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Linking Individuals, Neighborhoods, and Kids to Services (LINKS) is a case-management system that targets at-risk children from birth to career identified through the use of academic and program data, early warning systems, and recommendations from school intervention teams. Each case worker (or LINKS) meets individually with targeted families and students to address issues relating to academics, behavior, and attendance as early as possible. The aim is to “link” each child to the best programs for them, individually, and for the family, so that the following goals can be achieved: inspiring and reinforcing the belief that college is possible; building an achievement plan for the entire family; supporting action on achievement plan goals; connecting individuals to resources to support the achievement plan; and recognizing and celebrating the progress families make as they move through the academic year. More than 350 families are currently enrolled in the program.

Neighborhood Associations are groups of Indianola residents who have come together to help build grassroots organizations in their respective neighborhoods and to develop service projects and annual events such as festivals, neighborhood clean ups, fundraisers, camps, and activities for children to strengthen their neighborhoods and connect
with city and school officials.

There are currently seven distinct geographical areas of Indianola that now have associations up and running.

Parental Engagement seeks to create the same grassroots energy as is now found in the neighborhood associations, and replicates that model of parental involvement in the four schools that serve Indianola through platforms and systems that promote their active participation. The goal is to increase the knowledge and awareness of parents regarding their children’s academic performance and school requirements, encourage parents to become more active in the school and community, build PTA or PTO organizations in each school, and empower parents to make decisions on behalf of their children. This is yet one more way IPC is seeking to improve student performance while supporting family growth and development.

Financial Literacy is a five-week course that provides adults with basic knowledge about personal and business finances. Participants are provided with tools, strategies, and access to low cost banking products and services that meet the FDIC “Safe Model” requirements, that help an individual build/rebuild credit, reduce debt, save money, and establish the base for overall financial wealth building. This program helps many low-income families in Indianola, a third of whom do not even use a bank, to make a move toward economic security.

Social Services Collaborative is made up of local, state, and federal agency representatives who meet monthly to break down organizational silos, identify, and reduce duplication of services, educate one another on services and resources that are readily available to families and children in Indianola, and engage in internal and external referrals. The collaborative is just one way IPC is working to unite Indianola and bring people together to build on each other’s assets and resources.