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Bridging Horizons Community Service Contest Past Winners

2013 Bridging Horizons Winners Announced

The Bridging Horizons Community Service Contest provides an opportunity for organizations such as FFA chapters, 4-H clubs, Junior Leaders, and Girl/Boy Scouts to make a positive impact by helping community members with disabilities overcome physical barriers. Bridging Horizons entrants complete a low cost project in their community that helps to enhance independence for people with disabilities.

This year's Bridging Horizons participants completed some significant projects in their communities. From building sidewalks and ramps for public buildings to helping plant gardens and making raised garden beds, each of the projects made a substantial impact on its community.

The 2013 Bridging Horizons first place prize went to Carroll Fort Wayne FFA, which designed and built a community garden at a local disability outreach center in their town. The students recognized the need for this project when a fellow classmate began utilizing the center and was disappointed that there was no outdoor space for activities. The head of the center told the student that they would like to put in a garden for the center's 600 participants, but they did not have any funding available for such a project. The FFA decided they would donate their time toward completing this project, and they also collected donations from the community. They built two accessible picnic tables, two wheelchair accessible garden boxes, two ground-level garden boxes, and two benches with planter boxes. The project was a great success and the FFA members were pleased to see flowers and vegetables planted in the garden boxes a few weeks later.

Second place was awarded to Sullivan FFA, which noticed that the grandstand area at the Sullivan County Fairgrounds was not easily accessed by individuals using wheelchairs. FFA members volunteered to construct a ramp and put in a concrete sidewalk leading up to it so fairgoers no longer have to travel through loose gravel to get to the grandstand. This is the fourth project that the Sullivan FFA has completed at the fairgrounds in its effort to make the entire fairgrounds accessible to all fairgoers.

Jay County FFA in Portland was awarded third place for their entry that involved improving the accessibility of the vocational facilities at their high school. Recently, the FFA students noticed how difficult it was it travel across the lawn and through a gravel lot to get to the greenhouse and the barn used for mechanics and construction classes. The students recognized the need to connect the existing sidewalk to the cement slab in front of the barn and greenhouse. Their project was a new sidewalk that connects all of their ag buildings and provides students using wheelchairs or on crutches much easier access to their ag classes.

Center Super Stars 4-H Club of Howard County received an honorable mention in this year's contest. 4-H members improved the 4-H L.E.A.D. Center in Greentown by replacing the main entry door to the center - which was originally a heavy glass door that opened manually - with an automatic door that makes the L.E.A.D. Center accessible to all fairgoers.

Girl Scout Troop 6203 Cadettes also received honorable mention for completing several indoor and outdoor projects at a local health clinic. The Girl Scouts worked outside to clean up the grounds, paint the decks, and pull weeds. They also cleared out storage rooms so the clinic could expand their conference rooms and counselor space.

Thank you to DuPont Pioneer for sponsoring the cash prizes and to all of the groups who submitted entries for the Bridging Horizons Community Service Contest. The Indiana AgrAbility staff is looking forward to receiving next year's entries and seeing all of the wonderful ways that groups are enhancing their communities through these projects.