MERRILLVILLE – Harry J. Vande Velde III, CEO of The Legacy Foundation of Lake County has been named Innovator of the Month for February by the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana.
The society is part of the Gerald I Lampkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center at Ivy Tech Community College in Gary.
Vande Velde wanted to expand the history knowledge of region school children beyond George Washington and Abraham Lincoln to include the inspiring stories of people who have had a huge impact on the world from this region.
That led Vande Velde III to design, publish and distribute a unique teaching tool for Northwest Indiana educators and schoolchildren. It’s called “The Legends’ Compass: A Collection of True Tales for Young Adventures and Dreamers.” He got the idea for a children’s activities book in 2010 when he attended a Legends Induction at the BP South Shore Wall of Legends at the Indiana Welcome Center.
Then new to the region, he was so impressed by the accomplishments and range of talents represented by the Legends that he believed every elementary student would benefit by learning about them. The Legends Compass was created through a community partnership, and is accessible to schools throughout Northwest Indiana via the Legacy website. Some 3,000 books were distributed to every fourth grade teacher in all seven Northwest Indiana counties.