In a world full of dreamers and doers, it's rare to find that combination of both.
Elias Crim is a doer; someone who wants to connect the dreamers, the people with big ideas for making Valparaiso a better place, with the businesses and leaders that can make that happen.
But Crim is also a dreamer. A man with a vision of a Valparaiso where communities and leaders are working together harmoniously for a better society.
Elias moved to Valparaiso after working in Chicago and having the kids' grandparents in Kalamazoo, MI. In the beginning, for Elias and his family, Valparaiso was the exact equidistant point between work and family.
But it became so much more to him and his family quickly, most in part due to the strong foundation that Valparaiso had.
"To build a community you need a little bit of economic activity, a well built infrastructure, and a group of people willing to do their part and help," Crim said. "Valparaiso has that, and I wanted to help in any way I can."
One of his bigger projects to help is the brand-new C-Lab civic incubator: a real-world example of connecting the dreams with actions.
"it's a think and do tank," Crim said. "A place where young people, mostly in their 20s and 30s can come together and talk about ideas, and then talk about solutions for making these happen."
And these thoughts and ideas, in Crim's plan, are to help move Valparaiso in a direction where its citizens are taking actions to step up and build their community.
"These community-building ideas are kinda big picture stuff," Crim added.
But the big picture starts from the neighborhoods up. The C-Lab aims to help the neighborhoods in Valparaiso, each with their own historical flavor, have a sense of localized pride that will allow its residents to form an identity and take action to building a better future.
"We have neighborhoods here. and the people who live in them don't know they're neighborhoods, but they are," Crim said. "They have names and histories, and we want people to know that. We want to see block parties in these neighborhoods, people celebrating."
And, in turn, Crim hopes this sense of pride in the community can inspire The Region to come together, connect all their dots of positiveness, and create a unified identity it can be proud of.
For someone who is so dedicated to building the city of Valparaiso and Northwest Indiana, it is only fitting that Elias Crim get our ValpoLife Spotlight.
Photo courtesy of Beth Fletcher Photography.