The concept of community has been traditionally defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. The term is frequent used to refer to a group that is organized around shared values and is attributed with social cohesion within a common geographical location, usually in social units larger than a household. The connection between The Indianapolis Peace Institute and the community, city and people of Indianapolis, was made possible through partnerships with several organizations and agencies, ongoing education programs, and a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors consisted of community members, representing the neighborhood in which the Institute is located, different community organizations and faith traditions, and the three Plowshares Colleges: Earlham, Goshen and Manchester.

Students spent time with the Institute by way of the semester or summer programs or the alternative spring or fall break programs. Some spent a significant time interning in the community, while others were only able to volunteer for a couple of hours. Yet each student understood the value and potential impact of their work on the community. The time that students spent in the community came as a result of the aforementioned various partnerships with community organizations and agencies. In that sense, local businesses were also a key element in the process of building stronger and better communities.

These partnerships enriched the continuing education component of the Institute, offering training and weekend workshops that created awareness around issues that affected the community, both locally and globally, and provided participants with an opportunity to educate themselves about an issue, meet individuals and communities impacted by that issue, and to understand the role that they – the participants – could take in bringing about change. The Indianapolis Peace Institute also worked with community organizations and agencies to provide training for their staff and volunteers.

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