Jessica Renslow is the Gary's Miller Spotlight community builder. She leads a cross-section of people to work collectively to improve the quality of life in Northwest Indiana. She teaches groups of volunteers to create and implement attainable goals so they in turn, invest in their communities. The spotlight program, which focuses on community planning, has grown to include an active transportation, micro-enterprise and ecotourism hub in Gary’s Miller Community.
How long have you lived and/or worked in the Calumet region?
I grew up here. Left for fifteen years and then returned in 2015 to be the community builder for my hometown.
What do you love about the Calumet region?
Our diversity; it’s interwoven in our environment, people and economy. We are used to being nonhomogeneous and that is where our ability to innovate is born.
If you could share one asset or piece of information about the Calumet region with someone who is unfamiliar with this area, what would it be?
Gary, Indiana is home to a world class beach.
What is your vision for the future of this region?
My hope for the Calumet region is for us to learn how collaboration makes us stronger. If vested community members truly understand smokestack and silo splintering only stifle us and commit to working collectively, great things will be possible for us.
How is the Calumet region starting to work towards that vision today?
A lot of groups are catching on to how effective collaboration is across the region. Getting these early adopters to partner with more groups would be the goal.
For more information on Jessica’s work visit facebook.com/millerspotlight or millerspotlight.blogspot.com.