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Community leaders make New Year's wishes

new year's wishes

The Kokomo Perspective asked leaders of the community’s nonprofits, small businesses, schools, colleges, and other organizations what they hope to see in the coming year. While the leaders had various wishes, they’re all looking to brighter days in 2021.

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Kokomo School Corporation

“My New Year’s wish for local education is that Kokomo continues moving forward, while our Kokomo students always recognize the importance of the educational opportunities available to them throughout our Kokomo community," - Dr. Jeff Hauswald, superintendent.

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Kokomo Pride

"2020 has been the definition of a challenging year. It’s an understatement to say we are excited for the possibilities of 2021! This year is full of so much possibility that it’s hard to narrow down. The world is our oyster. Kokomo Pride will continue to work with our board, community partners, and the city to further our advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community and to continue to foster an environment of love acceptance and compassion in Kokomo. 2020 was a year to focus inward to protect others. Now, as 2021 rolls around, it’s time to focus outward and better our community through unapologetic kindness and acceptance," Austin Mariasy, director.

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Kokomo Humane Society

"The Kokomo Humane Society is wishing for what many others in the world are, an end to COVID-19 and for life to get back to something resembling normal. We are grateful that we could continue to unite pets with families and to offer the same excellent animal care that has become our standard. We hope that the many lessons we have learned during this time will enable us to continue to improve not only the experience of the animals that temporarily live here but also that of the people in the community that we serve," - Karen Wolfe executive director.

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Ivy Tech Community College

"The faculty and staff of Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo wish everyone a healthy, happy New Year. We are continuing to offer a mix of virtual, online, and face-to-face services, and we look forward to welcoming everyone to our beautiful new Kokomo campus in 2021. Our spring semester begins Jan. 18, and students can start every eight weeks. A commitment to education is a New Year's resolution that can change your future," - Dean McCurdy, chancellor.

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Bona Vista

"2020 has given Bona Vista many things, including a renewed thankfulness for the people we serve, our dedicated employees, and the support of this community. We have learned perseverance in the past months and are stronger for it. Now the new year brings with it the promise for a fresh beginning as we continue to provide valuable services to our clients and their families. New is the year, and new is the hope for friendship, laughter, and new memories. May we all have a healthy and joyous 2021. Happy New Year," - Brianne Boles, CEO/president.

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Community Howard Regional Health

"As we come in to the New Year I am filled with immense pride for the caregivers at Community Howard and the determination and compassion they have shown during this very difficult year. Seeing our frontline healthcare workers begin to receive the COVID-19 vaccine brings a great deal of hope for the year ahead both for our teams and for this community as a whole. There will be difficult months yet to come, but I know our teams will continue to rise up to the challenge. In the coming year we will continue to innovate and add additional resources to build on our mission of providing safe and convenient access to world-class care that’s close to home," - Joe Hooper, president

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Community Howard Regional Health Foundation

"The importance of Community Howard Regional Health Foundation’s mission to support Community Howard, its employees, and its patients has perhaps never been as evident as it was this year. In the coming year we will continue to partner with the hospital to provide resources that will further the hospital’s emergency response capabilities, expand access to needed behavioral health services, and provide tools that will help the hospital’s ability to expand areas of care in the event of future surges in hospitalizations," - Rhonda Eastman, director.

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Community Foundation

"As we look to the New Year, my wish is for families and friends to be able to gather without restrictions and that businesses will recover and flourish. In 2021, I hope we will be able to share a smile and a heartfelt greeting without the necessity of a mask. We miss seeing our donors and supporters in person and look forward to reconnecting during the coming year as the Community Foundation of Howard County works to make a positive difference in our community," - Greg Aaron, president.

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Bridges Outreach

"Bridges is wishing to make disciples that make disciples for the Kingdom of God," - Travis Taflinger, director.

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Western High School

"My wish is for a healthy 2021 for the whole community, especially all the schools. All this COVID stuff needs to slow down and eventually disappear. Area schools need for students, teachers, and staff to be able do school with no restrictions. We all need the ability to enjoy each other, every day. It is time to see the hallways, cafeterias, gyms, and fields full again. We all want to see concerts, games, competitions, field trips, proms, award ceremonies, and a normal graduations again," - Steve Edwards, principal.

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Taylor Community School Corporation

"This is the time of the year when we all need to reflect on what is truly important. I wish for all students, parents, staff, and community health and safety while we end this global pandemic in 2021. With that stated, I wish that Taylor Community Schools can get back to a sense of normalcy and a focus on teaching and learning with all students in face-to-face instruction. In closing, let's keep what is most important front and center: our faith, family, and community. Happy New Year, and together, let's make 2021 a great year," Christopher Smith, superintendent.

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"As the AFL-CIO Chapter president, I wish for all workers a safe and productive workplace. May workers and their families have the resources to support their loved ones, worthy of their toil. To all essential workers, nurses, community safety personnel, our city workers, and those that have gotten us through the worst of years, may you find the love, support, and stamina to continue to support us all. For our children and teachers and parents, hang in there; you have been through many changes. May you find the grace and patience to continue to embrace the change for better days ahead. Finally, I wish for our community to come together, embrace a hope for our future, and focus on the important issues we all care about with a listening ear and generous heart," - Cheryl Graham, president.

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Gilead House

"Gilead House is wishing for funds to build a new kitchen," - Reba Harris, director.

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Kokomo Rescue Mission

"The Kokomo Rescue Mission's wish for 2021 is that all residents in the area will experience health, prosperity, and can have the opportunity to enjoy warm shelter, hot food, and a safe and caring network of support. Most of all we pray that our community can be filled with hope of a better future – free from COVID and with the promise of a brighter tomorrow. We are grateful for the privilege to serve the under-resourced in the community and thankful for those that are willing to partner with us in this endeavor," - Van Taylor, executive director.

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Indiana University Kokomo

"The year 2020 has been anything but normal, and one thing that has remained constant is the community of care at Indiana University Kokomo. Our students, faculty, and staff have persevered, and, above all, have carried on the caring and kind spirit that makes our campus truly special. We are proud of our students’ resilience and determination, our faculty’s innovative ways and dedication, and our staff’s hard work and commitment. As we look toward a new year, I’m hopeful that 2021 will bring you and your loved ones much happiness and good health," - IUK Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke.

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Prevent Child Abuse Howard County

"My hope is for more togetherness in 2021. While being very careful to social distance and wear a mask, I have missed the closeness of friends and family. I want our kids back in school. I want to be able to shake hands and hug again! I want to hear the fans in the stadiums. I am wishing for effective vaccines in 2021," - Barb Hilton, director

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VFW Post 1152

"Like so many of us, my wish is for us to once again be able to live our lives without dealing with COVID-19. However, my biggest wish and hope is for our country. The pure hatred, the total disrespect for law and for fellow Americans that exists today is tearing our country apart. I am afraid that if it continues, there will be no need to worry about another 9/11 because the country that we love will be destroyed from within," - John Meeks, commander.

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Northwestern School Corporation

"Our wish is simply for a healthy and happy 2021 for all! We look forward to the day when we can safely open our doors again for community visitors, volunteers, extracurricular activities such as band performances, choir concerts, drama productions, and robotics, athletic events, and all students to return daily for in-person instruction! We hope this pandemic has reaffirmed the importance of education and confirmed the value of all school staff members. Together, we will persevere with the hope of a brighter 2021," - Kristen Bilkey, superintendent.

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Literacy Coalition

"The lesson we learned at the Literacy Coalition this year is that the need for adults being able to read has never been greater. My wish is that we can build our agency to be able to serve even more of our friends, family, and neighbors in the community. I am hoping we can attract and train more volunteers in Howard County and match them with people struggling with reading, writing, and basic math skills," - Bob Stephenson, director.

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Kokomo Symphony Orchestra

"I wish primarily that we can resume music-making together in an audience and on-stage. There's magic and energy in live performances that is hard to explain but amazing when you experience it with other people. The audience's energy influences and enhances the musician's energy, and it flowers back to the audience, sparking out-of-this-world emotions," - José Valencia, artistic director.

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Family Service Association

"As I reflect on 2020, I am grateful to live in a community of outstanding leaders and medical professionals working tirelessly to keep our community safe. FSA continues to be blessed by individuals, community groups, and businesses giving their time, talents, and resources to support our mission of helping families in crisis in our community. I am fortunate to work with a phenomenal team that with grace, flexibility, creativity, and determination served those in need during a pandemic. In our work over the last year, we strengthened existing relationships and made new friends. My wish for 2021 is to continue to build on those relationships and continue to positively impact the families we serve and the community at large," - Tracy Martino, executive director.

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Howard County Veterans Memorial Corp.

"We hope that 2021 is the year that we finish our Women's Legacy Memorial and to expand our Veterans Community Give Back Program. Put an end to the virus and good health to all," - Jerry Paul, president.

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Narrow Gate Horse Ranch

"Narrow Gate Horse Ranch is in the process of purchasing our own property. Our goal is to reopen at the new site in late spring. Buildings on the property need restoration. Fences need to be built, and the yard needs grooming. We hope to find volunteers skilled in construction, electrical, plumbing, heating, and landscaping to help us accomplish this large task by spring. We are also hoping for financial or in-kind donations to purchase building materials. We’ve seen 'unity in community' before and look forward to seeing what can be accomplished again. Together, we can make a difference," - Susan Zody, director.