Eight local social service agencies will split $15,000 in United Way grants. But perhaps even more valuable? The experience gained by two dozen high school students during United Way’s six-month Youth Allocations process.
The annual program gives juniors and seniors representing all Logan County schools a hands-on opportunity to see what it’s like to be an adult United Way volunteer. This year, the United Way Board gave the students $15,000 to spend how they saw fit to affect the lives of their peers in the community. They wrapped up their process this month.
“If someone were to ask me why it’s important to support United Way, I would say it’s because it helps everyone,” said Tara Neer, a senior at Indian Lake High School. “The people in your very own school, class, or maybe even beside you, might need help. Everyone needs some help sometime, whether it’s mentally or with the essentials. The easiest way to help them is through United Way. We help make miracles in the community for people who need them the most.”
· $3,600 will go to Second Harvest Food Bank to provide food in backpacks for children attending the Logan County Neighborhood Outreach Centers to take home on evenings and weekends this summer.
· Those same Neighborhood Outreach Centers will receive $2,721 to distribute school supplies in August.
· $2,346 was earmarked for Lutheran Community Services to use for its annual Christmas basket and food distribution.
· Consolidated Care is getting $2,151 to present drug prevention programs for youth this summer in at-risk neighborhoods around the county.
· Belle Center United Methodist Church will receive $1,582 for youth activities it coordinates in the area.
· $1,000 is going to the First United Presbyterian Church in Bellefontaine to help with their monthly “Dinner at the Pres” meals.
· Instructional supplies for 50 students in grades 1-8 attending the Summer Enrichment Academy will be provided thanks to $1,000.
· And the Logan County Libraries will receive $600 to provide summer programming for teens.
Students develop criteria, seek applications
After spending three sessions from October to December learning about community needs and how United Way partners with local businesses, donors and service agencies to meet them, the students developed a criteria for how they’d spend their funds. They then sought applications from area agencies. 17 agencies requested a total of $70,246, meaning the students had quite the task to pare down requests to the $15,000 they had available. This was done via interviewing agency representatives, extensive discussion, and analysis. There was considerable debate among the 24 students who ultimately had to come to a consensus.
“I learned that there are a lot of agency needs that I was oblivious to and it hurts knowing that some of them are forced to rely on uncertain sources of finance,” said Terrin Bok, a junior at Indian Lake High School.
“United Way gave me an enormous opportunity,” said Bradon Studebaker, a senior at Benjamin Logan. “I didn’t know as a junior what this program would do for me. I’ve become so proud of my home county and what I now see. Youth Allocations makes me feel more proud and fulfilled than nearly anything I’ve ever done. I love this program and I am eternally grateful for the chance I had to see my community and serve it.”
Interested students are selected to serve a two-year term on the Youth Allocations Committee in the fall of their junior year by their school guidance counselors or principals.
It’s the mission of United Way of Logan County to facilitate successful agency partnerships that enable a safe, healthy, and caring community. More than just a fundraiser, United Way collaborates with businesses, non-profits, government, and civic organizations to help meet the social service needs of the community.
United Way of Logan County, Inc. is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization and is registered with the BBB of Central Ohio. We participate in the BBB Accredited Charity Seal program, which indicates that we meet all 20 of the Standards of Charity Accountability and are noted as an Accredited Charity. The 20 Standards evaluate a charity’s financial accountability, governance and oversight, effectiveness measures, and fundraising and informational materials.
For more information, visit www.uwlogan.org or call (937) 592-2886.
Submitted by United Way of Logan County.