Eastside families learn life skills atop Martin University

INDIANAPOLIS — Dozens of people attended the first Breakthrough to Excellence Youth and Parent Summit on Saturday in the east end of the city.

The event took place at Martin University. There was a free breakfast followed by lessons on topics such as financial literacy and self-esteem. Then a resource fair closed the day.

Amber Lynch hosted the event.

“My goal was to put all the obstacles our community faces in one weekend, in one place, with all the different programs to try to create opportunities for kids,” Lynch said.

Kisha Wilson took her son to the top so he could learn skills not taught in schools.

“You need the basics, basic life skills, and then different ways to be successful as an adult,” Wilson said.

Lynch’s original plan was to host a youth summit, but in a Zoom meeting she held while planning the event, she realized the concept was even more popular with adults.

“Adults on zoom were like, ‘I need this. It’s good that you’re teaching our kids, but we need this. And then when the sign-up happened, I think 20 adults enrolled without children,” Lynch said.

Friends Darryl Hardy and Ken Morris went together. They wanted to learn more about the resources available in the community so they could use that knowledge to help those in need in their church. Morris believes that many people are unaware of the services available.

“Parents…they want to help their children but they don’t know how. They don’t know who to call or where to start for help. And I feel like places like this are a starting point,” Hardy said. “Maybe only 20% of people know that, so we really need to expand that percentage to really make a difference.”

Lynch organized the event herself, independently of the organizations. She received help from friends and family, but says even the funding largely came from her own pocket.

“Some days I felt like giving up. Because I was like, ‘Wait, this is too much for me,'” Lynch said.

But she can’t wait to start all over again.

“If I can save any of you from living in poverty or getting into a bad situation, then I’ve done my job,” she said.

Lynch hopes to make the summit a semi-annual event, with the next in the fall. She said it would be bigger and even better.