From Alliance magazine—
Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from an article in the Winter 2022 edition of Alliance magazine, published by the Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance. A PDF of the full article and the full Winter 2022 edition of the magazine can be viewed at the link at the very bottom of this article.
MUNCIE, Ind. — The move of the Muncie-Delaware County visitor’s office to South Walnut Street joins a prominent recreational facility at Accutech and Patterson Block Muncie, a new community learning center with untold potential that is successfully breathing new life to a stately old building in the city center.
Built in 1876 by Arthur Patterson, the 21,000 square foot Patterson Building has been almost completely renovated and is now owned by Ball State graduate Kimberly Ferguson, a local real estate investor who is active in several area nonprofits. Ferguson, wife and mother of two young children, is also the owner of Patterson Building’s principal tenant, Pink Leaf: A Learning Company, whose mission is to “cultivate personal and community growth through learning through life. experience and enriching opportunities to forge new paths to success. “
Patterson Block Muncie hosted a grand opening on August 5, inviting the public to tour the modern works, retail and learning spaces inside. While the Pink Leaf Programs occupy part of the Patterson, another part is reserved for a few tenants – women-owned businesses that include Debbie’s Handmade Soap, Sea Salt & Cinnamon, Bloom & Be: Therapy and Education Services, Runaround Soup and Danielle’s Bistro. City Hope Fellowship and Adopt-a-Hive also call Patterson home.
Pink Leaf is an interesting part of the contents of the Patterson Building. Ferguson’s company aims to help people become self-reliant in a rapidly changing world, where resources are sometimes limited or non-existent.
Jen Cavalcanti, COO of Pink Leaf, said Patterson Block Muncie really is a cleverly disguised philanthropic organization that operates like a for-profit business. “We have been in business for 10 years and give experiential learning courses in Muncie,” she told Alliance. “Until we moved into the Patterson building, we were operating from a small chalet in central Muncie. We didn’t really have any public space, so people didn’t know we were around.
But, Pink Leaf was there, helping young people and adults become more independent by offering life skills classes like basic car maintenance, basic cooking, and home maintenance.
“We are definitely on a social mission,” Cavalcanti said. “Kimberly is really passionate about giving back to the community and she knows the value of her property tax dollars that come back to the community when it is really needed. “
It is this kind of good citizenship that makes Pink Leaf a true community partner.
A prime example of this community outreach effort is Pink Leaf’s brand new commercial kitchen, complete with all modern conveniences. Coupled with the kitchen, which can be rented by individuals or used as a cooking teaching space, is the list of Pink Leaf certification courses held there. Among them is ServSafe, the nationally recognized and accredited food safety training program by the restaurant and food service industry. Together, The Commercial Kitchen by Pink Leaf and Pink Leaf’s ServSafe Certification Program can help residents gain jobs in the restaurant industry or improve the skills of entrepreneurs looking to start catering businesses, restaurants or food trucks.
The commercial kitchen also serves as a culinary arts classroom for the general public. Classes are not free, but a variety of cooking classes are available, including “Soups and Broths,” “Thanksgiving Sides,” “Thanksgiving Desserts,” and more. Knitting and sewing classes are also available, no class costs more than $ 75.
Other certification courses include CPR / AED and first aid.
Pink Leaf is also active in the local foster family community, contracting with the Indiana Department of Children’s Services (IDCS) to administer the database’s Youth Outcome Survey. National Youth in Transition (NYTD) and disbursing incentives.
“These surveys are completed by cohorts of older youth placed in foster care at 17, 19 and 21, to collect data on their performance in education, housing, finances, family and care. ’employment,’ says the Pink Leaf website. . “The NYTD team at Pink Leaf is supporting these young adults aged 17-21, connecting them with support through resources, community, events, and opportunities to share how their story interacts with previous data. NYTD Youth Outcome Surveys. “
Pink Leaf bootcamps, services contracted through IDCS, are another educational tool the company uses to help people become more self-reliant.
Bootcamps are two to five day hands-on learning courses where participants practice new skills, explore potential career paths, build confidence, and create ongoing networks of peers, experts and prominent members of the community. the community. The ultimate goal of all Pink Leaf bootcamps is to equip young adults for successful and sustainable independent living and employment.
Taught by local experts in their respective fields, the bootcamps, which serve as the backbone of Pink Leaf’s operations, range from the culinary arts, car construction and maintenance trades, to computer coding, life skills, basics of cooking and, of course, at ServSafe.
Cavalcanti reflected on his work at Pink Leaf and laughed. “It’s so refreshing to be part of a company that lives by its mission – taking care of people, helping them take their lives to the next level. I don’t think it’s very common in workplaces today, so it’s a real gem.
—End of the extract.—
You can consult the the full article and read the full winter 2022 edition of Alliance magazine, by clicking (or tapping on your screen if you’re using a smartphone or tablet) on the magazine cover image below.