Up to $20,000 in grant money is available to area organizations that provide services to Logan County youth through United Way’s unique Youth Allocations program. Applications are available by contacting the United Way office, 937-592-2886, or visiting www.uwlogan.org. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Jan. 9.
Requests for funding will be considered for programs that serve Logan County youth under age 18 in one or more of the following areas:
Treatment or prevention of drugs and substance abuse
Safe after-school and summer activities and communities
“We felt that these issues are all connected and they are all very important to our community,” said Terrin Bok, a senior from Indian Lake High School serving on United Way’s Youth Allocations Committee.
“We also know that having a safe community after school can help resolve drug and mental health issues that some kids have,” said Daniel Wilt, a senior from Calvary Christian. “The amazing potential that safe communities after school can have is really what excites us about our committee because we can see that a little money can go a long way in those types of communities.”
New this year, the committee is asking grant seekers to include ways in which the United Way youth themselves could help with the projects beyond simply funding them. A volunteer component is suggested to be included with each grant request.
24 high school juniors and seniors representing all five Logan County districts and Ohio Hi-Point Career Center are midway through a year-long leadership development program that serves as a mini-version of the United Way volunteer experience. Students meet once a month throughout the school year to learn about community needs and how United Way works to address them. With $20,000 from the 2017 fall United Way campaign set aside for them to work with, they then set parameters to determine how to spend the money, accept grant proposals from local organizations, and allocate the funds.
The students spent their first three meetings becoming familiar with the structure of United Way, its role in the community, and some of the over-arching community needs. The City of Bellefontaine and Chippewa Neighborhood Outreach Center have hosted the youth volunteers, teaching them the impact local businesses and United Way Funded Agencies have in the community. The students also helped staff a mobile food pantry distribution with Second Harvest Food Bank to get a hands-on volunteer experience. The students discussed issues they see affecting lives in their schools, families, and youth organizations. They identified the areas of drugs and substance abuse; safe after-school and summer activities, and mental health as the issues they would like to fight with their available funding.
United Way of Logan County’s Youth Allocations program is the only one of its kind in the region, giving students actual donor dollars to spend to address issues they self-identify as affecting their segment of the population. It opens their eyes to community needs, allows them to visit area workplaces and service agencies, and gives them the experience of serving on a volunteer board that makes difficult funding decisions.
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.
For more information, visit www.uwlogan.org or call (937) 592-2886.
Dave Bezusko is executive director of the United Way of Logan County.