Groups receive grants from Barker Trust Fund

By The Paper staff

Two area organizations received grants last week from the Pauline Barker Education Trust Fund.

Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne received $32,500, while The Learn More Center received $37,500 from the trust.

First Merchants Trust Company representative Chuck Huffman (center) prepares to present a check from the Pauline Barker Trust Fund to representatives of The Learn More Center. Participating in the event were (from left) Gary Montel, Jerry Perkins, Cynthia Johnson, Julie Garber, Tenille Zartman, Lucas Esch and Hal Job, who helped create the trust. Photos by Joseph SlacianIvy Tech will use the funding to provide adult education to adult residents of Wabash. The proposed project is aimed to eliminate barriers in enrollment, persistence, and completion for Ivy Tech students taking classes at the Wabash County Community Learning Center.

“The Pauline Barker Educational Trust is a long-time supporter of Ivy Tech in Wabash County,” says Joshua Blossom, director of the Wabash County Community Learning Center. “We are grateful to accept the grant, which helps Ivy Tech continue to remove barriers and serving the community by providing additional access to high-quality post-secondary education in Wabash.

Ivy Tech officials plan to use the funding for the following:

Hiring a webcast facilitator and purchased webcast equipment. This will allow Ivy Tech to offer live simulcast courses for students at the Wabash County Community Learning Center being conducted at another location. This helps the College meet minimum enrollment for courses and provides students additional accessibility to courses further along in their educational pathway.

Purchasing instructional supplies to ensure students have the books and course materials they need to fully engage in coursework.

Providing support services including transportation vouchers, emergency child care, and certification testing to eliminate financial hardships experienced by students.

Awarding scholarships for coursework in high-demand fields like CNA, dementia care, long-term care specialist, home healthcare, IT networking, and cybersecurity.

With this gift, the Pauline J. Barker Education Trust has provided the Learn More Center with $439,500 of vital support for advancing educational opportunities for adults in Wabash County.  The Learn More Center provides a path to help students attain their goals within an efficient, effective, and nurturing environment that provides instruction, guidance, and mentoring.  

Support from the Pauline J. Barker Education Trust has assisted many students in overcoming obstacles of learning differences, transportation barriers, and lack of support from home. Since 2010 alone, the Pauline Barker funds have supported 147 students in attaining their dreams of a high school equivalency diploma and many more in advancing their basic academic skills and moving forward to career pathways and postsecondary education and training. 

Community research indicated a need for programs to address adult literacy and adult basic education.  The Learn More Center has assisted 430 students with earning their high school equivalency diploma, retrained many in job skills after several employers left the county, assisted many in learning English, and provided adult basic education. The Learn More Center has two service locations, Wabash and North Manchester.

Educational programming is offered at the Wabash Alliance Church in Wabash and at the Town Life Center in North Manchester.  For hours and more information on enrolling in the Learn More Center, call toll free at (877) 363-6128 or visit  Services are confidential and are of no cost to students.

Pauline J. Barker, a life-long resident of Wabash, is remembered as the manager of Rock City Café, a position she held for forty-five years before her retirement.  Before her death in 1999, she established this educational foundation bearing her name to provide support for basic literacy education, adult education, vocational training, and re-training of youth and adults.

The Pauline J. Barker Education Trust is administered by First Merchants Trust Company.  The Learn More Center developed out of a 1999 Lilly Endowment initiative with Indiana counties that planned to build ‘Community Alliances to Promote Education.’ This initiative aimed to improve educational attainment and quality of life for Indiana residents.   

Posted on 2018 Aug 07