I first met Aaron Story, President and CEO of Elevate Indy, when he was pastor of Indy Metro Church that met at the Athenaeum, a mile south of Redeemer, the church I pastored in Indy. Over the years I came to really appreciate the way that Aaron led Indy Metro into hands on service in the name of Christ. They were very active in serving meals to Arsenal Tech sport’s teams and the Tech community at large. Aaron’s involvement as an advocate for IPS, and the fact that he and Carrie sent their kids to IPS was a huge boost to Jenny and I personally. Very few members of the Redeemer congregation joined our family at IPS. He was my only pastoral colleague who did. We shared solidarity in that way.

When God called us back to Washington State, it really helped to know that people like Aaron and Carrie Story were continuing on the work of advocacy for IPS. A few years back, Aaron moved from pastoral ministry at Indy Metro to serve as President of Elevate Indy. I’ve watched, and cheered, his work from a distance. Here are some pictures and a video of the basketball teams that Aaron/Elevate coach, a snapshot of the Tech community, and the Elevate Indy family.

This video gives a picture of some of the work Elevate Indy does with young men.

One thing that I admire about Aaron and Carrie is they way they opened up their heart and home to not just their own kids, but to the kids in their neighborhood. A recent article in the Indy Star tells of their family’s care for vulnerable youth through fostering. https://www.indystar.com/story/news/2020/04/08/indiana-coronavirus-advocates-fear-risk-foster-children/5112510002/?fbclid=IwAR0B4SqEGmorYJ4jFWP3Cae8TMddFOLrdu0kyX7t8R0mbDBfE6-_wiAm88c.

When I started to work in earnest on the We are Family Documentary, I reached out to Aaron. He was immediately supportive, showing up a mini fund-raiser at the launch of the Kickstarter campaign. Aaron was also instrumental in connecting me to an Indy hip hop artist for the last song that we needed for the documentary. I share that story here. https://sunnyshorestudio.com/2020/04/02/meet-pope-adrian-bless-hip-hop-artist-on-the-we-are-family-sound-track/. When I began to recruit sponsors for the exclusive screening of the We are Family documentary, Aaron was the first person I reached out to. It wasn’t a surprise that he said YES!

Interview with Aaron Story

I recently caught up with Aaron recently to learn more about Elevate Indy.

Jason: What is Elevate Indy? What is your mission?

Aaron: Elevate Indy is an education and mentoring non-profit that exists to build long-term life-changing relationships with urban youth, equipping them to thrive and contribute in their community. We teach state accredited character and life skills classes during the school day and mentor those same students 24–7-365 outside of school for 4th-12th grade IPS students. 

Jason: When did Elevate Indy start? Sketch a little of your history?

Aaron: It launched at Arsenal Tech High School in 2016, as an affiliate of a national program started in 1982. As a church planter in downtown Indianapolis focused on the next-generation in 2006 the Lord grabbed my attention a few years in with the gripping reality of urban students in our city. That led to our church being involved with Arsenal Tech High School mentoring students, starting programs and serving when and how the school needed us. Ultimately that led me to assume the position of president and CEO of Elevate Indianapolis in January 2018.

Jason: What are some of the programs you do? Is there any connection to Tech students?
Aaron: We have 4 key program areas invested in Arsenal Tech High School & George Washington High School students, led by full-time Teacher-Mentor who represent the community and overcome many of the same circumstances our students face. Elevate teacher-mentors engage shoulder to shoulder with students in four primary ways throughout the calendar year: in-class learning, after school mentoring and events, post-secondary preparation, and unique adventure opportunities.

Jason: What excited you to sponsor the We are Family documentary’s exclusive screening?

Aaron: This is a story that deserves to be told. As a mentor, east side resident, public school and Arsenal Tech supporter, I didn’t miss many games that year and remember like it was yesterday the battles that year with Cathedral, Howe, Huntington Prep and so many others. It was an incredible accomplishment and line in the sand of what’s possible with our IPS athletes supported by their school and community. Elevate is proud to help Arsenal Tech High School graduate and pursue their future goals. 

Exclusive Screening Information

I’m honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with Aaron Story and Elevate Indy in the exclusive screening of the We are Family documentary. The date for that is set for June 13, 2020. It will be held at the Toby Theater at Newfields. There is a strong probability that we will have to reschedule to the the Coronvirus Pandemic. Stay Tuned.

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