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Orange County REMC has awarded $4,500 to Youth First, Inc. to strengthen the social and emotional well-being of students in Orange 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. Their presence also contributes to a healthier and safer school environment. Youth First currently partners with 90 schools across 11 counties in Indiana. 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.

Within Orange County, Youth First partners with Springs Valley Community Schools, Orleans Community Schools, and Paoli Community Schools. Over ??? Orange County students have access to Youth First’s programs and services.

Dr. Trevor Apple, Superintendent of Springs Valley Community Schools, states: “Our partnership with Youth First has been such a blessing to our students, families, and teachers. Our Youth First Social Workers have made a positive impact on the social and behavioral well-being of our students. Teachers and administrators are thrilled with the partnership we have developed with Youth First.”

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. Orange County REMC’s investment 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 Orange County.”

To learn more about Youth First services and programs or to make a donation to Youth First, visit youthfirstinc.org.