Digital Stories

Watch these digital stories to learn more about our involvement in revitalizing communities:







Cultivating Compassion

High poverty and unemployment rates, the increasing impact of the globalized economy, and diminishing educational and economic opportunities drained a rural community of its vibrant and unique local culture. Center for Rural and Public Services (CROPS) collaborated with non-profit organizations from Indiana, Ohio, and Iowa to address the distress by focusing on their youth to raise awareness of these problems to create long-lasting outcomes.




Planting Seeds

This is a story of the very first community revitalization project that I did with Center for Rural and Public Services (CROPS). Inspired by my mom and driven by the passion for revitalizing San Pierre, a small rural community in Indiana where I grew up, I started a community project involving local youths in the town. The youths were actively involved in the project, from learning about writing grant proposals, designing the landscape to planting seeds.


Preparing the Soil

Nobody knows better how to work the land better than my late uncle, Emil Smolek - who had farmed for more than 65 years. A war hero, a successful farmer, a philanthropist, a visionary, and my American Idol. He taught me the importance of preparing the soil to plant seeds; to lay a better foundation for our future generation.

View more videos on my YouTube channel.