Sun King Community Partner Spotlight: Starfish Initiative

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Starfish Initiative is a college access and readiness program serving economically disadvantaged high school students in Marion County, Indiana. We are currently recruiting mentors and we hope you’ll consider joining our team!

We believe that mentoring is the key to improving the educational attainment and future of today’s youth. To that end, we match every student in the Starfish program with a college-educated, volunteer adult mentor whose job is to help walk their student into college. Thanks to the guidance of their mentors, 100 percent of the Starfish Scholars who completed the four-year program have graduated from high school and 98% have been accepted by colleges or universities across Indiana — and beyond.

Starfish was founded in 2003 by a group of local businessmen, concerned that many of the academically promising but economically disadvantaged students in Indianapolis were not getting the preparation for post-secondary education they needed to be the future leaders of the community. They founded Starfish Initiative — the name taken from the famous “Starfish Story” — to help economically disadvantaged students. Currently, Starfish serves approximately 340 students in 40 public, private, charter and magnet high schools.

Improving the educational attainment of promising, economically disadvantaged students is one of the region’s greatest needs. According to a 2009 study by America’s Promise Alliance, only 30 percent of urban high schoolers in Indianapolis graduate, putting Indianapolis as 50th of the top 50 cities in the country for graduation rate. Each dropout costs the state of Indiana about $3,000 a year for the rest of their lives, a great public cost, at a time when economic growth and development and a well-educated workforce are of paramount importance.

With a commitment to long-term, community-based mentoring, leadership training and college access programming, Starfish Initiative is uniquely placed in the community to improve graduation rates, post-secondary educational access and make a difference for students and their families — one at a time.


We get this done through the primary vehicle of mentorship. Mentorship is the core, the heart of our business. We provide one-on-one mentors to ambitious teens for four years of high school to prepare them for the realities of college life. In the context of that mentoring relationship we introduce college access programming such as college visits, personality and career-affinity assessments, scholarship assistance, and funding assistance. And our mentors are successful in their work. One hundred percent of the students who complete the Starfish program graduate high school and 98% are accepted into a college or university! We are similarly proud of our persistence rate: an extraordinary 78% of our graduates are sticking with it, still in college or have attained their degree.

Our mentors are college coaches preparing our Scholars to get out there, get their degree and take charge of their life. The Scholars will likely refer to them throughout their lifetime as the people who stood beside them – the people who believed in them – the people who helped them achieve their vision of success – the people who helped change their lives forever.

Starfish Mentors make a two-year commitment to their Scholar. In those two years, we ask that you and your Scholar meet just twice a month, then call, text, or email once on the “off” weeks. Not bad. A very high percentage of our Mentors ask to remain with their Scholar the second two years of high school – for the big payoff: high school graduation and college entrance!


Please consider filling out an application today to make a world of difference to that ONE scholar!


Rick Rosales
Match Specialist
Starfish Initiative
814 N. Delaware St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Sun King Community Partner Spotlight: Horizon House

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Helping Homeless Neighbors in Indy

For over 25 years, Horizon House has been serving homeless neighbors in Indianapolis.  You may have passed us on East Washington Street without even know it. Located at 1033 E. Washington St. we are a non-profit agency serving as a day shelter for homeless neighbors. We provide basic services & case management, employment training, street outreach and in-house collaborative partners – Eskenazi Health and Indiana Legal Services. For the dignity & respect of those we serve, we are a non-descript building. In addition, we are a secular agency to help all homeless neighbors with varying religious beliefs. Our aim is to help neighbors overcome barriers to end their homelessness.  This starts with treating all with hospitality, dignity and respect.

We welcome all homeless neighbors – last year we served nearly 3,000 neighbors. Starting with an orientation, we inform neighbors of all the services available – access to showers, restrooms, laundry facility, local phone calls, mail delivery, food, & clothing. From here, neighbors meet with a case manager to uncover other barriers they may need assistance with overcoming. We then refer neighbors to our medical and mental health in-house clinic, to legal services with ILS, our employment training weekly class, addiction services and many more.

Upgrading Healthcare Facility

Currently, we are undergoing a clinic renovation to integrate the medical and mental health clinics into a holistic approach to treat homeless neighbors. The new facility is called the Pedigo Health Center and should be completed in June. This expands the number of exam & consultation rooms so we can provide enhanced services to neighbors. We will then be able to treat the mind & the body at one location for better healthcare.

Want to get involved?

Consider volunteering – we need volunteers in our Employment Training program to work one on one with neighbors creating resumes/cover letters & learning to job search online; in the Kitchen area to make coffee, serve food items and be hospitable to neighbors & at the Front Desk where we need volunteers Wednesdays from 1pm to 3pm to work the front desk while staff are in meetings. Interested? Please email Laura Smith at

Be a sponsor of our 10th Annual Tackling Homelessness event in September at the Colts Training Facility with Colts players signing autographs.  This event sells out every year so hurry!  Hosted by #76 Joe Reitz & his wife Jill, The Hunter Smith Band performs, Jimmy Maddog Matis emcees the event, silent & live auction, barbecue buffet, autographs & photos with Colts players; special Chalk Talk segment with Colts players and more. Contact Mary for more info at (317)396-6342 or

Donate items – Check out our website for info on needed items at or email Mary to get on our eNews list – We provide all the toiletries for neighbors to take showers so always need  – travel size shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrushes, disposable razors, deodorant, gently used or new washcloths & towels and more.

Make a Financial Gift  – Please consider a gift to Horizon House to help support our work in helping homeless neighbors at . You can even set up a monthly gift on this site.

Buy a Brick – Horizon House has bricks for sale for $100 - $125 that can be purchased “In Honor” or “In Memory” of someone or for yourself as a way to show support for our neighbors. The engraved bricks will be placed at our neighbor entrance off of Southeastern Avenue.  Purchase a brick here; it is $100 for 2 lines of 13 characters each and $125 for 3 lines of 13 characters each. This makes a great Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

We’ve been getting a lot of inquiries as to why the color of our Fistful of Hops cans keep changing… The answer is simple: Because the seasons change.

The essence of Sun King is seasonality and in order to keep our IPA fresh and interesting, we created Fistful of Hops to be a ROTATING SEAONAL IPA. The malt base of Fistful stays the same year round and is designed to let the hop flavor and character shine through. Every three months we switch things up and showcase new hop varieties and when that happens we rotate to a new color to denote the change. We launched with Red in the Fall, followed by Blue during Winter, now Green for Spring and in July we will release the Orange for Summer before starting the cycle all over again!

A lot of people don’t realize, but one of the biggest issues with hops is supply. In order to make any particular beer, you obviously have to have a consistent supply of the necessary raw ingredients. When Dave and I were conceptualizing Sun King back in 2007 there was a series of events (weather issues and agricultural difficulties, as well as a warehouse fire in the Northwest that destroyed a LOT of the world’s hop supply) that led to a serious shortage in the world’s hop supply. We were fortunate enough to have a great relationship with Brewers Supply Group and they allowed us to secure hop contracts for our fledgling idea which at the time was going for a brew pub that would produce 1,000 barrels of beer a year. In 2010, Sun King produced 5,000 barrels of beer and we’ve been growing ever since we opened to the point where we produced 21,000 barrels of beer in 2013!

Because of the growth in the craft beer industry, hops continue to be in short supply. It’s not that there aren’t hops out there, but the specific varieties of American hops that are essential to making a really tasty American style IPA are still really hard to come by. People constantly tell us that we should make Grapefruit Jungle all year, but the truth is we simply can’t. We literally allocate every ounce of the hops we need to craft GFJ into making as much of it as we possibly can once a year. Every year we beg, borrow or steal more of the specific varieties and make even more GFJ and every year it sells out just as fast every time!

With all this in mind, in order to offer a year round IPA we came up with Fistful of Hops, our Seasonal Rotating IPA. Fistful of Hops rings in at 6.5% ABV and 70 IBUs bringing you a big hop punch that will continue to change with the seasons.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

As Ivy works more and more with bicycle parts, she strives to bring out the femininity in each piece, rather than the masculine and sturdy motifs she so often come across. Cycling is not just for tough and athletic individuals; it can be refined, delicate, artful, feminine, and therapeutic.  Ivy wanted that idea to come through in her work and to inspire women in particular to take another look at what cycling can mean to them. “A Most Lovely Sound” ideally gives everyone a new look at what cycling can be in this rising culture of diverse tastes and styles. 

Ivy's boyfriend was the one who inspired her love for cycling over two years ago.  She had surgeries on both knees, so cycling allows her to stay active, competitive, and involved in her community without further injury.  Her boyfriend showed her how to find a riding style she could become passionate about and has since been the root of her artistic inspiration.

To purchase some of Ivy's creations or just to check out her work, please visit her website:  


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Holly Sommers is an Indianapolis-grown artist, conceptualizer, and experimenter. She is also the mother of four big kids and squeezer of everyone else’s small kids. Holly is part of the creative team at the community arts organization, Big Car Collaborative, helping bring art to people and people to art. And together with her husband, she owns the small creative agency, Sommersville, providing design, musical and artistic direction to people they like who do things that they admire. An alumnus of Herron School of Art + Design and a constant student of experiences, Holly enjoys serving her community, and supporting the initiatives of developing thinkers and doers. 

Holly's piece, entitled, “Patience, darling." is her first attempt at figurative sculpture, and using eye shadow. The boats are made from very old, hard rubber bike tires, and nothing has been cleaned. The concept stems both from personal struggle and empathy for family, friends and strangers who know just how it feels to endure outside influences on your internal soul. "In honor of all who have been kept from someone dear. Some things take strength. Some things take faith. All things take time.” 

The artist’s proceeds from the sale of this sculpture will be donated to Indiana Youth Group in support of the simplest truth: love.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014


David's art is often a mix of various objects and parts all cobbled together into one sculpture. He primarily works in found objects, but also enjoys sculpting or carving parts for inclusion in his work. "Part of the challenge is taking so many different objects and assembling them in a way that makes the viewer look at these items in a new light, or creating something that at first you may not even immediately notice the objects that were used."

You may often notice that the majority of his pieces include wings or wheels as part of the sculpture, this has to do with David's love of travel, or acknowledgement that everyone is on some sort of journey in life. Figures are often seen being transported to some unknown destination or ready to leap off and fly away. They carry or pull at items which may act to help or hinder them. Some figures are seemingly free, while others may be bound by vice or burden. Some are dark and foreboding, while others are jovial and spirited. 

Many of the items collected for this art have stories or lead to stories or adventures that would not have otherwise come about. This is part of the adventure that goes into the work. "I have explored and gone to places that I never before would have imagined going. I have met colorful people and heard amazing stories. Sometimes the very parts that are collected hold these stories, while at other times it is the place that they come from. It is most always a wonderful experience along the course to the finished sculpture."

His favorite parts are items that come from a whole different era, when things were crafted by hands. "Pre and Post WW2 items are my favorite, metal and wood objects along with older ephemera. These items are becoming more difficult to come by or have become too expensive to purchase, but the hunt for such things is part of the fun."

David studied Graphic Art at Ivy Tech in Evansville, Indiana before moving to Indianapolis to study Fine Arts at Herron School of Art and Design. He currently works out of his studio located at the Stutz building in downtown Indianapolis. David is a current Creative Renewal Fellow as awarded by the Arts Council of Indianapolis. 

For more information about David and to see more of David's creations, please visit his blog: The Mechanical Monkey


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

“Dreams inspire Ideas, which are fueled by my passion to Create.”


Allan Askren is a  2nd time participant in reCYCLE pARTS showcase. He was born and raised to love art here in Indiana and current lives in the Indianapolis Area.  His childhood was filled with memories of brown sack hand puppets, drawings of all sorts of different sharks, and crewed renditions of cameras; made out of Dixie cups and folded paper with hand drawn pictures that spit out of the bottom like a Polaroid. That passion fueled him to seek classes and degrees centered around art. He graduated at the Art Institute of Indianapolis for Graphic Design and has worked freelance and in commercial shops for about two years. For breaking the monotony of technology as a Graphic Designer, he likes to go back to what fueled his passion for art for a fresh look at new puzzles, getting hands on, and solving problems is what makes Allan feel at home.

Allan's piece this year, “Back Home Again”, pays homage to this concept. Using all bicycle parts, except for a 4” piece of round stock, and a welder, he created Indiana and it’s major highways, that run though the Crossroads State. By placing derailleurs in strategic spots, he was able to run chain through a semi natural look of the highways and pass through the hub of “Indianapolis”. The piece stands approximately 4” off the wall to allow the shadows to create more depth to the piece. It mounts with four simple screws through original bicycle hardware holes. The finishing touches include about two cans of clear protectant and an Indiana Quarter over the center hub.

For more information and to check out more samples of some of Allan's work, visit:

If you would like to learn more about his projects (graphic design, screen printing apparel, or sculptures) or have any idea you would like to discuss, feel free to contact him via email at

Congratulations to Allan for winning "People's Choice" and "Best In Show"!

Sun King Community Partner Spotlight: Jameson Camp

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Help Us Change the Lives of Our Youth!

Thanks to the support of individuals, foundations, and the community, Jameson Camp is expanding our year-round Youth Leadership program. In 2014, we are launching Youth Leadership Mentoring, a formal, one-on-one mentoring program.

Youth Leadership Mentoring will provide 1:1 mentoring, Leadership Development planning, and support on a year-round basis to our teen Youth Leaders. A national study indicates that youth involved in formal, high-quality relationships with adult mentors skip half as many days of school as their peers. They are also: 46% less likely to initiate drug use; 27% less likely to initiate alcohol use; 32% less likely to hit someone.

We are now recruiting mentors to be positive role models in the lives of our Youth Leaders, ages 13-18. Youth Leadership Mentoring uses adult volunteers to commit to supporting, guiding, and spending time with a Jameson Camp Youth Leader for a period of at least two years.  The mentor will help empower the Youth Leader to make positive life choices that enable them to maximize their potential. Make a difference in the life of a child by volunteering just 2 hours every other week.

What does the role of a mentor look like?

  • • As a mentor, you will take the lead in supporting a young person through an ongoing, one-on-one relationship and build the relationship by planning and participating in activities with mentee.

  • • Help set goals and work toward accomplishing them with the Youth Leader’s Leadership Development Plan.

  • • Make a two-year commitment and spend a minimum of 2 hours every two weeks with your mentee.

  • • Personal fulfillment through contribution to the community and individuals and satisfaction in helping someone mature, progress, and achieve goals.

• For more information visit our website or contact Ali Danforth at / (317) 241-2661.


Can’t be a mentor, but want to get involved with Jameson Camp? There are a variety of ways to contribute to our mission and youth programs.

  • Donate! Help support our programs with a gift. We welcome donations of any size, but please note a donation of $500 (monthly gift of $42) will sponsor one child from a low-income family to attend a week of residential summer camp.

  • • Clean out your house or garage! Jameson Camp is in need of a variety of in-kind donations ranging from children’s books, sunscreen, ice melt, copier paper, gas cards, and more. Click here for a full list.

  • Volunteer! We have one-time volunteer projects available for groups and long-term volunteer opportunities available for individuals by serving on a committee, become a member of Unplugged (Jameson Camp Young Professionals), or become a member of our Women’s Auxiliary.

  • Rent our facilities for your own event! Outside groups have held wedding receptions, church retreats, birthday parties, conferences, staff retreats, and more. Revenue from rentals helps support our youth programs.    

Sun King Community Partner Spotlight: Cultural Cannibals present Carnaval 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cultural Cannibals present Carnaval 2014 at the Jazz Kitchen - The Biggest Carnaval Celebration in Indiana.

Premiere Brazilian Carnaval party in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 1st from 10pm to 3am at the Jazz Kitchen, 5377 N. College Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46220.

One of the most celebrated parties in the world, Brazil’s Carnaval is known for its grand scale, intense samba beat and the visual feast of colors, costumes, floats and dancers. This event will offer Indianapolis an opportunity to taste this Brazilian tradition. Carnaval 2014 arrives at a time when the eyes of the world are focused on Brazil. This Summer Brazil will host the FIFA World Cup and in 2016 the Rio de Janeiro will host the Summer Olympic Games. 

Cultural Cannibals' Brazilian Carnaval has developed a reputation as the largest Carnaval celebration in Indiana. The 2014 Carnaval celebration will feature:

* Brazilian Samba band- The IU Brazilian Ensemble - Featuring 25+ drummers (led by renowned percussionist Michael Spiro of the Carlos Santana band)

* Samba dancers

* DJ Kyle Long playing a mix of Carnaval music from Brazil

* Carnaval visuals by Artur Silva

* Special menu with Brazilian food - Feijoada and appetizers

* Brazilian beers, juices and soft drinks

* Caipirinha (the national drink of Brazil) $5

* Big screens displaying the Carnaval parade in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia

$12 advance discount tickets available at

$15 at the door

For more information please contact Artur Silva at 

317-332-5612 •

Who are Cultural Cannibals?

Brazilian-born visual artist Artur Silva and Indy native DJ Kyle Long are a force for cultural cross-pollination in the Circle City. They formed cultural Cannibals in 2011 to share the music, art and culture they love with fellow Hoosiers. Cultural Cannibals are best known for their internationally themed music events, bringing artists like Indian music superstar Panjabi MC and Brazilian psychedelic rock legends Os Mutantes to Indy. Silva and Long also pay tribute to local heroes through their limited edition prints and t-shirt designs featuring Naptown cultural icons like world champion cyclist Major Taylor. 

A native of Indiana, Kyle Long has always been interested in building bridges between his home state and ideas, people, and music from around the world. In 2010 Kyle Long formed Cultural Cannibals, a partnership with visual artist Artur Silva. Cultural Cannibals regularly host events and working with music from across Africa, Latin America and Asia. Kyle Long currently serves as guest musical curator at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and music director for the Mayor's Office of International Affairs' Sister Cities Festival.

A Brazil native, Artur Silva studied at the Escola Guignard. His work has been featured in The Netherlands, Chicago and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. He has been highlighted in the New York Times, Art in America, Forbes and other publications. Silva is a Creative Renewal Arts Fellow and has received grants from the Pollock Krasner Foundation, the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures and the Efroymson Contemporary Art

- Kyle Long

Sun King Community Partner Spotlight: Indiana Writer. Indiana Beer. World Class. Made in Indiana.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Kurt Vonnegut makes me proud to be a Hoosier. I’ve been reading him since I was 16 (when I was still merely a Land of Lincolner). I was visiting my older sister at the University of Illinois (where she lived in an honest-to-goodness co-ed dorm!), and someone handed me a copy of Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. A book they were reading in college—it was like literary contraband! So I long associated Vonnegut with the intellectual freedoms and social experimentation of college in the 1970s. Only later, when I myself became a transplanted Hoosier, did I learn that Vonnegut was a native Hoosier, and that was a lovely discovery. It made so many other things about his writing deeper.

We’ve been looking for an opportunity to put some Vonnegut onstage for a long time. His piquant drawing of character, his wry sense of humor, his affinity for dialogue, the warmth of his satire, the way in which his Indiana upbringing infuses his work with a sense of well-being and common sense—all these make his writing delightful for any audience, but a particular gift for Hoosiers. Now, thankfully, here we are, staging three of his early short stories, in a lovely, easy-going adaptation by Aaron Posner. These stories were written in the early sixties and originally published in the Ladies Home Journal and the Saturday Evening Post. In 1968, they were included in a collection titled Welcome to the Monkey House, which was, for many decades, my (and surely many in my generation’s) favorite collection of short stories.

These three early love stories may strike Vonnegut enthusiasts as rather on the tame side of Vonnegut, and that is true. “Long Walk to Forever” (which Vonnegut claimed he wanted to title “Hell to Get Along With”) is at least in part autobiographical. “Who Am I This Time?” springboards from Vonnegut’s fascination with the theatre—you might recall he wrote some plays. “Go Back to Your Precious Wife and Son” debunks the glamor of fame and wistfully looks at the cost of a broken marriage and its impact on children, something Vonnegut also knew about first hand. Vonnegut’s prodigious storytelling abilities and his mastery for weaving human story and character in winsome, humor-filled detail create a veritable smorgasbord for actors!

In hopes of inspiring a Vonnegut reading renaissance, I’d like to recommend my favorite recent collections: God Bless You, Doctor Kevorkian (1999), featuring radio shows Vonnegut wrote for NPR, makes me laugh so hard, it’s dangerous. A Man without a Country (2005) shares Vonnegut’s thoughts on the condition of the American soul; and the posthumously published If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? Advice for the Young (2013) focuses on speeches Vonnegut gave at various graduations and awards ceremonies. These books, as with all of his collections, inspire raucous laughter; they are easy to dip into and hard to put down. You should run out and buy them at the Vonnegut Memorial Library or Indy Reads, two partners in our current enterprise. Thanks to them both!

We hope to see you at the IRT for Kurt Vonnegut’s Who Am I This Time? (& Other Conundrums of Love), which starts performances next week (January 28) and runs through February 23. For more information and to purchase tickets, please go to our web site, 

Janet Allen

Executive Artistic Director