INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis crime-fighting model is about to be expanded after a whirlwind week nearly 20 years in the making.
On Friday, the Rev. Charles Harrison could barely hold back his excitement.
“This has been a week,” Harrison said. “I was telling my wife, ‘we’ve been doing this for 20 years, we have never had a week like this!’
This week Harrison’s group, the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition, learned it would receive $500,000 from the state. It didn’t stop there.
Vice President Mike Pence was the keynote speaker at the group’s annual luncheon Friday.
“I’m just here today, as a fellow Hoosier, to pay a debt of gratitude to all of you,” Pence said.
An organization he knows well. About 13 months ago, Pence dawned the group’s signature bright, neon, yellow vests.
“As we walked those streets, we heard stories,” Pence said. “We heard stories from families and sorrows and resolve. We heard the stories of redemption and second chances. We saw firsthand the power of love and faith.”
The Ten Point Coalition tackles crime by walking streets, hosting jobs fairs and connecting with young people. It started in Indianapolis in 1999, but is now in other Indiana cities and heading to more in the nation.
“We’re going to Evansville,” Harrison said. “We’re going to East Chicago. We’re going back to Fort Wayne.”
Here’s how the luncheon helped. People paid as much as $25,000 per table. During the event, they also contributed more by leaving a donation in an envelope.
Between state grants, and the luncheon, the group is ready to hit the ground running. A crazy few days Harrison knows will be hard to top.
“I don’t know if we can,” Harrison said. “I don’t know if we can, but we’re certainly going to try.”
The expansion isn’t just tied to Indiana. The Ten Point Coalition is expanding around the region.
Harrison is talking to officials in Nashville, Tennessee, and Cleveland. He expanded the program into Louisville, Kentucky, last year.
Pence portrait unveiling
The speech was not Pence’s only stop in Indianapolis. He also attended a Statehouse ceremony where his official state portrait was unveiled, which the vice president said left him “deeply humbled.”
Pence’s portrait shows the one-term Republican seated on top of his desk, with an open Bible and a family picture to his right. A stack of law books is to his left, with Indiana and U.S. flags in the background.
Pence is also wearing a blue and gold tie — designed by wife Karen Pence — that is based on the state’s logo.