Changing Indianapolis through supporting IPS classrooms

By Leslie Marling, IPSEF Intern:

Lesley_MarlingWhen I first started my internship with the IPS Education Foundation, I wasn’t sure how I felt about Indianapolis. I had moved back only recently to Indiana after seven years away, and all of the stereotypes of Midwest America were deeply ingrained in how I saw my new/old home. Indiana is flat. Indianapolis is small. All this place has to offer is corn and potholes.

After four months with the IPS Education Foundation, I can say that I have profoundly changed my mind. While there may still be an abundance of corn and potholes in Central Indiana, there is also a vibrant, growing community of caring individuals that want to make Indianapolis an incredible place to live for even its youngest residents. I have been so fortunate over the last four months to meet and talk with teachers, administrators and community leaders who are engaging with the challenges facing our community and devoting themselves to creating innovative solutions for our city.

And most importantly, I have come to believe that one of the foundational pillars of a bright community is quality education for all of its students. The students at IPS schools are the next generation of leaders, business owners, innovators and community advocates. Our entire community—the one I have come to enjoy, appreciate and serve—benefits when we create classroom environments that empower and challenge students.

Erin_GahimerAs I transition out of my internship with the IPS Education Foundation, I hope that you will open your arms just as widely to the next IPSEF intern, another Hoosier native who is returning to invest in this community. Erin Gahimer is originally from Indianapolis and graduated sum cum laude from the University of Dayton in May 2013. She has spent the past year teaching English abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and interning for Sister Cities International in Washington, D.C. She has a passion for issues of social justice and diversity, as well as working for change to combat social inequities within communities. In her free time, she is an avid sports fan cheering on her hometown Pacers and Colts and loves attending the Indy 500 every year. Erin has plans to attend graduate school in the fall of 2014.


Lesley Marling is the Development Intern for IPSEF. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Public Administration through Indiana University. Having lived in Missouri and Washington for the past seven years, she recently moved back to Indianapolis with her husband, John Mark, and their two hound dogs, Layla and Charlie.