The entire EmployIndy and YES Indy family mourns with the Indianapolis community after the loss of “Mr. Johnny” Purchase, a beloved mentor and community leader who helped shape the lives of so many young persons throughout our city. He was an active and dedicated member of both the YES Indy and Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC) teams, providing mentorship and guidance to so many who participated in youth and family focused programming.
“He’s one of the most thoughtful men I know.” expressed Jamiah Banks, a YES Indy participant, in remembering the role that Mr. Johnny played in his life. “He did whatever he could to help others.” Jamiah also recalled memories of how Mr. Johnny would help him with his school work and regularly challenge him to 3-point shootout competitions in the basketball gym.
Mr. Johnny tragically lost his life on January 12, 2021 while out serving in the community, bringing hope to struggling families. When serving with YES Indy, Mr. Johnny was always faithful to reinforce YES Indy’s work by encouraging the young people around him to establish a vision for their life and achieve it. “Mentor, life-coach, motivator, professional, passionate, compassionate, committed, dependable, firm, fair, warm, steady. These are but a few of the adjectives that come to mind when I think of Johnny Purchase.” said Rev. Rodney T. Francis, Chief Programs Officer at EmployIndy. “Johnny epitomized the ideal Re-Engagement Facilitator. He had a unique way of reaching and connecting with Opportunity Youth. His impact was huge and his loss is a tremendous blow to our community.”
When Devonte Whitehead, a mentee of Mr. Johnny’s, received his forklift license, Mr. Johnny took him out to lunch to celebrate the accomplishment. “Everything he did, he did it with a purpose.” remembers Whitehead. “He would always have a smile on his face and if you were having a bad day, he could cheer you up by just looking at you.”
Mr. Johnny Purchase served as a Family Success Coach at the Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC) where he had an “unyielding commitment to engender a vision of hope.” Lashawn Offett, a mentee of Mr. Johnny’s at EMCC, described him as a caring person who ultimately motivated him to go back to school to finish his diploma.
On behalf of all of the EmployIndy staff, we ask that you join us in lifting up the Purchase family, keeping them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. If you would like to offer support in additional ways, details can be found on the family’s GoFundMe page: https://gofund.me/07a48022
Posted on December 3rd, 2020 in Events
, Success Story
“The Power Huddle helped me out because it made me sit there and set goals for me and my children and also think about what I really want for my life.” said Daijia Bible, a 23-year-old mother of three and recent completer of YES Indy’s virtual Power Huddle program. Daijia, along with 23 other young adults from Indy’s Eastside, gathered virtually and in-person in a socially distanced setting at the Indianapolis Boys & Girls Club located on 38th & Post Rd to celebrate this important milestone. During the ceremony that included completers from cohorts 17-19, several had the opportunity to share how the Power Huddle had helped them grow as well as show off their “vision board”, which they created during their time in the program.
The Power Huddle is YES Indy’s two-week job readiness experience where young persons have the opportunity to participate in group discussions, explore opportunities and support through YES Indy, and complete job preparedness activities that help them map out and work towards reaching their academic, career, and life goals. Since its inception, the Power Huddle has seen over 140 young persons go through the program. Upon completion, young individuals like Daijia develop important soft skills, earn two badges from Job Ready Indy, and build the confidence needed to take their next step. For Daijia, that includes studying cosmetology and eventually starting her own business. Thanks to the Power Huddle, she’s taken an important step in making those goals a reality.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Power Huddle program is currently being offered virtually. Young persons interested in participating in an upcoming Power Huddle session can learn more and register by visiting: https://yesindy317.org/power-huddle.
Posted on November 4th, 2020 in Success Story
The following excerpt is a success story shared by a student from the MSD Washington Township Adult Education Program:
My journey began in 1990 when I was expelled from high school. It involved a situation where I unknowingly assisted someone whom I should not have. I went to Warren Township and took the GED test, but when I didn’t pass it, I was devastated and gave up. I then started working at Wendy’s and with having a job, did not think I would need my high school diploma. I was still young and naïve at this time.
I eventually went back to school at Howe High School as they were offering GED classes. But honestly, I preferred hanging out with friends, and so I missed a lot of class. I took the GED exam again, and failed it, so I pretty much continued this pattern for the next three years. Finally, I just gave up.
As the years passed, it seemed as though my world was crumbling around me. I lost my dad in 2006 and my husband was sick and hurting all of the time. My mother passed in 2016 and I felt as though I was going crazy. I did promise my mom that I would get my high school diploma and so I decided to begin again. I would say to myself, “no matter what has come against me, I was now determined more than ever to achieve my goal!”
I found the MSD Washington Township Adult Education Program online and that is where I once again began my journey, after so many years had passed. It was then I met my teacher, who continued to encourage me. She would say, “I know you can do it!” With her support, and my determination, I felt I was unstoppable. In my first attempt in taking the TASC (High School Equivalency Diploma), I passed all subjects but science and math. On my second attempt, I passed science, but not math.
I then began to work diligently in the online programs provided. My teacher would not give up on me and continued to work with me providing me the math knowledge I needed. Even in the last couple
of years, I continued to have adverse circumstances come against me, but I promised myself, “I am really going to do it this time!”
On Friday October 16, 2020, I am happy to report that I passed the math portion of the TASC exam and as such, passed the entire exam. I achieved my goal after so many years!
I am now enrolled in PharmTech training and once I am certified, I am looking forward to “A Whole New World.” (As in the song for the movie, Aladdin 😊).
Thank you Washington Township Adult Education! This program offered me hope when my whole world was crashing down around me.
Check out FOX 59’s recent feature on the work being done by the MSD Washington Township Adult Education Program here.
Through the federal CARES Act, the City of Indianapolis has appropriated approximately $2.6 million towards Rapid Reskilling Grants to be distributed by EmployIndy to local adult education providers. These funds aim to increase the opportunities available to adult students seeking their high school equivalency, high school diploma, or postsecondary certifications. You can view partnering adult education programs, view available trainings or find additional resources by visiting: workoneindy.com/adult-ed/.