Season 2 Episodes


37 - Réna Bradley

Réna Bradley is a designer and community advocate. Her experience working across the private, public and nonprofit sectors has taught her that design is a tool to develop not only places, but a sense of well-being, unity, joy and agency in individuals and communities. In her current position as Bridge of Grace’s Community Development Coordinator, she uses design as a tool to mobilize youth, residents, and volunteers who want to make a difference in their neighborhood. Réna is a joy to be around, loves her neighbors deeply, and is a person to seek out to get to know.


36 - matt kelley

Matt started a boutique design and advertising agency 15 years ago called One Lucky Guitar, and has been one of Fort Wayne’s most loved “doers” and brand champions for over a decade. Matt is the kind of guy that doesn’t let his ideas sit on the shelf and is always working to creating the spaces, events, or meaningful experiences that develop and shape the culture that he sees missing in various areas. Matt is an inspiration to many because of the tireless energy and “all-in” nature he brings to the projects that align with his passion for creativity, music, and meaningful events. This podcast is intended to encourage all the neighbors in our community that have great ideas, but haven’t gotten them off shelf yet, and to all those that are doing their thing wondering if anyone notices. We see you.

“If you’re the kind of person that likes to help build things, pick up a shovel, pick up the paddle, and go.. This is an incredible place to be.”


35 - Cindy Joyner

Cindy has been one of NeighborLink’s biggest fans and advocates for years at the City of Fort Wayne. Cindy spent over 15 years with Neighborhood Code Compliance as a customer relations manager and then as director for 10 years before becoming the Director of Community Development in 2018. Cindy is passionate about her community, her work, and the residents in Fort Wayne. Her and her husband have been active neighbors in the southside of town for decades and have both served in pubic service to our community. We spend time talking in this podcast about her journey to Director of Community Development, what all is part of the Community Development department in a city office, and some of the great and challenging things going on in Fort Wayne. Her passion and energy comes through and I think you’ll enjoy getting to learn from her as we talk about being a good neighbor in Fort Wayne.


34 - addison agen

“The Voice” finalist, Addison Agen, joined Andrew for a conversation about what it was like growing up in her neighborhood, inspiration, how she makes touring more like home, and what's it is like to be a "neighbor" in a band setting. Addison also reflects on her time during "The Voice" competition, how everyone on the show attempt to care for one another during the process, and what it's like trying to be a digital neighbor to so many "fans." All a good reminder that a neighborhood can be formed anywhere.

Addison will be performing a show in Fort Wayne with the Legendary Trainhoppers on Thursday, Sept 26th, at the historic USF Performing Arts Center. This show is going to be fantastic and 100% of proceeds will go to supporting our mission at NeighborLink Fort Wayne.


33 - inner city visit - louisville - part 2

Part 2 of this podcast talks to all the members from part 1 about their post-event experiences. Innovative financing, need for collaboration, and having a unified story are just a few of the overarching themes that arose in these post-event interviews. Needless to say, we were all taking in a lot of information and finding the aspects that really spoke to us along the way. Listen in to hear the inspiration and those little nuggets of information that have been missing from our knowledge bank that we pick up throughout the conversations in Louisville.


32 - inner city visit - louisville - part 1

Just under 50 business, civic, governmental, nonprofit, and philanthropic leaders joined Greater Fort Wayne on a trip to Louisville, KY with the hopes of learning and gaining inspiration in regards to neighborhood development. GFW has been facilitating inner city visit trips around the country for the past few years and believes that we have a lot to learn from Louisville as it relates to where Fort Wayne is today. NeighborLink Executive Director, Andrew Hoffman, was invited on that trip and decided to take Neighboring on the road in an effort to track with a few attendees on why they were going, what they hoped to learn, and what they walked away with. Part 1 covers the intros and anticipated lessons.


31 - kristin giant

Kristin Giant and I take a stroll through the '05 while discussing neighborly awkwardness, finding your place, and the pros and cons of social media connectivity and what it means to be a Digital Neighbor. Kristin and her family made an intentional decision to move into the 46805 zip code and have discovered a community of neighbors that have quickly become their tribe. From buying a home from the original owners to the dozen neighborhood kids that have a permanent kickball court in the middle of their intersection to knowing your neighbors are always watching, the Giant's have learned the power of being connected to the physical neighbors. Kristin also shares what it means to be "digital neighbors" with people from her past and people she's met along the way that are no longer close physically, but still present opportunities to be neighbors.


30 - Denise Andorfer

Homelessness and poverty can seem like issues that are far removed; the sort of problems that affect other kinds of people, but certainly not us. On this week's Neighboring, Denise of Vincent Village describes a difficult reality—that some of the people who rely on their services have lived prosperous, hard-earned lives, only to lose everything to circumstances outside their control. It is a stark reminder that we do not own our fate, and that anyone could find themselves needing a hand. Join us to learn more about Vincent Village, and the support they provide to our neighbors in need.


29 - Bernadette “Bernie” becker

Bernadette Becker is our newest employee at NeighborLink and is joining us as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America). We spent some time talking about what it means to be an AmeriCorps VISTA, her role doing research in the neighborhoods we're working with, and some initial learnings from our "What Makes a Healthy Neighborhood Healthy" research project. Bernadette's life experiences, passion for learning, and her desire to think through the economic factors of community development all contribute to why she chose to join us at NeighborLink as essentially a full-time volunteer for an entire year. Follow NeighborLink’s YouTube Channel to keep up with the Bernie On a Journey vlog, giving insight to what she's learning each week and find her deeper thoughts to those insights on our website blog.


28 - neighboring update with andrew

This is a special check-in addition of Neighboring due to me having surgery on a vocal cord and not being able to speak for a week. I give some quick updates on some projects, where we are at with Neighboring, and invite you to join us for our Be A Good Neighbor Week at NeighborLink. I'll be back in a couple of weeks with new episodes.


27 - the sweetwater neighborhood

Sweetwater, the No. 1 online retailer of music instruments and pro audio gear, experienced another record-setting year in terms of sales growth and job creation in 2018. They added just over 400 employees to go over 1,500 employees in 2018. With that type of growth, organizational culture is vital to manage that growth in a healthy way. Nate Edwards and Nate Burkhardt, two members of the sales team, share about how Sweetwater has been using a "neighborhood" concept for over 15 years to structure their growing team into smaller groups for relational connectivity and co-worker support. Caring for people has been a foundational ethos of Sweetwater since Chuck Surack started the company from a VW bus. It’s a main reason for extremely high employee retention and attraction to NE Indiana. Listen to hear how neighboring in the workplace can make all the difference.


26 - adventuring with our kids

Jason Eicholtz and his daughter, Kylie, haven’t let much stop them from enjoying the adventures they’re seeking for the past five years. Many of the things they find themselves doing are far beyond the comfort level of most parent/kid relationships, such as rock climbing, road cycling, and backpacking. Many of us let the logistics, lack of experience, kids attitudes, or the belief that our kids aren’t ready or old enough keep us from choosing new or challenging experiences. Jason shares how to overcome those fears, how to approach experiences at a kid friendly level, and the positive impacts that he’s seen on his daughter and their relationship. Jason shows us that our kids are more ready than we think they are, and can teach us a few things about being a good neighbor as we journey in the adventure with others.


25 - Jeff & Derrick - volunteer insights: challenging projects

Volunteering can be hard, especially when you encounter challenging circumstances or difficult situations when attempting to help neighbors navigating the vulnerabilities of their lives. I invited Jeff Shatto and Derrick Smith who manage and oversee all things projects and volunteers at NL to share a few stories and offer some advice on how to work through those challenging projects. The insights they share are relevant whether you're taking on a NL project or volunteering at a different organization. If we've chosen to volunteer to help someone overcome there crisis or transform their circumstances, we need to be prepared for the challenge that will be for them, but for us as well. With over 15 years of experience, we know that this work is often far more about our own transformation than what we're attempting to transform, which is why we love the NL model because that's what we ultimately want as compassionate or faith-driven people.


23 - Mark Schmidt - life after work

Mark and his wife, Geri, made a conscious decision for Mark not to search for a new job at 58 years old when his career of 31 years at the local General Electric facility ended upon the business unit he worked for re-located to a different community. Instead of moving with GE or finding another job locally, he made a commitment to volunteerism and community engagement. Mark doesn't really consider himself in retirement, just in a new career that doesn't pay in monetary terms, but in impact. Mark is an extremely humble man and I admire Mark for many reasons. I wanted to talk to him about how he managed work/life balance, whether volunteerism and service were always a part of his life, whether he ever questioned whether he was on the right career path, and what motivates him to be so involved as a volunteer. As someone in my late 30s, I have a lot to learn from guys like Mark. We also talk in-depth about the rise of men and women entering retirement at a younger age and how many are finding purpose and community as they transition via volunteerism.


pettit rudisill neighborhood

Part 5 of healthy neighborhood series - ep 24

Pettit Rudisill candidly talks about their part of town, The "06.” Laurie and her husband Randy have raised their family in Laurie’s childhood home after they moved back to Fort Wayne in 1986. Mark migrated to that area with his family for proximity to their church and the cost of living. It's often said that Pettit Rudisill is in the "not so good part of town". But Mark observes that once moving to the southeast side of Fort Wayne, that "People are people. There are people that make good choices and there are people that make poor choices. And yet, for the most part, people want to be known, they want to be cared for, they want to be liked, as we all do." Pettit Rudisill may be in the "Southeast side" of Fort Wayne, but it's a strong neighborhood that has been writing a different narrative than the one that gets told about it for decades.


Hoagland Masterson neighborhood

Part 4 of healthy neighborhood series - Ep 22

We talk to two residents, Arline and Jim, from the Hoagland Masterson Neighborhood Association about the characteristics of their neighborhood, the challenges faced by being more marginalized than most neighborhoods, and what they think makes their neighborhood healthy despite those challenges. Arline always wanted to own and restore a grand Victorian home and after locating one in this neighborhood, was encouraged by the realtor and her insurance agent to reconsider due to the reputation of the neighborhood. Jim and his wife happened to end up on HM due to their daughter purchasing a home just prior to taking a military assignment. They ended up moving into the home after some time and have been residents for almost 10 years. HM has some of the most challenging issues of any neighborhoods we've researched as Arline and Jim share. It feels like the rules are the same and they've been passed by for a lot of years, until recently due to the advocating of some neighbors and the speculation of downtown development. It's a fascinating conversation on a neighborhood fighting to be seen, heard, and cared about.


west central neighborhood

Part 3 of healthy neighborhood series - Ep 21

We talk to two residents, Ben and Tyler, from the West Central Neighborhood Association about the characteristics of their neighborhood and what they think makes their neighborhood healthy. Ben has lived in the neighborhood for about a decade and been president for the past two years. Tyler is buying and renovating his first home in West Central, but began his connection to the neighborhood as a renter eager to get more involved. Ben and Tyler talk about the history, growth, diversity, and some of the challenges within of one of the most prominent and attention getting neighborhoods in Fort Wayne. If you've wanted to know more about what happens behind the scenes WC, this is a great start to the discussion.


williams woodland park neighborhood

Part 2 of healthy neighborhood series - Ep 20

We talk to two residents, Lyndsay and Charlie, from the Williams Woodland Park Neighborhood about the characteristics of their neighborhood and what they think makes their neighborhood healthy. Lyndsay has lived in the neighborhood for almost 10 years and has served as the neighborhood president for the past few years while serving in a variety of other leadership positions. Lyndsay brings her administrative gifting and drivenness to make sure that all the initiatives neighbors want to see happen. Charlie and his wife started as renters in the neighborhood before buying a home two years ago. They have been involved since day one in all social events and association business. Charlie took over the leadership of WWPN in February. WWPN is one of the most socially and relationally connected we've been in. We see the impact of that social connectivity in their success with their neighborhood home tour, the amount of social events they have, and the intergenerational support that neighbors have with one another.


north highlands neighborhood

Part 1 of healthy neighborhood series - EP 19

We talk to two residents, Kay and Bailey, from the North Highlands Neighborhood Association about the characteristics of their neighborhood and what they think makes their neighborhood healthy. Kay has lived in the neighborhood for over 30 years and been extremely active, including being the neighborhood president for a number of years. Kay and others advocated for and led some of the most comprehensive public infrastructure projects in a neighborhood setting of any other neighborhood we've seen. Bailey and her family moved into North Highlands a few years ago and has quickly taken a more organic role to be active in the neighborhood by leverage modern communication tools, encouraging neighbors to get involved, and taking responsibility to create the type of community neighbors want. Their conversation illustrates what we're beginning to see more and more as multi-generational leadership merges together to lead neighborhoods.


18 - Invest in YOURSELF

Sam is a Fort Wayne native and developed a passion for serving others at the YMCA in 2012 when she started in a member services role. Sam is a young professional with a commitment to being the best person she can be by wrestling with the tension of when life, vocation, and purpose all intersect. Her love for coaching and developing others is partnered with a desire to strengthen community for all people. This is all allowing her to make an intentional impact to better lives in Downtown Fort Wayne Since as a neighbor and as the Membership Director at the Central Branch YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne.


17 - Finding A Friend

Meet Mrs Kolde and Mary. Two neighbors connected through a request for help who became quick friends. A cleaning project turned into an ongoing relationships that includes long conversations over shared interests, trips to beautiful places, and a true friendship that spans a couple generations in age. One of our greatest desires at NeighborLink is that you may find a friend in the neighbor you've just showed up to help. We get to learn how our experiences impact our friends through story, how Mary and Mrs Kolde found each other, and the lessons they're learning along the way. This story a beautiful glimpse into what getting to know your neighbors or choosing to engage relationally through your volunteerism can do if you're open to it. It doesn't always happen, but the opportunity always exists.


16 - tim hallman

Tim has been on an intentional journey of learning what it means to be a good neighbor for over 15 years. Tim pastored a small church in the heart of a socio-economically diverse downtown collar neighborhood for 20 years before becoming the Christian Emphasis Director at the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne a few years ago. In the past 10 years, we’ve had more conversations on the role of the “Church” or Christians in neighborhood and community development with Tim than just about anyone else. Tim is the connector, pastor, and friend that can lead you to hopeful, strategic, and affirming kinds of conversations that always end up with you seeing something new in what you're working on that will leave you encouraged and optimistic that you're making progress. Tim wants to be a better neighbor and wants to do that with you for the sake of learning together being better for us all.


15 - katie jo

Katie is Fort Wayne famous for many reasons. Katie is known around town as the person “Slinging Sunshine” and spreading joy. Katie is someone you find at a lot of local events scooping people up who are strangers and transforming them into close friends. She cares for the people she interacts with in a really extraordinary way. Everyone that knows her feels the genuine love and care she has for them. She has a way of turning brief interactions she has with people into long-lasting feelings of gratitude and kindness. Katie looks after everyone around her. Are they well? Do they have what they need? Can she do anything for them? Do they realize how unique they are? Off the clock she makes a point to be a cheerleader, encouraging people to keep believing in themselves. Katie pours herself out to people and gives it all she’s got. She is transforming our community with each and every interaction she has with people.



Season 2 kicks off with our staff sitting around the table talking about our work. We begin the episode giving a more in-depth overview of what NeighborLink does as an organization in the first few minutes, and then transition to a round table discussion with just a few of our staff members who introduce themselves as well as share about what it means to be a good neighbor from their perspective.


Season 1 Episodes

Andrew & Lyndsy-7.jpg

01 - Andrew Hoffman

Andrew started his journey towards figuring out what it means to be a good neighbor in 2005 when he showed up to his church ready to mow some grass on a Saturday morning. That first mowing project led to more projects and ultimately led him to the leadership role at NeighborLink over 10 years ago. Lyndsy asks Andrew about being a good neighbor, what NeighborLink is all about, and why he thinks this kind of work transforms community. Andrew also shares some thoughts on why NL is launching this web series. 


02 - ed fenstermacher

Ed is the quintessential neighbor. You know, that Mr Rogers type. Ed has lived in his neighborhood for 34 years and in that time got married, had children, cared for aging family there, and has seen the neighborhood develop in that time. Ed shares how even after 34 years, that he's still learning how to engage and ask questions of his neighbors before drawing conclusions. Ed believes there is always more to the story and that if we simply stop at our initial conclusion, we'll often make the wrong decision when attempting to address it. 


03 - Cyndi DEMAREE 

Cyndi and her husband started the Firefly Coffee shop 19 years ago after a professional transition and a deep desire to create a public space around their love for coffee and people. Since then, they've worked hard at creating the culture and environment that makes the Firefly truly unique. Cyndi shares about how the coffee shop can be it's own neighborhood, what makes their environment unique, and some tough calls along the way to create a healthy community for all that come. 


04 - Donnivan & Jordajé

Donnivan and Jordajé prove that our neighborhood kids are bright, observant, and probably know more about what's going on in our neighborhoods than we do. They're tuned into justice related issues, what healthy relationships could look like, what seems to be broken around them, and the ideas that could be solutions to that brokenness. You'll want to watch this entire episode to be inspired by a 9 and 7 year old. We were reminded just how broad a child's worldview can be and how we as adults have a responsibility to nurture that rather than narrow it. 


05 - Kevan Chandler

Kevan may have been born with a disability, but its never prevented him from living life to the fullest. Kevan has learned more about how vulnerability can create deep, meaningful, and long-lasting relationships with others. Kevan shares his journey of how inviting others into his life and asking for help has actually created deep friendships that span the globe. Kevan and a handful of friends have made a point to not let the challenges of a friend with disabilities prevent them from traveling the globe and exploring together. "We Carry Kevan" was formed a few years ago and is platform for inspiring us all to build meaningful relationships that go beyond the barriers of life.


06 - Jarrod Tobias

Street art and public art have been telling stories, advocating for important issues, and describing society's current state for as long as art has been around. Jarrod and his team at Tobias Studios have been exploring the role of public art as a tool to facilitate diverse conversations in a neighborhood context for over a decade through wheat paste, small scale stencil painting, and large murals. The events of 911 happened when he was in art school and sparked deep questions of how an artist should or could respond through their art. That question continues to fuel his desire to explore humanity, social connectivity, justice, and ask question after question in the pursuit of truth and honesty. Jarrod shares about the role of public art in the neighborhood and the ways its universal ability to draw people to a shared space to engaged, process, and interact with one another together. 


07 - Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson was an ordinary neighbor simply taking care of his own home when one day was called into becoming a neighborhood president because of what a previous leader saw in him. Jesse responded to that call because he recognized he had a responsibility to create the place he and others wanted to live in, not just hope someone else would do it.   

Jesse’s story brings up an interesting idea that maybe if we’re willing, we can create the change we keep hoping for in our neighborhoods and city. Jesse’s strong-held belief of inside out transformation is one of the core mindsets of neighboring. Sometimes we sit idle, look at the issues and brokenness around us we want fixed, and wait for someone else to come in and fix it. What if we didn’t look to blame or wait on others, but were willing to be the fixers? Right in our own neighborhoods?


08 - Zachary Benedict

Zachary Benedict from MKM Architecture takes us on a fascinating, informative dive into how architectural shifts over the last several decades has impacted how we as a society neighbor. Zach and I were introduced not long after I started working at NeighborLink in 2008, and he has been blowing my mind with the ideas in this interview and dozens more ever since. Every time we get together, his passion for well designed places that create human connectivity, that can actually improve personal well-being, and that begin to reshape the spaces that actually pull us away resonates with the fractures in connectivity that we see every day at NeighborLink.


Episode 9 - Ewelina Connolly

20 years ago, Ewelina Connolly immigrated to America from Poland on a quest to find independence from an inter-dependent culture. Ewelina shares what it was like growing up in a collectivist culture and the transition to our American, independent culture. Ewelina is currently the Clinical Director at Amani Family Services - a social service agency that provides resources like counseling or therapy for refugee and immigrant families and helps them assimilate into American life.

Ewelina shares some universal truths about being a good neighbor no matter what country you're from or where you live today. We all have much to gain from diverse, multi-cultural relationships. She reminds us that all relationships are different and must be established through one-on-one interactions. 


Episode 10 - Joe Johns

For the past 18 years, Joe Johns has been on staff at Fellowship Missionary Church and now serves as Senior Pastor. Since the church first planted their roots in 1982 on the edge of the Southeast quadrant in a cornfield, the culture and dynamic of the southside has transformed and shifted significantly as business and industries that once made the Southeast side flourish disappeared and left that part of the city in the shadows. As Fellowship watched the composition of the neighborhoods around them change, they began to realize that as a church, they needed to reflect their neighborhood. That the people represented inside their walls would be a representation of where they are in the city.

As an evangelical pastor, Joe gives us some context on the biblical roots of what it means to be a good neighbor, the challenges and opportunity that come with that, and the role of grace and forgiveness when it comes to being a good neighbor. 


episode 11 - palermo galind0

Palermo Galindo works for the City of Fort Wayne and has been a resident here for over 25 years. I’m sure it’d be easy to get jaded, seeing neighborhood after neighborhood, each with its own set of needs. Some of us might tend to get overwhelmed with all that needs fixed and changed in the city. But Palermo has kept his tender heart for the city and its neighborhoods and the people in them. 

Palermo has such a unique perspective of Fort Wayne and gets to see and interact with a much broader spectrum of neighboring, as he is the liaison between the Mayor’s office and the people by connecting neighborhoods to the resources they need for development or improvement. And he takes this role very seriously, a servant leader to the people to create a culture in Fort Wayne that is more than just a city, but a place of refuge and safety – one big community.


Episode 12 - Tiffany Gardner

Tiffany Gardner has worked at Ambassador Enterprises for 4 years as leader of Community Engagement, in which she manages several programs at that inspire and create opportunity for the team to be involved in the community. At Ambassador Enterprises (AE), she is part of a business that seeks to connect and engage with not only the nonprofits they support, but also seek to connect and engage with the community to impact the systemic needs that those nonprofits seek to solve. 

Tiffany and her team believe in the “mutual value exchange” which is a mentality that we as individuals can put into practice in our own lives. It’s the idea that we can learn from each other, we mutually have something valuable we can exchange to each other.


Episode 13 - Jenn Nickell

Jenn Nickell, the new principal at Lindley Academy, avoided the teacher life for several years, pursuing a degree and career in acting instead. But 11 years ago, she started substitute teaching and thus began her career in the school system. She’s found that inside the walls of a school lives a microcosmic neighborhood. She would argue even that kids understand what it means to be a good neighbor in a much better way, with much higher emotional intelligence than we as adults give them credit for. As an educator, Jenn pulls us into what it looks like to be a neighbor inside a school.


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