A new Web site launched last week will provide information on all the best that the city of Valparaiso has to offer.
ValpoLife.com has been designed to keep Valparaiso residents updated on events that are happening downtown, festivals, school announcements and information on art and culture to be found within the city.
Chris Mahlmann, founder and publisher of ValpoLife, saw the need for the Web site after moving to the city more than two years ago. Mahlmann said he met people that did not know about community programs the city had to offer.
“I started to think we need a better place to tell these stories,” Mahlmann said.
He became involved with the Porter County Career Center of Technical Education, which helps high school juniors and seniors prepare for a career or plan for a college education. Mahlmann also became active with Public Education Foundation of Valparaiso, which helps create scholarships for students as well as grants for programs not supported by school budgets.
Mahlmann’s goal was to have one place where people can see the best of Valparaiso. He said ValpoLife’s purpose is “not just to be comprehensive. It is written and edited from an exclusively positive view.”
The Web site was officially launched March 23. ValpoLife was kept quiet during its six-month development.
“We wanted the product to speak for itself,” Mahlmann said.
Mahlmann said Valparaiso residents can find anything from tee-ball signup dates to information about worship organizations in town.
ValpoLife also receives news press releases from Valparaiso University, which Mahlmann believes is an important part of the community.
“I think it shows promise of being a one stop source of information about the community,” said Reggie Syrcle, executive director of university relations at VU.
Syrcle said ValpoLife is a potentially helpful tool for prospective students and families looking to find information about activities and events in the city.
The VU Athletics Department is also sharing sports stories for all 21 of its athletic programs.
“We don’t want to take the chance that the story won’t get told,” Mahlmann said.
Mahlmann encourages businesses to submit their own content for the Web site. The content should not just be an advertisement, but also something educational and helpful to the community.
Porter Health System was one of the first firms to support ValpoLife and submit content to help educate city residents.
“As the largest provider of healthcare to the Valparaiso area, we are committed to having a healthy community,” said Kelly Credit, director of system strategy and marketing for Porter Health System. “We see ValpoLife as a partner in helping us share our messages about health education and wellness with the residents of Valparaiso.”
ValpoLife is free to all. By creating an account, members are e-mailed the weekly newsletter, “Best of Valpo.” Members can also enter to win a weekly contest with prizes provided by the Web site and local businesses.
“I see a lot of people doing a lot of work to make it a better community,” Mahlmann said.