John Boner Neighborhood Centers

A long-lasting partnership

IUPUI has had a longstanding partnership with the John Boner Neighborhood Centers on the Near Eastside. The center provides multiple services for the community, and schools and units across campus are partners through work study jobs, community-engaged research, service learning and more.

Together, the community and IUPUI work to address significant challenges in the Near Eastside, including education, health and community development.

IUPUI engagement in the Near Eastside

A closer look at the Near Eastside


We wish to salute and celebrate our friends at IUPUI for the many ways they have deepened their partnerships with our Neighborhood Center and the community over the past decade.

Over the years IUPUI has become an integral part of our collective impact strategies to advance our neighborhood’s Quality of Life plan around the issues of health and wellness, education, community development, placemaking and research. They have walked alongside us and our neighbors as we continue our Near Eastside journey towards a more thriving, vibrant and just neighborhood. 

Please take a few moments to explore the many important ways they are making a long lasting impact in the lives of our neighbors!

James Taylor, John Boner Neighborhood Centers CEO
2018 Chancellor's Community Award Recipient for Excellence in Civic Engagement


Providing workforce training for health careers

Over more than two years, 78 people completed the IU Health Careers Opportunity Program.

The program, a partnership between the IUPUI School of Health and Human Sciences, and the Boner Center, was a federally funded initiative designed to provide disadvantaged students with the academic and social skills to successfully graduate from health professional programs.

IUPUI arranged on-campus site visits for participants, including the anatomy lab at the IUPUI School of Health and Human Sciences, and brought in speakers from the medical field.

As a result of the program:

  • 45 people enrolled in programs to get their high school equivalency
  • 10 got placements in the industry
  • 9 received certifications
  • 3 enrolled at Ivy Tech Community College for further education

Sherice Jenkins shared her story about her experience with the program.

I had to push myself harder because I had been out of school for quite some time. I knew no one else was going to do it for me. I had to do it for myself.

Sherice Jenkins, CNA

School of Dentistry provided activities for children and families in Excellence, Discovery, Growth through Education (EDGE) after-school programs.

School of Health and Human Sciences provides group fitness classes and activities for youth at the Legacy Fitness Zone.

The Indiana Kids program has provided tutors for support during Homework Cafe and summer camp programs.


Addressing infant mortality

Infant mortality is a key issue facing the Near Eastside, the community the Boner Center serves.

Best Babies Zone, a partnership between the Boner Center, IU Health, IUPUI, the Indiana State Department of Health and other organizations, is aimed at lowering the infant mortality rate by:

  • Giving out safe sleep materials and proper baby safety equipment, including pack and plays and car seats.
  • Providing training and materials to local child care centers, including safe sleep materials and equipment.
  • Developing relationships with child care centers in the community to encourage developmental screenings and knowledge of resources.
  • Training the Boner Center’s Early Childhood Engagement Specialist in Incredible Years, an internationally recognized curriculum that addresses safe sleep and other issues related to infant mortality. Future plans are to expand the reach of the program and partner with Community Health Network to facilitate the Incredible Years group at their eastside location.

During initial asset mapping and conversations with the Indiana State Department of Health, it was determined that having a WIC presence (Women, Infants and Children) in the building would aid in connecting neighbors with valuable resources. Shortly thereafter, a spot at the Boner Center opened up and a clinic was opened in that space.

The center offers multiple services, including breastfeeding support, nutritional education and other community resources.

"This allows WIC to better serve families in our area, and improves access to services," said Jon Berg, IndyEast Promise Zone Director.

Promoting community fitness

The School of Health and and Human Sciences' Physically Active Residential Communities and Schools (PARCS) is a health and wellness outreach program that provides low-cost fitness and wellness services to urban Indianapolis neighborhoods. Since 2005, PARCS has filled a gap that local fitness centers and schools cannot provide, due to limitations in funding and time.

At the Boner Fitness and Learning Center at the Chase Legacy Building on the Near Eastside, IUPUI students and residents work on one-on-one health and fitness plans, along with group classes.

All PARCS locations are staffed by students from kinesiology and other departments across the IUPUI campus who are committed to making a stronger, healthier community.


Learning community development

The Indy Community Development Network, a course offered through the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI, spent time at the Boner Center to learn more about how a successful organization operates with a people-first mentality and what that really means.

As part of the course, students toured the neighborhood and met with local leaders to learn about the successes on the eastside and how a community rises out of tragedy.

The Boner Center is a great partner. They are at the center of a lot of great and important work, and are an excellent model for how community development work can be impactful, both on brick and mortar and on people.

Marshawn Wolley, O'Neill School at IUPUI Director of Community Engagement and Strategic Initiatives

Investing in public arts

Funded with a $4.3 million Lilly Transformative Grant, the stretch of 10th Street between Beville Street and Sherman Drive, known as the 10 East Arts + Design District, will host many spaces to create, exhibit, and enjoy artwork in affordable, accessible, and culturally-inclusive settings.

With high vacancy rates along East 10th Street, the plan for the area emphasizes the potential of reinvestment in abandoned properties to increase opportunities for individual artists, art cooperatives, and organizations that promote and support the arts to locate and do business on the Near Eastside while making art more accessible to longtime residents.

The Herron School of Art and Design partnered with the community on a video installation project in a vacant building window along 10th Street, and are working  to make this an ongoing project.

An interdisciplinary team of faculty continue to contribute to the development of the arts corridor through the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute.