Mary Goetze is committed to providing dignified solutions and assistance for incarcerated individuals and their families. As a member of the Hope for Prisoners Task Force of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, Goetze works with other volunteers to raise awareness and administer resources for community members affected by imprisonment.
On March 20, 2019 at the Women’s History luncheon, the city of Bloomington honored Goetze for her commitment to the improving lives around her with the “2019 Woman of the Year” Award.
When she began working with incarcerated adults, Goetze met many people with children whose lives had been shaken by the shift in family structure. She assumed responsibility for a program initiated by a nonprofit dedicated to advocacy, New Leaf New Life, called Read-to-Me that allows incarcerated parents to be recorded reading children’s books that are delivered to their children, who could find comfort in their voices. After Read-to-Me’s successful implementation, Goetze was committed to furthering the quality of life for affected children. “These kinds of things reach across lines,” Goetze said. “We do not want to have a divided community."
With the help of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, Goetze created another network of volunteers called Kids with Absent Parents in 2017. The group provides children with positive experiences rooted in arts activities, theater, and more. Simultaneously, it aims to provide resources for parents by creating support groups and organizing occasional visits by professionals who donate their time to coach families through challenges.“
Our community is rich in its ability to help people, and unique in its willingness to step up and advocate,” Goetze said, adding that the Kids with Absent Parents group is always excited to welcome committed and energetic volunteers, such as those associated with IU Corps. She encourages individuals interested to reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goetze, a professor emerita of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, began her community outreach with the development of the International Vocal Ensemble, the Indiana University Children’s Choir, and the Music in General Studies program, all in the Jacobs School. Upon her retirement from IU in 2007, Goetze went on to volunteer in the correctional facility of Monroe County, where her work led to the creation of a song-writing class.
Her leadership throughout Bloomington has sparked change in the lives of many. This award documents numerous past, present, and future accomplishments and impacts. Mary Goetze will continue to work closely with Hope for Prisoners Task Force and Kids with Absent Parents to ignite change and unite the community.