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Youth First, Inc. celebrated growth in Warrick County schools and honored Warrick County supporters and donors at its annual Heart of Youth First luncheon, presented by German American Bank and sponsored by Edward Jones, on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, in Castle High School’s Community Room.

Speakers included Gene Raber, Principal of Lynnville Elementary School, who emphasized the value of Youth First’s services and programs: “In today’s times, many children have a hard time simply being ready to do well at school.  Some students have experienced trauma… More children than ever experience anxiety.  Some families simply find it difficult to make ends meet.  Some families are in the midst of crisis.”

“Over the last few years, our society is seeing the outcomes of NOT addressing mental health, emotional needs, or supporting those individuals in psychological crisis. The Youth First Social Workers in our Warrick County schools provide a very important reinforcement of our schools’ curriculum, hard-working and supportive teachers, staff and administration.”

“It is my hope that we can continue to expand this critical program for our students so that students in every Warrick County school can have access to a Youth First Social Worker.”

Other speakers included Phil DeLong, Warrick County advocate and former principal of Castle High School; Lori Lofton, Warrick County advocate; and Youth First Social Workers and Warrick County students who have benefited from Youth First’s programs and services.

A record $342,000 was raised from the Emerald Gala Celebrating Youth First’s 20th Anniversary, held at Tropicana’s Riverfront Pavilion on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Nearly 500 guests enjoyed a live auction, program, formal dinner and dancing. The Emerald Gala, sponsored by Edward Jones, celebrated Youth First’s supporters and impact over the years and set the stage for the organization’s future endeavors. 

The Passport to Adventure Preview and Awards Reception, presented by Romain Cross Pointe Auto Park, was held on Thursday, April 19, 2018. The event was hosted by Hot 96’s Claire Ballard. Guests previewed and placed bids on silent auction items, and young people who have benefitted from Youth First’s programs and services were honored. 

The Don Mattingly Youth Award was presented to middle school student Alicia Phillips of Pike Central Middle School and high school student Michaela McGregor of Signature School. The Carol Lynch Advocate of Youth First Award winner was Ethan Barrera of Harrison High School/Virtual Academy EVSC. Toyota Indiana sponsored the Awards Reception. 

Proceeds will be used to fund Youth First’s school social work services and prevention programs available to students and their families across southwest Indiana at no charge. Youth First would like to thank all of the generous event sponsors, donors, volunteers and attendees for your support of these two 20th anniversary celebrations. 

About Youth First, Inc.: Youth First’s mission is to strengthen youth and families through evidence-based programs that prevent substance abuse, promote healthy behaviors, and maximize student success. Youth First partners with 59 schools across 7 counties to provide 39 Master’s level social workers who assess needs, develop and implement prevention plans, and connect students and their families to community resources. Youth First also offers afterschool programs involving parents and caregivers to strengthen families. For more information about Youth First, please visit www.youthfirstinc.org or call 812-421-8336.

Youth First, Inc. hosted a ribbon cutting on Thursday, February 1st unveiling its 20th anniversary celebrations. The year ahead will include an anniversary edition of the organization’s signature auction, an awards reception, and a celebratory gala. These events will honor the community that has stepped forward to support Youth First over the years and serve as a springboard for the organization’s future endeavors.

Featured speakers at the unveiling included Dr. William Wooten, Youth First founder; Carol Lynch, Youth First Board Member; Jim Back, Edward Jones Financial Planner; and Parri Black, Youth First President & CEO. The Southwest Indiana Chamber marked the occasion with an anniversary ribbon cutting and light refreshments were served.

The organization will highlight the Edward Jones Emerald Gala celebrating Youth First’s 20th anniversary on April 21, 2018, at Tropicana’s Riverfront Pavilion. Limited sponsorships and tickets are available. The gala features an anniversary edition of Youth First’s Passport to Adventure auction as well as a formal dinner, dancing, and other entertainment. This event commemorates Youth First’s 20th anniversary by honoring all of the supporters who continue to protect and heal the hearts of youth and families.

Prior to the gala, Youth First will host an auction preview and awards reception presented by Romain Cross Pointe Auto Park on April 19, 2018, at Tropicana’s Riverfront Pavilion. All are welcome to preview auction items at this reception which will also honor young people who have benefitted from Youth First’s programs and services. This event is open to the public and free to attend. The winners of the Don Mattingly Youth Award and the Carol Lynch Advocate of Youth First Award will be named.

About Youth First, Inc.: Youth First’s mission is to strengthen youth and families through evidence-based programs that prevent substance abuse, promote healthy behaviors, and maximize student success. Youth First partners with 59 schools across 7 counties to provide 39 Master’s level social workers who assess needs, develop and implement prevention plans, and connect students and their families to community resources. Youth First also offers afterschool programs involving parents and caregivers to strengthen families. For more information about Youth First, please visit www.youthfirstinc.org or call 812-421-8336.