Dunebrook in Spotlight for 2020

Lakefront Career Network to partner with child advocacy group

Story & Photos by Jessica O’Brien for The News-Dispatch

Jeanne Ann Cannon’s biggest goal in 2020 is to make sure the community is aware of the mission of Dunebrook – keeping children happy, safe and healthy.

Dunebrook, which Cannon serves as executive director, was named the Lakefront Career Network’s Spotlight Organization for 2020 on Wednesday during the Michigan City Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual holiday party at Horizon Bank.

The Lakefront Career Network, the Chamber’s young professional group, selects a local non-profit each calendar year to partner with – promoting it through awareness, fundraisers and hands-on volunteer work.

Following the announcement, Cannon said she was honored Dunebrook was selected.

“There are so many fabulous not-for-profits in our area that do such great work and I’m so excited because LCN, the fabulous mission they have of getting young professionals involved in giving back to their community, is really what we need – a whole new generation of young people that takes responsibility for growing their community,” she said.

“What I’m most excited about is that they will enable us to educate not only their group, but the whole community, about what we do.”

Dunebrook was chosen from among nine applicants this year because their work closely aligns with the type of organization that LCN looks to support, Applegate said. “Dunebrook impacts a lot of lives in La Porte County.”

Dunebrook’s mission of keeping children safe is done in three ways, according to Cannon: teaching prevention in schools; helping families in the home, and through the child advocacy program in cases of suspected child abuse.

Spreading awareness of that mission is what the LCN hopes to accomplish over the next year, Applegate said, because the work of Dunebrook may not be as well-known as it could be, especially among younger people.

As for Dunebrook’s Day of Giving project, Cannon already has some ideas. An existing gazebo on the Dunebrook property could use some work, she said, including landscaping and winterization.

“We would love to make that a space for our families – a special kind of magical space,” she said. It could also be used by employees for self-care, which she believes is needed considering the type of work done by Dunebrook employees.

“It was an amazing year, an intense year,” Reins of Life executive director Dorota Janik said about the year-long partnership with LCN. “We had a staff shortage, it was a re-accreditation year … we always worry about having enough volunteers, enough support. But every time we felt overwhelmed, somebody from LCN was always there.”

Those interested in attending upcoming LCN events can visit the Chamber website at mcachamber.com or by following the group’s Facebook page. More information about Dunebrook can be found at dunebrook.org or by calling 219-874-0007.

Horizon Bank, which hosted the Spotlight Organization unveiling, also celebrated a successful 2019 during the Holiday Party.

Craig Dwight, CEO, said the bank has “a lot to be proud of over the past year,” including an expansion into the Indianapolis area, marking 146 years in business, and a trip to the New York Stock Exchange to ring the NASDAQ opening bell.


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