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

In a presentation on October 29, Alcoa Foundation awarded $30,000 to Youth First, Inc. to support school-based social work programs and services that strengthen the social and emotional well-being for thousands of Warrick County students.
Youth First partners with school districts across Indiana 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 equipping students with valuable life skills. Their presence also contributes to a healthier and safer school environment.
Research shows these protective factors are the keys to reducing and preventing anxiety, depression, addiction, suicide, violence, and similar obstacles for young people. The organization’s positive outcomes and tremendous impact are driving growth, with more schools seeking a partnership with Youth First’s to address the growing social and emotional needs of students.
“The Alcoa Foundation is very proud of its association with Youth First,” said Kari Fluegel, Communications Leader for Alcoa Warrick Operations. “Youth First and the Youth First Social Workers in our schools are changing lives every day. They are making our children safer, stronger and more successful, and they are having a sustainable positive impact in our community.”
Youth First Vice President of Philanthropy Julie Hoon stated, “Sustainability is a key focus of the Alcoa Foundation and an integral part of Alcoa Corporation’s culture and core strategy. Alcoa Foundation’s investment in Youth First allows us to invest in the mental health of young people today to ensure sustainable value in our workforce tomorrow. Working together, we can ensure the future is bright for more young people and their families in Warrick County.”

Youth First, Inc. honored community leader and former board member Dan Arens at its 13th Annual Breakfast of Champions event on Tuesday, October 22nd at St. Vincent Manor in Evansville.

Arens received the Dr. William Wooten Champion of Youth First Award at the event, sponsored by German American. In addition to recognizing Arens, the organization celebrated its hundreds of donors, supporters and volunteers with approximately 300 attendees.

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke proclaimed October 22nd, 2019, as “Dan Arens, Champion of Youth First Day.”

Dan’s passion for youth and the community is evident in everything he does, including raising a family with his wife Scherri, growing a business, and serving as a volunteer for numerous organizations. An Indiana native, Dan received undergraduate and graduate degrees in management from Purdue University and launched his business consulting career. In the late 1970s he moved to Southwest Indiana, where he co-founded Keller Schroeder, an information technology and consulting firm.

While serving on Youth First’s Board from 2004 – 2011 and continuing to volunteer to this day, Dan has been instrumental in helping the organization plan for healthy growth and sustainability. His current community involvement includes the Downtown Evansville Rotary Club, the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville, the Evansville Industrial Foundation, the Evansville Police Department Foundation, Crossroads Christian Church, and Youth First.Breakfast of Champions attendees enjoyed remarks from Brad Hill, Evansville Police Department Deputy Chief; Carrie Ellspermann, Old National Bank Chief Talent Development Officer; Brian Williams, Co-Managing Partner of Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn; Youth First President & CEO Parri O. Black and Founder Dr. William Wooten, as well as friends and family of Arens.

To be held tonight, Monday, October 21st, 6:00-8:00 pm
Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, 200 S. E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Browning Room

Youth First, Inc. is hosting a town hall forum to increase community awareness on the effects social media has on the teen brain, especially when it pertains to substance use and its consequences. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2018, 95% of teens reported they have a smartphone or access to one and 45% said they are online “almost constantly.”
Moderator Dennis Jon Bailey, WIKY Morning Show DJ, will guide a panel of local experts to provide insight to parents, youth workers, and other adults who want to know how social media is impacting substance use.
Panelists:
o Dr. James Schroeder, PhD, HSPP – Vice President of the Psychology Program, Evansville Easterseals Rehabilitation Center
o Lieutenant Monty Guenin – Commander, Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force, Evansville Police Dept.
o Brittnie Hughes – Social Emotional Learning Specialist (SELS), Department of Neuroeducation, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation
o Katie Omohundro, MSW, LCSW – Youth First School Social Worker, Vanderburgh County
o Lisa Hutcheson, MEd – Vice President for Policy and Programs, Mental Health America of Indiana & Director, Indiana Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking (ICRUD)
Local teens will share the ins and outs of the most popular apps such as SnapChat, Instagram, and TikTok, along with advice about how adults can keep children and teens safe while online.

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

In a presentation on September 10, AstraZeneca awarded $25,000 to Youth First, Inc. to strengthen the social and emotional well-being of students in Posey 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.
“AstraZeneca is committed to partnering in the communities where we live and work. We are grateful for the opportunity to support Youth First and the important work they do to improve the health of young people,” said Tanya Harris, Vice President and General Manager, AstraZeneca.
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. AstraZeneca’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 Posey County.”

Gift Supports the Social and Emotional Needs of Students in Daviess, Martin & Pike Counties

In a presentation on August 16, Grain Processing Corporation (GPC), Washington, Indiana, committed $10,000 to Youth First, Inc. to strengthen the social and emotional well-being of students in Daviess, Martin and Pike counties. GPC is a subsidiary company of Kent Corporation, headquartered in Muscatine, Iowa.
This school year, Youth First is partnering with 78 schools in 10 Indiana counties to embed 57 Master’s level 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.
“When we first heard about the presence of Youth First in our local schools and the positive work they were doing, it was an easy decision to get on board with our support,” said John Dudenhoeffer, Plant Manager. “Youth First social workers are in nearly all of the area schools where GPC employees’ children or grandchildren attend. This is one way that we can help support those families and the many challenges facing our youth today.”
The positive outcomes of Youth First are driving growth across the area, with more schools seeking the organization’s help to address the growing social and emotional needs of students.
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. GPC’s investment is critical to achieving Youth First’s mission. We are so grateful for their continuing support. Working together, we can protect and heal the hearts of more young people and their families in Daviess, Martin and Pike counties.”

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

In a presentation at Orleans Elementary School on July 30, Hoosier Uplands awarded $20,000 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. 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.

“Hoosier Uplands recognizes the immense importance and need for mental health services for at-risk children in our schools,” said David Miller, CEO.  “In today’s world our schools, parents, and grandparents must work together to make sure children have the best resources available to them to handle the challenges they face on a daily basis. We are very pleased to be able to support Youth First in its work with Orleans and Springs Valley Schools.”

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. Hoosier Uplands’ 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.”

I CARE Awards Breakfast

To be held Friday, May 10th, 8:30-9:30 am

Newburgh Chandler Public Library, 4111 Lakeshore Dr., Newburgh

The 6th annual Warrick County Cares (WCC) I CARE Awards Breakfast will be held to honor organizations, youth and individuals that go above and beyond to serve the Warrick County community and contribute to the well-being of its citizens.

Nominees were collected from around Warrick County in three different categories: Organization, Individual, and Youth, along with Coalition Member of the Year.  WCC coalition members chose the awardees. 

Nominees

Organization:

  • Castle High School Riley Dance Marathon
  • Logan’s Promise
  • Optimal Rhythms, Access Academy

Youth:

  • Mayce Wangler, Boonville Middle School student
  • Hadley Mayes, Boonville High School student

Individual:

  • Michael Perry, Warrick County Prosecutor
  • Brad Schneider, Superintendent – Warrick County School Corporation
  • Carrie Roelle, Volunteer – Sharon Elementary School, Attorney at Kahn, Dees, Donovan, and Kahn
  • Jeff Valiant, Elberfeld Town Councilman

County youth will present “Through The Eyes of Youth,” A Photovoice Project, in conjunction with Purdue Extension.

The media is invited to attend the breakfast and awards ceremony.

This school year, 1,339 students have benefitted from a new partnership between Youth First and Orleans Community Schools and Springs Valley Community Schools. Both Orange County school corporations have welcomed a Youth First Social Worker in their buildings to serve the social and emotional well-being of students. Youth First also launched two Family First programs for students and families in Orange County.


Youth First embeds Master’s level social workers and prevention programs in schools to help increase the hope and resilience of young people and their families. Youth First Social Workers are 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 76 schools across 10 counties in Indiana.


At Orleans Elementary School, Youth First Social Worker Brandy Terrell works hand in hand with students, parents, teachers, and school administrators to help youth develop a mindset, a skill set, and a social support system that builds resilience in all areas of life. Principal Jimmy Ellis says the value of having a Youth First Social Worker in his building is immeasurable. “We feel very fortunate to be partnering with Youth First to place a social worker in our elementary school. Having Brandy Terrell in our building working with students has greatly benefited our school. She has provided services to students to enhance their emotional well-being and to help improve their academic performance. We look forward to continuing this partnership with Youth First for years to come,” says Ellis.


Youth First Social Worker Kacie Shipman serves students at Springs Valley Elementary School and Springs Valley High School. By working with Ms. Shipman, young people are learning how to manage emotions, cope with challenges, and motivate themselves to achieve their goals. Superintendent Dr. Trevor Apple says, “Our partnership with Youth First has been such a blessing to our students, families, and teachers. Our social worker, Kacie Shipman, has 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 launched two Family First programs this spring for Orange County families. Family First is a 10-week group program designed for parents and caregivers along with their children and teens. Families build on improving family relationships, parenting skills, and youth social and life skills. The program welcomes single-parent, blended, and traditional families. Both Orleans Elementary School and Springs Valley Elementary School were excited to offer the Family First program for the first time this year to their families.


With a mission of strengthening youth and families, Youth First celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018. Youth First President & CEO Parri O. Black states, “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. Youth First is here to help, listen, and provide a systematic approach to prevention in partnership with educators and parents.


Our school partners, along with the support we receive from the community, are critical to achieving Youth First’s mission.”

The launch of the Youth First prevention model was the result of the Lilly Endowment’s Comprehensive Counseling Initiative for Indiana K-12 students awarded to eligible school corporations. Sustaining the services into future years will come from school partner fees and the community supporting Youth First with donations and private investment. Youth First will need to raise $90,000 annually from Orange County citizens to support its school-based social work program.


Black explains there is more interest for Youth First beginning with the 2019-2020 school year: “We are thrilled that Paoli Community Schools are prepared to partner with Youth First if we are able to secure the funding. To fulfill their desire for a Youth First Social Worker embedded in Paoli school buildings, we will need to raise another $45,000 annually. We invite anyone who cares about the healthy development of young people and Orange County schools to support Youth First.”

To make a donation to Youth First, visit www.youthfirstinc.org and donate online.

Gift Supports the Social and Emotional Needs of Evansville Christian School Students

Romain Cross Pointe Auto Park has awarded a multi-year gift to Youth First, Inc. to strengthen the social and emotional well-being of pre-school – 5th grade students at Evansville Christian School.

Romain Cross Pointe Auto Park is committing $10,000 a year for three years as a challenge gift to help launch Youth First Social Work services at Evansville Christian School (ECS) for pre-school to 5th grades. The school is also paying a fee that covers a portion of the cost, but Youth First must still raise another $35,000 a year. Romain Cross Pointe Auto Park challenges anyone who cares about the healthy development of young people and Evansville Christian School to support Youth First, too.

United Companies President & CEO Ron Romain stated, “Youth First provides an invaluable service to this community. United Companies and Romain Cross Pointe Auto Park are proud to align with an organization that does so much good for young people in our region. Having social workers inside the school is important to the health and well-being of our students. It is our pleasure to announce a three-year commitment to Youth First that will aid in bringing a social worker to Evansville Christian School. It is our hope that this gift inspires others to contribute to make this new service sustainable for years to come.”

According to ECS Elementary School Principal Susie Masterson, “Evansville Christian School partnered with Youth First to provide a masters level social worker for our preschool through 5th grade students in January 2019. The impact of the support to our students, classroom teachers, and families was immediately evident.  We love our social worker and the positive impact she has made on our school by providing another caring adult who stands in the gap for children!”

Youth First President & CEO Parri O. Black stated, “Youth First is thrilled to accept Romain Cross Pointe Auto Park’s generous multi-year gift to boost the well-being of more young people in our community,” said Parri O. Black, President & CEO of Youth First, Inc. “We are also grateful that this challenge gift from Romain Cross Pointe Auto Park encourages more donors to support our new partnership with Evansville Christian School.”

Youth First embeds Master’s level social workers and prevention programs in schools to help increase the social and emotional well-being of young people and their families. Youth First Social Workers are 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 76 schools in Indiana.

Gift Supports the Social and Emotional Needs of Students in Multiple Indiana Counties

April 30, 2019

Old National Bank Foundation has committed $25,000 per year for two years to Youth First, Inc. to strengthen the social and emotional well-being of students in Daviess, Gibson, Orange, Posey, and Vanderburgh counties. A check presentation was held on April 30 at Youth First’s downtown Evansville office.

Sara Miller, Old National Bank’s Southern Region Chief Executive Officer stated, “We are proud to partner with Youth First so that kids in our communities receive the services that they need. This $50,000 grant will help fund those efforts and ONB is proud to play a part in that development.” 

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 impact is driving growth, with more schools seeking Youth First’s help to address the growing social and emotional needs of students.

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,” said Parri O. Black, President & CEO of Youth First, Inc. “Old National Bank Foundation’s continued 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 these counties.”