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 Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann today announced a new initiative to engage high school students in planning for the future of their local rural communities.

The “My Community, My Vision” program invites high school students to submit essays outlining ideas for enhancing the development and quality of life in their home communities through their own research and in consultation with local officials and civic leaders.

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Based on the initial essays, five applicants will be selected to develop more formal and detailed plans with assistance of graduate students from the Ball State University School of Urban Planning and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.  The five finalists will each receive a $500 award for their sponsoring organization.

The Office of the Lt. Governor is sponsoring the program which is being administered by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the State Department of Agriculture.

Expressing her support for the initiative, Lt. Governor Ellspermann commented, “Maintaining strong and viable rural communities is important to the future of Indiana, and we need future leaders to begin thinking about their own vision for their city or town.  ‘My Community, My Vision’ invites these future decision makers to share their ideas and plans with local officials.  By their involvement, student leaders will learn about the planning process and the collaborative efforts required to create an even more vibrant community.”

Organizational support for “My Community, My Vision” is being provided by local high school chapters of the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) and the Indiana FFA. Application essays are currently being accepted through the My Community, My Vision webpage where additional information is also available.   The deadline for the initial essays is 5:00 p.m. on September 12, 2014.