Looking Back & Planning Ahead – Voice Of The Township

Kids enjoy the Holiday Skating Party at Bells Skating Rink in December 2021.

As the year 2022 gets underway we, like many of you, are thinking about fresh starts and how we can build on the successes of the past year. I find that to encourage new growth it helps to review your accomplishments. Over the past year here’s some of what we did at the Wayne Township Trustee Office:

Community and Staff Health
In dealing with the pandemic our office collaborated with many other agencies and organizations to try to keep ourselves and our citizens in the best health possible. We were part of the HealthVisions Midwest task force that worked to get people vaccinated against COVID-19 by holding vaccine registration events, working with the Community Transportation Network that provided rides to vaccine clinics, hosting Neighborhood Clinic’s Mobile Vaccine Clinic in our parking lot and holding an event at our office to distribute free food, clothing and vaccinations administered by Anthony Medical Associates.

To address some of the stress our staff experienced during the pandemic Trustee Austin Knox and Deputy Dominique Dickey signed us up with Courageous Healing who held group meetings to talk through some of the tough situations we were experiencing. We also participated in Zoom meetings with Bare Knuckle Recovery to help us understand some of the experiences our clients might be going through.

Food/Clothing
In March of 2021 Forward Indiana installed a one of their food pantries outside of our office, and thanks to the many donors, this pantry and others that we’ve sponsored are now a meeting spot for people needing something to eat or drink or who want to drop items off.
This past December we held our second Holiday Ham and Turkey Giveaway providing over 200 families with meat for a holiday meal.

Encouraging Kids
In 2021 we resumed rewarding the Richard A Stevenson Sr. Scholarships to graduating high school seniors and the Academic Encouragement Award for younger students. Over the summer we opened our School Supplies Store so all kids would have what they need to return to classes in the fall.

In December we held a Holiday Skating Party at Bells Skating Rink, and we organized and delivered gifts for 45 families for the Christmas Bureau.

Communications and interaction with the Community
In March we started our new Facebook page to better communicate our activities, job postings and other important information to the community; especially important when we moved to all remote interactions with our clients in March.

On our FB page we reported on our participation in the Great American Cleanup, the Waynedale Memorial Day Parade, our first celebration of Juneteenth as a time-off holiday, our role as a drop-off site for bottle caps for Sammie’s Buddy Bench Project, our celebration to officially dedicate Stevenson Way near our office, Mayor Henry’s appointment of Trustee Austin Knox to the Board of Public Works and Mr. Knox’s winning of the Indiana Township Association’s “First Term Trustee Overachiever Award.”

Employment
Along with our employment department’s usual efforts posting jobs both inside our office and on our Facebook page, the Wayne Township Trustee Office held its first Job Fair this past October.

In the coming year of 2022 we plan to keep serving the citizens of Wayne Townships with many of the same programs and add some new events. We will continue our emphasis on connecting workers and employers with good jobs as we search out opportunities in the community, post job openings, hold job fairs and continue helping our clients in polishing up their job-holding skills. We look forward to working on this with our friend, Ramadan Abdul-Azeez, the new Board President for the Fort Wayne Black Chamber of Commerce. We also want to work with our local unions to connect people with entry level apprenticeships in the skilled trades.

For the kids we will continue our scholarship programs and school supplies assistance—including help with obtaining electronic devices needed for some of their remote learning requirements. We will also continue holding our community-supported events like our spring Family Fun Day, Skating Party and our work with the Allen County Christmas Bureau.

We are working on making our office building more environmentally-friendly with solar energy and a recycling program. And our food programs will continue as we have recently re-opened our emergency food and paper products pantry inside our office building. We will also keep sponsoring our outdoor Forward Indiana pantries. and continue our relationship Sally Segerson, who so generously keeps stocking the pantry outside our office in her work with Street Reach for the Homeless. And we will be continuing to provide gently used clothing through Patsy Brewer’s Clothing Emporium and other clothing giveaway events.

We’re looking forward to increasing our presence on Facebook and other internet sites including our own website. Our New Year’s resolution is to build on what we have achieved in past year and have an even better report to make after 2022, and we wish you a happy and successful New Year as well.

Wayne Township Trustee - Austin Knox
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Wayne Township Trustee - Austin Knox

Trustee Austin Knox is a Fort Wayne native who, on January 10, 2020, was unanimously elected trustee at a caucus of Democratic precinct committee leaders of Wayne Township. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer