Carmen E. DeRusha is an Extension Educator in the area of Economic and Community Development at the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service in Marion County. Carmen,originally from Colombia, moved to the USA in 1986. She has worked successfully in the area of neighborhood development in two urban neighborhoods in the City of Indianapolis. Most recently, she has focused her time working with the Hispanic community in Indiana.
Carmen served a the Executive Director of La Plaza from March of 2003 to December 2004, a partnership organization of The Hispanic Center, Fiesta Indianapolis, The Indianapolis Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Hispanic Education Center. In October of 2004 she was asked to serve as the Interim Director of the Hispanic Center a 34 year old Hispanic Organization dedicated to serve the social and health needs of Hispanics In Marion County.
Carmen believes very strongly in the power of people working together towards a shared vision. She would like to contribute to the creation of community-based organizations within the Hispanic community as a way to strengthen the presence and positive influence of the people of Hispanic origin in the community at large.
Carmen has served as a volunteer on the Board of Directors of Fiesta Indianapolis, Inc.,four years as President; the Board of Directors of Marion County Commission on Youth,Imagine Campaign for the Marion County Public Library and La Plaza Inc., the Mayor’s Latino Commission and the American Pianists Association. In 2002 Governor Frank O’Bannon appointed Carmen to the Indiana Heritage and Cultural Council.
Currently she is Board member of the Goodwill Industries Foundation, the Hawthorne Community Center, President of Sociedad de Amigos Colombia, SADCO, member of the Local Initiative Support Corporation, LISC Advisory Committee and the IndyNeighborhoods Implementation and Demonstration Working Groups.
Carmen is passionate about building bridges of understanding between Latinos and the community at large. Carmen has provided leadership in organizing and implementing the following events: Fiesta Indianapolis, 1999 to 2002, co-chair of the Latino Summit “The Changing Face of Indiana from 2001 to 2004, Latin American Symphonic Music Concerts from 1997 to 2007 and as chair of the First Conference on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, 2006.
As a guest speaker, Carmen addresses the topics of diversity, culture and Latino issues in general.
In 2002, Carmen received the Indiana Extension Educators Association Innovator Award for Leadership and Community Development. She has also received a Cultural Vision Award from NUVO news weekly, the Hispanic-American Service Award from the Hispanic Education Center and a “Paul B. Crooks Award” from Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service.
Carmen is a participant in the National Training Laboratory, Diversity Practitioner’s Certification Training.
Carmen can be contacted by phone at 317-275-9305, Ext 253 or by email.