Posts filed under ‘Ideas & Dreams’

Growth and Change Is Good

I have been blessed over these past months to have the opportunity to meet new community builders and highlight their stories. I’ve also been blessed to make new friends and begin a new adventure. Some of you read about this journey that launched ConnectHelp. If you’d like to catch up, just click here.

As we discuss our goals with ConnectHelp, I realize that much of what I want to accomplish with Revitalize South Bend mirrors those goals. So it only makes sense to roll all things RSB into ConnectHelp.

Consequently, you can now follow my blog at the ConnectHelp website by clicking here. Please bookmark this new site (, share it with your friends and stay connected! Also, be sure to follow our ConnectHelp twitter account @connecthelp_org.

I have enjoyed the conversations with many of you through comments on the posts, so I hope that you will continue to be engaged with ConnectHelp.

You will still find me involved in 3° of Separation. I believe that 3° can help our community grow and prosper. I will also keep the @revitalizesb twitter account active, to highlight related efforts and stories and to be that friendly reminder of the importance of revitalizing South Bend.

My personal mission remains the same:


I still want to connect people to people, people to groups, groups to groups (well, you get the idea). I still want to encourage collaboration. I still hope to inspire folks in our community to take action.

Won’t you join me at this new site to share ideas and resources that can benefit others in our community?


April 11, 2013 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Get Your Love (Code) On

It’s Valentine’s Day, so it seems appropriate to talk about LOVE. In this case, I’d like to encourage those of you that love our community to consider getting involved in a unique opportunity to make a difference. Knowing how involved and interested you are in the future of our fine town, I am sure you will be excited to hear about Code for America’s Code Across South Bend event.

On Saturday, February 23rd, Code for America will connect friends, colleagues, neighbors who are passionate about technology and this community. In service to South Bend, consider helping Code for America. Using the power of people and the power of the web, this event promises to be unlike many others.

Here’s our chance to reimagine South Bend’s future and how our government works. It’s a chance to share our dream for the future of our community, and perhaps have a group of people move forward to make that dream a reality.

Are you an idea person? Have a passion for South Bend? Are you techie? If so, Code Across South Bend needs you. Through this event, they hope to build a local wiki site as well as build apps around city data, plus work on ideas that come out of the brainstorming session.

To register for this event and get more info, click here. If you have questions or are in a position to sponsor this event, please contact Hope to see you there!

February 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm Leave a comment

A New Kind of Organization in a Very Old Building

Intrigued? Then join 3° of Separation at our first field trip ever. On Saturday, February 16th, 3° will head to The Plant in Chicago to tour their facility.  If you are interested in economic development and sustainability, this is for you. The Plant has figured out how to blend those things in a farm inside an old meatpacking facility. But it’s much more than that. They are “incubating small craft food businesses, brewing beer and kombucha, and doing it all using only renewable energy” that they produce onsite. Instead of discarding what most businesses would consider waste, The Plant connects businesses to make use of each other’s outputs. (It kinda makes my head explode)

After the tour, the group will eat at Nana’s and take that time to discuss inspirations from the tour. Costs for the day include admission into The Plant ($10; they prefer cash), shared gas/tolls (I’m sure the drivers prefer cash), and your meals. Meet at the Park & Ride at Exit 77 of the Toll Road at 10:50am; expect to be back in the Bend by 6:30pm. Don’t miss the 3° Inaugural Field Trip! So head to the 3° of Separation Facebook page to tell them that you’re going. Like now.


February 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm 1 comment

Be the Change

“Be the change you wish to see in the world,” is one of the quotes you would spot in our house. A good friend is planning to make some signs that say, “Be the change you wish to see in South Bend.” I really like that idea. It makes me think of a way to twist a famous JFK quote, “Ask not what South Bend can do for you, but what you can do for South Bend.”

I started this blog many, many months ago out of a desire to share stories that  might inspire people to take action, to be involved, to help change things for the better. There are so many ways to get involved and connected to the community. I am currently looking for stories that will inspire you, that will help you take that first step to “be the change.” Drop me a quick note to tell me what you need to hear about to get excited about this idea of involvement and action.

This blog is for you and for the community. Help me make it useful for South Bend. Comment away. One lucky person that comments will win a small gift card. It might be your lucky day. And if it’s not, think about the good that could come out of your words. Thanks for loving South Bend!!

January 11, 2013 at 9:58 am 2 comments

Start Something New

Whether you have ideas to start something small or big, that first step can be confusing and overwhelming. So can each step along the way. I know. I’m in that process. Fortunately, we have resources in South Bend that can help you along the way. You’ve heard me talk about Three Degrees of Separation, the new entrepreneurial group whose mission is to accelerate our emerging startup ecosystem by connecting entrepreneurs and collaborators. It’s a great way to get connected and learn about the world of startups.

There are many other resources in our area. I will spend some time highlighting those in the near future. One upcoming opportunity is from Business Success Unlimited. Beginning on January 8th at 4pm, and occurring once a month for three months, Business Success is holding Entrepreneurial Forums at National College (1030 E Jefferson Blvd, SB). Topics include marketing, sales, management/leadership, business strategizing, networking and growing your business. Monthly meetings focus on “learning and creating action plans to move forward.” Cost for all three sessions is $90. For more information, call 269-221-2220.

If you attend, we’d love to hear your thoughts on these forums! Stay tuned to hear about additional resources.

January 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm Leave a comment

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

Have you heard of the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” parlor game? The premise is that you can connect Kevin Bacon to any other Hollywood actor within six steps. While in South Bend, we do not have that Kevin Bacon connection (dang, who doesn’t love some bacon?), but we do have a close-knit community. One thing that closeness affords us is the opportunity to find connections, resources and success within three degrees. Thus, the name of our new meetup group in South Bend: Three Degrees of Separation

The goal of Three Degrees of Separation is to inspire and connect local entrepreneurs to the local startup ecosystem, the community, and to the world of startups. Three Degrees will be successful by connecting entrepreneurs and collaborators  and by cultivating collaborative ideas, opportunities and partnerships that will help emerging startups move forward. You are a key to that success. Your knowledge, expertise, and connections are needed at these meetups.

Still wondering what you could possibly offer to the group or why you should attend? Come out on Thursday and find out how your connections can help another. From just our first meetup, I was able to meet a key person that has helped me with my idea. This first connection led to several pivotal meetings that will help ConnectHelp immensely. All because one person decided to attend this meeting. One person.

If you have any interest in building a better community, in being inspired or inspiring others, or need motivation, then please join us on Thursday (1/3) at 6pm at Main Street Coffee House / The Music Village. More info at the Three Degrees Meetup page and Facebook page.  I will be there because I love being in a room of people who are serious about starting ventures that serve the community.

Make a resolution to improve our community and start by attending the Three Degrees of Separation Meetup. Hope to see you there!

3 d logo

January 1, 2013 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

Kickstart Something Yummy

…and something totally rad. Jackie & Chris von der Mehden want to create an Oneironautical Headquarters. What? No worries, as they’ve explained this. An oneironaut is a navigator of dreams. In these headquarters, you can dream too, as it is a “community co-working space, artistic launching pad, and social change machine, fueled by coffee and sweets from downstairs.”

Jackie & Chris already have a presence in Michiana as Rabbit Moon Bakery. After a trip to Paris, Chris fell in love with macarons (no, not macaroons). He has turned that obsession into a great confectionery business. While the business is thriving (thanks to places like Purple Porch), it’s time for a storefront. But the idea is bigger than a mere storefront. It’s a chance to help revitalize downtown. It’s an opportunity to work cooperatively with other dreamers. An idea to change the conversation around business from competition to collaboration. Did I mention radical? Or, as they might call it, “weird.”

Their goal is “to restore the first of many empty buildings in the area and turn it into a thriving hub of art, culture, business, and community…  created a new model of doing business (that is really a new model of living) based on the simple truth that when we work together, everything is possible.”

I am completely fascinated by their concept and excited to see it in South Bend. But to be successful, they need community support. Consider investing in their idea in return for some yummy benefits. You can read all about those benefits and more about their dream at their Kickstarter page:

Let’s make 2013 amazing for South Bend. Let’s “be the change.”

December 12, 2012 at 11:29 am 2 comments

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