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Grant to Provide Expanded Mental Health Support and Substance Misuse Prevention for Morgan County Youth

The Kendrick Foundation continues to invest in the health and well-being of Morgan County youth and families. A grant award of $100,000 was recently presented to Youth First, Inc. to provide mental health support and substance misuse prevention.  

The Kendrick Foundation invests in conditions that support the physical and mental health of all Morgan County residents and is leading health initiatives to address mental health, substance misuse, physical activity and nutrition.

Keylee Wright, Executive Director of the Kendrick Foundation, states, “We are more committed than ever to providing additional mental health services, resources and supports to our communities, schools, families, and youth during this unprecedented time of need. Since 2018, the Kendrick Foundation has invested in Youth First programs, and we continue to see results. We are truly grateful for the work of Youth First and the support of our Morgan County schools to make these vital programs and services more accessible for our youth and families.”

The grant to Youth First will allow for continued mental health support for students in selected Martinsville and Mooresville schools. Youth First partners with 125 schools across 14 Indiana counties to embed prevention programs and over 90 skilled mental health professionals (primarily master’s level social workers) in school buildings, where they provide extra mental health support for students and prevention coaching for parents and teachers. Youth First Mental Health Professionals build caring relationships, foster readiness for positive change, and boost resiliency along with other valuable life skills.

Research shows these protective factors are the keys to effective prevention of negative outcomes for young people. The organization’s positive work and strategies are driving growth, with more schools seeking Youth First’s help to address the growing need for mental health supports for students.

Kendrick Foundation has awarded $61,476 to Youth First, Inc. to strengthen the mental health and well-being of students in Morgan County.

The grant will allow continued support for students at Bell Intermediate Academy in Martinsville and Paul Hadley Middle School in Mooresville. Youth First partners with 107 schools across 13 Indiana counties to embed skilled social workers in school buildings, where they become specialized mentors for students and prevention coaches for parents and teachers. Youth First Social Workers build caring relationships, foster readiness for positive change, and boost resiliency along with other valuable life skills.

Research shows these protective factors are the keys to effective prevention of negative outcomes for young people. The organization’s positive work and strategies are driving growth, with more schools seeking Youth First’s help to address the growing need for mental health supports for students.

“Since 2018, the Kendrick Foundation has invested in Youth First programs,” stated Keylee Wright, Kendrick Foundation Executive Director, “and we are seeing results. Last year, Youth First Social Workers managing caseloads in two Morgan County middle schools achieved 100% follow through on student referrals for outside mental health support, and the spring Strengthening Families program facilitated by Youth First saw seven families (26 participants) achieve 100% completion of the 10-week program.”

Youth First President & CEO Parri O. Black stated, “Our children are growing up in a complex and challenging world that puts them at greater risk for substance use, suicide, violence and harmful behaviors, and the stress of the pandemic will affect the mental health of our youth for years to come. The continued investment of the Kendrick Foundation is critical to achieving Youth First’s mission of cared-for kids. Working together, we can provide Morgan County youth with the support and coping tools needed to become thriving adults.”

Gift Supports the Social and Emotional Needs of Students in Morgan County

Kendrick Foundation has awarded $56,196 to Youth First, Inc. to strengthen the social and emotional well-being of students in Morgan County.

Youth First partners with school districts to embed social workers in school buildings, where they become specialized mentors for students and prevention coaches for parents and teachers. Youth First Social Workers build caring relationships, foster readiness for positive change, and boost resiliency along with other valuable life skills.

Research shows these protective factors are the keys to preventing addiction, suicide, violence, and similar outcomes for young people. The organization’s positive outcomes are driving growth, with more schools seeking Youth First’s help to address the growing social and emotional needs of students.

“Youth First Social Workers are the lighthouses for many students in Morgan County,” stated Keylee Wright, Kendrick Foundation Executive Director. “They choose to see the opportunities instead of the circumstances with these students and their families. We’re proud to be a partner in this effort to improve the health and well-being of Morgan County residents.”

Youth First President & CEO Parri O. Black stated, “Our children are growing up in a complex and challenging world that puts them at greater risk for substance use, suicide, violence and harmful behaviors. The investment of the Kendrick Foundation is critical to achieving Youth First’s mission. Working together, we can protect and heal the hearts of more young people and their families in Morgan County.”

The Kendrick Foundation has awarded a $15,160 grant to Youth First, Inc. to strengthen the social and emotional well-being of students in Mooresville and Martinsville schools. This investment will help Youth First expand its highly impactful model of prevention to reach more youth and families in Morgan County.

In partnership with school districts, Youth First embeds Master’s level social workers to become specialized mentors for students and prevention coaches for parents and teachers. Youth First Social Workers build caring relationships, foster readiness for positive change, and boost resiliency along with other valuable life skills. Research shows these are the keys to preventing addiction, suicide, violence, school dropouts and more.

Kendrick Foundation President Greg McKelfresh sums up the Foundation’s motivation for supporting Youth First:  “Children in Morgan County are our greatest asset in building a brighter future for this community. However, so many of them are struggling due to circumstances out of their control, whether it’s poverty, homelessness, addictions, mental illness, etc. We need solutions to help them and their families break these destructive cycles. We’re excited to partner with Youth First as they provide additional people and resources to tackle these issues head-on and build stronger, healthier and self-reliant families.”

“The Kendrick Foundation’s investment is critical to growing Youth First’s life-changing work in Morgan County. Working together, we can protect and heal the hearts of more young people and their families,” said Parri O. Black, Youth First’s President & CEO.

Youth First launches services this month at Paul Hadley Middle School in Mooresville with support from the Kendrick Foundation, Home Bank and the school district.  Youth First began serving Martinsville’s Bell Academy in August with funding from the Lilly Endowment’s Comprehensive Counseling Initiative, the Governor’s Director of Drug Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement, and the school district.

“Kendrick’s grant goes a long way toward helping match Home Bank’s $30,000 challenge gift, but we must still raise another $15,000,” said Black. “We invite all community members to support Youth First’s life-saving work.”

Gifts designated for Youth First in Morgan County may be made online at youthfirstinc.org/morgan or by mail to 111 SE Third Street, Suite 405, Evansville, IN, 47708.  To learn more, contact Regional Development Officer Adam Novello at 574-286-3093 or anovello@youthfirstinc.org.