By Marshall V. King
Aaron Willis fell in love with Elkhart County for a simple reason.
“I love the support and the fact that the community is behind the kids,” said the 26-year-old integrated chemistry and physics teacher at Goshen High School.
Willis grew up in South Bend and taught there for three years before the Younghans family he’d met through Valparaiso University convinced him to come work with them in Goshen Community Schools.
In Goshen, the community is in the schools. “People in the community are actually donating and investing in the education of the children,” he said.
The parents want a good education for their children, but Willis also sees businesses and local leaders get involved too. “There’s more of a community feel in Goshen than any city I’ve really been in,” said Willis.
Young people are wrestling with adult issues and Willis joins in supporting them as they learn not just academically, but about life. He’s a big brother, a teacher, and sometimes a comedian as he helps them.
Willis was a track athlete in high school and college. He trained to get better and tells his students that whether they go to the factory or to college, they need to keep working and learning. “Make yourself profitable,” he said, explaining that he tells students they need to seek out certificates and ways to further learning and earning.
As that happens, the community keeps getting better too. “Here in Goshen and in Elkhart, a problem happens and someone says, ‘What can we do as a community to fix the problem?’ And really heal it, not just put a bandage over it,” he said.
This good community is getting better and keeps helping its young people
“We have a good foundation for our kids. We have a good foundation in the city of Goshen especially and in Elkhart County,” he said.
Marshall V. King is a Goshen-based free-lance writer. He wrote this on behalf of Vibrant Communities.
More Love Where You Live:
- Mark Mikel cherishes the warm embrace of a tight-knit community
- Betsy Ayrea Delfine builds community through Soup of Success, and relationships
- Jess Koscher wowed by spirit and generosity of her hometown
- Nayo Ulloa’s affection for Goshen area returned in full
- Zach Dubois rooted in Elkhart County even as music carries his career
- Lisa Guedea Carreño turned ‘Why not?’ into a new life, bigger family
- Dorothy Jean Carter lives to create and connect with others
- Rodney Dale pays forward life lessons to Elkhart kids
- Phyllis Miller digs deep into Elkhart County’s farm, food cultures
- Kim Clarke keeps Middlebury on the move
- Lucky and family found Elkhart was on their side
- Radi Buenrostro embraces her future in Goshen area
- Mountain bikers blazed their own trail at Bonneyville Mill
- Jill Swartz finds home for her heart and passions in Bristol
- Toby Crowley gives back far more than he received