Kathryn Martin Selected to Represent Community College Students in Washington, D.C.

EVANSVILLE – Ivy Tech Community College alumna Kathryn Martin has been selected to represent community college students of America at the 2010 Council for Resource Development (CRD) Benefactors Awards Banquet. The event will take place on Friday, November 5, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Martin was selected from hundreds of nominations from the nation’s 1,200 community colleges. She will be recognized and will deliver the keynote address at the banquet, where the CRD honors community college benefactors from across the country. “Ms. Martin’s moving and compelling story will surely inspire both our benefactors and all the guests at this year’s banquet,” said Polly Binns, CRD Executive Director, when offering her congratulations to Ivy Tech.

Each year, the CRD recognizes the outstanding contributions of ten donors who have made a difference to a community college. These donors are chosen for their dedication, commitment and pride in their community college. “Kathryn sets a valuable example of how, even after facing an enormous loss, education can help you overcome adversity and achieve your dreams,” said Dan Schenk, Ivy Tech Chancellor, who will be accompanying Martin to the event. “I think Kathryn was an excellent choice to represent America’s community college students.”

This Saturday, November 6, 2010, marks the five year anniversary of the devastating tornado which took the lives of Martin’s two year old son, CJ, and two other family members. While coping with the devastating loss, Martin committed to turn her grief into a positive force for change. She returned to school and finished her coursework, receiving a degree in Human Services, with a desire to be a child advocate, from Ivy Tech Community College.

In 2006, Martin initiated the process to pass C.J.’s Law, mandating that every mobile home manufactured in the state of Indiana be equipped with a NOAA weather radio which would alert residents to impending severe weather threats. CJ’s Law was passed and signed by Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniels, in July, 2007. Congressman Brad Ellsworth and Kathryn announced CJ’s Home Protection Act of 2007 in June 2007. This measure passed unanimously through the United States Congress in October, 2007.

She also spearheaded the building of a memorial park and playground at Eastbrook Mobile Home Park where she once lived and where her family members died. A playground was designed in the memorial to help the children who still live in the mobile home park feel a sense of normalcy after their lives were literally turned upside down by the forces of nature. She continuously advocates for those who remain in Eastbrook by writing to Congress about the need for shelters in mobile home parks.

On Friday, May 26th 2006, Martin, a friend, and their children drove to a small Indiana town that was ravaged by a tornado the night before, to lend a helping hand. With coloring books, crayons, fruit snacks, and juice boxes in hand, Kathryn provided a sense of peace to a family she had never met by caring for their children as the parents spent hours sifting through the rubble of their former home. This experience was the catalyst behind the CJ’s Bus Foundation.

Martin is the Executive Director of CJ’s Bus Foundation, named in honor of her late son, CJ. In the role of Executive Director, Martin coordinates fundraising, organizes and executes deployments of CJ’s Bus, educates students on the importance of weather preparedness, cares for children in the aftermath of disasters, and interacts with parents and helping agencies.

Martin has received the prestigious Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award, as well as the Mark Trail Award presented by the National Weather Service, the 2009 Ivy Tech Community College Outstanding Alumnus Award, and was recognized by MONTEL and Charming Shoppes with the VOICES award.

For more information on the CRD, please visit crdnet.org.

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public post-secondary institution and the nation’s largest singly-accredited statewide community college system with more than 200,000 students enrolled annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

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