Inaugural Transformers breakfast challenges community to get involved

Friday, September 28, 2018
Linda Hunter addresses the recent Transformers of Putnam County fundraising breakfast at 3 Fat Labs Retreat Center in Greencastle.
Courtesy photo/MARILYN CULLER

In its mission of engaging the community to end poverty, Transformers of Putnam County recently brought together more than 130 community leaders and concerned residents together for its inaugural fundraising breakfast.

The event took place Sept. 20 at 3 Fat Labs Retreat Center near Greencastle.

A call for action was issued to engage in Transformers programs that lead both at-risk students to stay engaged in schools as well as adults living in poverty to begin a journey to self-sufficiency.

Andrew Ranck opened the breakfast with startling statistics. One in eight Putnam County residents live in poverty, including one in six children under the age 18. Forty-four percent of Putnam County school children are on free or reduced lunches.

Lori Miller, coordinator of Getting Ahead, shared how Transformers’ Getting Ahead program is unique because it empowers people out of poverty to self-sufficiency.

Getting Ahead is a workshop in which people look at their current lives, identify what they want to improve and map out a concrete plan to meet those goals and build resources to help them on this journey.

Putnam County has had 50 graduates of Getting Ahead since the program began.

Denise Thede, coordinator of TALKS, shared how two mentoring programs, TALKS and Kids Hope USA, that encourage improved academic achievement, higher self esteem and increased positive school involvement along with a reduction of risky behaviors.

Both of these programs at their core guarantee young people that there is someone who cares about them and makes them feel like they matter.

There have been 350 students mentored in Putnam County since 2012.

Nancy Michael represented the Pay It Forward micro-loan program that creates opportunities for people in need by providing interest-free loans. The result is long-term economic gain for the borrower by increasing income, decreasing current expenses or starting a business.

Tracking and measuring the success of the loans will allow donors and sponsors to see the value and rewards of their investments. Loan repayment along with further donations will allow the program to pay it forward and assist the next person

Transformers Executive Director Linda Hunter shared how they do it. They empower our people to self-sufficiency through implementing three pillars for success. First, encouraging those they serve to have a written future story with measurable goals. Second, they thrive on connecting people in meaningful relationships. Finally, they practice good stewardship of human and financial capital by focusing on outcomes with regular review of progress.

Eric Wolfe closed by asking attendees to volunteer and contribute financially. These programs cost $47,000 annually.

Anyone wanting more information or desiring to get involved may contact Lori Miller at or call 658-6003.

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