aug. 19, 2016, 3:57 p.m.

Robin Elmerick said:

my age!

Aug. 19, 2016, 2:25 p.m.

Pepper Construction Company said:

on behalf of Pepper Starfish mentors Sam Fugate and Kyle Van Hoecke

Aug. 18, 2016, 7:17 a.m.

Kimberly Ewing said:

It's an honor to be working at Starfish Initiative and I'm blessed to be surrounded with an awesome team. This organization is about changing lives and making a difference right here in Indianapolis, Indiana. Once we pair a Scholar with a Mentor their lives will never be the same. Overall, you just can't put a price tag on giving back and our wonderful Mentors do it ever single day. Lucky for me that I have a front row seat at watching their lives change right before my very eyes.

Aug. 17, 2016, 6:36 p.m.

Vincent Viveros said:

I value the work of Starfish and the positive impact it has on the lives of young people. I am turning 30 next month so the number was top of mind!

Aug. 17, 2016, 3:06 p.m.

Ellen Salmon said:

I am blessed to work for this great organization and I chose the number 53 because I have 5 people in my immediate family and 3 beautiful children. My kids had or will have the opportunity to attend college without having to worry about the obstacles many of the youth that we serve face everyday. The number 3 also has been a symbol of love in our family, so I hope that this small token can share hope and love to those that we serve.

Aug. 17, 2016, 10:26 a.m.

Nicole Wallace said:

My aunt is a terrific mentor and she turns 79 this year!

Aug. 16, 2016, 4:51 p.m.

Anonymous said:

I was eleven when I got my fist mentor and I am so thankful for the trajectory that set for me.

Aug. 16, 2016, 4:13 p.m.

Starfish Initiative

Starfish Initiative said:

The number of freshmen and sophomore high school students enrolled in the Starfish program the last two years. Each has aspirations of college and most will become first generation college goers - a game changer for them and their future.

Aug. 15, 2016, 4:02 p.m.