Friday, March 14, 2008

Its Official I'm a Stalker

I discovered today that for the past three weeks I have driven to work behind the same car, almost everyday. It's a little weird considered that I don't leave at the same time everyday, since I now have a McDonalds coffee addiction… (It was announced sometime last week that McDonalds is actually beginning to win stock from Starbucks thanks to their gourmet caffeine delight) It's a blue 4x4 with a window sticker for the Indianapolis children's choir, yesterday the thought occurred to me, so I wrote down their license plate to check today. They probably think I'm stalking them.

Indianapolis is a quirky city, bigger then Denver by definition but much more sprawling. The city is broken up into neighborhoods, (Broad Ripple = Trendy Young Professionals, Speedway = Families and NASCAR Fans, etc.) I live in the Eagle Creek area, just south of the only wilderness in the Circle City, Eagle Creek reservoir, also known as the White Coat Ghetto, because most of the people in the area are medical residents and interns. So far I haven't heard any fun Greys Anatomy stories, just that the nurses torment the interns by making them do ridiculous tasks.

Where some parts of the town are really beautiful, others are showing the signs of age, with dilapidated buildings next door to beautiful turn of the century brownstones. My only compliant is the number of potholes around town; you could literally be swallowed up by one if you aren't paying attention. It doesn't matter how nice the area you are in either, the potholes are just as terrible, well that and the bitter cold, but I was prepared for that.

I had the opportunity last week to meet with a Young Professionals Group in Indy that works to connect all of the YPG's in the area together, as part of my research into engaging young donors. Indianapolis is made up primarily of people who are between the ages of 20-45, funny since most everywhere else has a larger population of boomers then millenials, but go figure.

For the most part it has been shown that people come into Indy to learn (IUPUI, Butler, etc), and start their careers, but they don't necessarily stay once their done. So young professional groups attempt to hold people in the area, giving them roots and a sense of stability. People depend on social capital to survive, have friends to visit with, drink with, or play cards with. People with social capital are happier, volunteer more, attend church more, and are more engaged in their communities. It's an interesting correlation and if you like non-fiction the book Bowling Alone has a really good explanation of social capital and how it effects society.

So in my attempt to build social capital I am going to volunteer at the Indianapolis 500, holding balloons in the parade, in exchange for my time I get a t-shirt and the exciting experience of watching cars go in circles for hours… I probably won't actually watch the race.

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