Making Elkhart HOME
Stacey Anderson is the Development Manager at CAPS, Child and Parent Services. She’s in charge of messaging and fundraising for the organization that helps children, parents and families in a time of crisis as well as educates the community in the prevention of child abuse.
“We’ve been tracking child abuse now for five years,” tells Anderson. “And in 2008 Candy (Yoder, CAPS CEO and President) put a vision out there that we want to lower child abuse rates by 30% by the year 2020. And as of last year, they were down 37%.”
Anderson explains that it’s not only because of CAPS but rather because of many social services organizations working together to help ensure that children are taken care of in Elkhart County.
Elkhart County – and the City of Elkhart – have become very important to Anderson. It’s not always been that way.
She grew up in Grand Rapids and went to college there. She “loved” Grand Rapids, also beginning her career in nonprofits there, with animals and then to the ballet.
Eventually, her fiancé received a promotion that brought him to Elkhart. “And I kind of had a perception of Elkhart that was mainly fueled by my friends who were wanting me to stay in Grand Rapids, a bigger city – and stay working for the ballet company,” she explains.
“I did ‘so’ not want to live here,” Anderson admits. “I’ve always envisioned myself as a metropolitan girl and it was just devastating to me.”
For 16 months she stayed in Grand Rapids while her new husband lived in Elkhart. Finally, she joined him when their Michigan home sold.
“I was really kind of mad and depressed. I missed my friends and would go home every couple of weeks,” admits Anderson. “Then, I started working out and trying to meet people in class. I met Kim Chastain, the HR director for CAPS.” When a position was offered, Stacey took it.
“It was kind of like the second I started working for CAPS everything in my life changed,” she says. “I started meeting friends and met some of the most incredible people I ever met – lifelong friends. I love them. And the parks system is great - especially for people who love their dogs!”
Then she joined the Chamber’s Young Professionals Council and wanted everybody to know about Elkhart.
“I’ve seen it from a fundraising standpoint - a most amazingly generous community. And from the friends I’ve made to my fitness, from the night life, to the parks… I got to know this city,” she says. “I want to promote Elkhart and tell people how much I love Elkhart.”
Living in Elkhart is so much more affordable compared to Grand Rapids, she says. “There are so many job opportunities. There are three museums, botanical gardens, night life, the brewery, everything,” she adds.
Stacey and Phil Anderson are examples of the Chamber’s 500 Families vision: helping all organizations make the Greater Elkhart region attractive to long-time residents as well as new families.