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Laura Ingram Receives First D. Susan Wiseley Youth Worker Of The Year Award
Updated December 9, 2015 7:50 AM
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Pictured left to right - Katherine Tyler Scott - Managing Partner Ki ThoughtBridge, LLC, Julie Whitman - VP of Programs, Indiana Youth Institute, Laura Ingram - Recipient, D. Susan Wisely Award, Susan Wisely - Scholar-in-Residence at MDC

(BLOOMINGTON) - A Bloomington youth worker has been awarded the first D. Susan Wiseley Youth Worker of the Year Award by the Indiana Youth Institute.

Laura Ingram is the youth program director at Bloomington PRIDE. Ingram was recognized with the award during the luncheon at the 2015 Because KIDS COUNT Conference on Wednesday, December 2 in Indianapolis.

"I am very honored to receive this award," says Ingram. "I get the opportunity to work with amazing youth who are doing incredible things in our community every day and I am constantly inspired by them."

Ingram is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with a history of counseling and advocating for children, youth and families. She also has a private therapy practice and teaches at the Indiana University School of Social Work. She has worked for Bloomington High School North, Catholic Charities of Bloomington and Stepping Stones Youth Shelter before arriving at Bloomington PRIDE. Ingram says she was approached by clients looking for a group to support LGBTQ+ youth in 2013, but couldn't find any community-based resources for them.

"I spent about two weeks being really upset that our community wasn't providing better services for these individuals, but then I decided that my frustration alone did nothing to help the situation and that I should put my concerns into action," Ingram says. "A few months later, I started Prism." Prism is a group for LGBTQ+ youth that serves more than 250 youth from seven counties, including nearly two dozen schools and universities.

Ingram's work throughout the years has transformed young lives. "She has helped me find my voice about my transition," says Issac, a transgender 16-year-old with whom Laura works. "Laura even found outlets for that voice so that I may use my own experiences to help shed some light on the issue of transgender youth." Issac says Ingram's encouragement led to positions on panels and the creation of educational presentations for schools and groups across the state.

The "D. Susan Wisely Youth Worker of the Year" award honors one exceptional youth worker, providing the winner with a $2,500 cash prize to be used toward professional development. The award serves as recognition of the service and commitment it takes to help improve the futures of Hoosier children.

"Youth workers are dedicated individuals who give of themselves to help shape the lives of the young people with whom they work," says Glenn Augustine, interim CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute. "The award not only recognizes Ingram's selfless commitment, it also will provide a way for her to gain more knowledge and skills to make an even greater impact on Indiana's youth."

"While I'm incredibly proud of the work that Prism has been able to do and my involvement with that, I want to keep growing and learning and making Prism even better," says Ingram. "I am excited to use the personal development funds given by this award to attend trainings specifically for LGBTQ+ youth so that I can bring back new and engaging ideas to Prism and better serve our members."

The award bears the name of D. Susan Wisely, the retired director of evaluation at Lilly Endowment Inc. Wisely oversaw the development of numerous youth service-related programs such as the Lilly Fellows Program. The Fellows established many organizations and policies aimed at improving the quality of life for Hoosier children, including IYI. Funding for the award comes from the D. Susan Wisely Leadership Legacy Fund, a fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation.

The Indiana Youth Institute promotes the healthy development of Indiana children and youth by serving the people, institutions and communities that impact their well-being.

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