A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Mellissa Miles

Melissa-MilesBorn and raised in Portage, Indiana, Mellissa Miles has always felt an overwhelming dedication to children, both in the community and in her own house. Married for twenty years, with three children, she continues to be dedicated to her family and her work as a teacher.

Originally, Miles was attending Purdue University for a teaching degree sixteen years ago. However, the day before classes started, the Pastor of her church called and asked her to teach Sunday school at Real Life Community Church, and she agreed. For many years now, Miles has filled in as a substitute teacher, most recently for 4th grade at Jones Elementary School while she finishes her teaching degree. Mile will graduate from Purdue University with a teaching degree on May 17th.

“I had always been inspired by the elementary teachers my children had and I have always loved working with children, so when my youngest went off to middle school, I decided it was time for me to go back to school as well,” Miles said. “I really couldn’t see myself doing anything else. It’s so much fun and so rewarding to work with children, to be there when they have that ‘ah-ha’ moment. It truly is one of the most rewarding things in my life.”

Miles also devotes a great portion of her time to volunteer work, mainly with the Girl Scouts and the American Red Cross. Thirteen years ago, when her oldest daughter was in Kindergarten and wanted to join the Girl Scouts, Miles volunteered to be the troop leader for her daughter’s school.

“After that, it just kind of stuck with me,” Miles said. Now she is responsible for overseeing thirty different Girl Scout Troops in the Portage area. “I love working with the girls. It’s so much fun seeing the girls doing things that they don’t normally get to do.” Currently, Miles and troop leaders are planning a Girl Scouting Weekend Camp at Butternut Springs coming in mid-September. Altogether, there are expected to be over one hundred people in attendance. They will also be holding an annual Splash Dance at Portage High School, where the girls will be able to swim, do crafts, enjoy food, and have fun."

Miles is also very involved with the American Red Cross’ Disaster Team. After some convincing from her husband, who currently serves as a Disaster Chairperson for the Disaster Team, Miles decided to tag along and has been helping out for the past five years. Now, her oldest daughter is also involved with the Disaster Team. Together, the family will go on call for a week at a time with the American Red Cross Disaster Team.

“If something happens in the county – a house fire, or some other disaster – we are there,” Miles said. “Sometimes they need shelter or clothing, depending on the damage to the home or business. Sometimes we just provide coffee for the workers – anything we can do to help the people involved.”

Miles also volunteers her time for the Portage High School Music Boosters where she co-runs the concession stand for football games. In what remains of her free time, enjoys spending time with her family camping in Winamac, playing with her two dogs, and reading.