“It’s sad to see my hometown failing and dying.” When Stephanie Coleman says this about where she grew up, Crowley, Louisiana, you can hear the disappointment in her voice. When she talks about Elkhart, where she lives now, the tone is noticeably different. “I have three boys,” Stephanie says. “When my kids get older and they have kids and grandkids, I want a vibrant place they can all come back to.”
For Stephanie and her husband Willie Dean and their sons, Elkhart is home. “I want to see more people like me,” she says, “who see the value. Who wants to live here. Who want to raise families here.” Stephanie is doing her part to make Elkhart a desirable place to live, work and learn.
“The world is covered with so many negative things,” Stephanie tells us. “I want to help bring some light.” Stephanie is the Director of Programs for the Elkhart Education Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to helping make the educational experience richer for those in the Elkhart School District. When she explains what the foundation is doing, she talks about how its programs benefit students, teachers and parents. She gets animated. You can feel the passion.
This week, ArtWalk is featuring the works of kids from the Elkhart Schools. “It is an opportunity to showcase what the students can do,” Stephanie says. She has been busy coordinating with the district’s art teachers to help display paintings and other work done by youngsters of every age group. “I have a behind-the-scenes role with ArtWalk, “she says.
It is things like ArtWalk and the Education Foundation that are helping Elkhart stay vibrant and vital. It is people like Stephanie that help make that happen. We are glad Stephanie decided to move here after she was discharged from the Air Force. Crowley, Louisiana’s loss was Elkhart, Indiana’s gain.