Support Youth First by purchasing half pot raffle tickets now! The winner will be drawn on September 5, 2021. Raffle tickets can be purchased from Youth First staff and board members, at the Youth First office Monday through Friday 8am to 12pm, or by filling out the contact form here.

On June 18, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation presented $78,574 to Youth First, Inc. The grant provided HIPAA-compliant Zoom licenses and certification training in telehealth for Youth First’s mental health professionals.  

Youth First partners with 92 schools across 11 Indiana counties. Youth First Social Workers follow behavioral health best practices to proactively meet with individual students, facilitate small groups, and present to classrooms and large groups as well as consult with parents, teachers, and other community agencies. They are easily accessed by any enrolled student, and services are always free of charge. When school buildings closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, this low-barrier access to crucial mental health support was threatened.  

Thanks to the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation grant, Youth First has now equipped its clinical team with HIPAA-compliant telehealth tools and training to continue their critical work. Through this funding, their proven model of building life skills for mental health resilience and brokering community resources to meet basic needs can continue, if and when school buildings are closed, or students or staff are quarantined or ill. These telehealth tools allowed Youth First’s services and programs to be delivered uninterrupted this past school year, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. These virtual platforms will continue to be used in situations where services can’t be delivered in person.  

“The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation is proud to work with community partners like Youth First to overcome barriers to accessing mental and behavioral health services for our local youth,” said Dr. Kimberly Roop, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Medicaid Plan President in Indiana. “We continue to support telehealth as an important part of a whole-health approach to care, connecting people with mental health services in the way that is most convenient for them.” 

“Though COVID-19 severely disrupted our lives, it also sparked improvements in the way Youth First serves schools, students, and families,” said Parri O. Black, President & CEO of Youth First. “This investment from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation ensures Youth First can provide high-quality remote support for thousands of young people whenever it is needed.” 

In Indiana, data from the State of the Nation’s Mental Health report shows significantly fewer mental health diagnoses last year, particularly among children and adolescents, compared to 2019.  

  • 10 percent overall drop for young children 
  • 5 percent overall drop for adolescents  
  • 13 percent drop for young children diagnosed with ADHD 
  • 9 percent drop for adolescents diagnosed with ADHD 

These findings are part of a report based on Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield claims from 1.8 million Hoosiers. 

Grain Processing Corporation (GPC) has made a $15,000 donation to Youth First, Inc. This is the third significant donation GPC has made to Youth First since 2017.  With this support Youth First is able to continue their mission to strengthen students and their families in Daviess, Martin and Pike counties.  GPC is a subsidiary company of Kent Corporation, headquartered in Muscatine, Iowa.


Youth First brings family programs to communities and partners with schools to embed Master’s level social workers in the building, where they are an essential part of the school community, serving as mentors for students and prevention coaches for parents and teachers. This service is available to any student enrolled at one of 92 partner schools across 11 Indiana counties. Youth First Social Workers build caring relationships with students, foster readiness for positive change, and boost resiliency to face life’s challenges.

Research shows that building these protective factors in young people reduces risk factors and is essential to preventing addiction, violence, suicide, and similar tragic outcomes. Over 10 years of Youth First data demonstrate that this prevention model benefits the whole community,  empowering the next generation of employees with the social and emotional skills they need to work or continue their education, and ultimately thrive.

“Youth First Social Workers are in nearly all of the area schools where GPC employees’ children or grandchildren attend,” said John Dudenhoeffer, Plant Manager. “This donation is one way that we can help support our employees and their families and the many challenges that kids face today.”

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

In a presentation on March 5, 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 to address the growing social and emotional needs of students.

Brad Marrs, Alcoa Warrick Site Manager, stated: “Youth First is a crucial program for our Warrick County students. Alcoa Foundation is proud to support Youth First for many years now. With the pandemic and life being anything but normal, to restore normalcy in the lives of some of these children is very important.”

“The Alcoa Foundation has a mission similar to Youth First’s mission, which is prioritizing local needs and addressing them in a sustainable manner. Together, Alcoa and Youth First are helping youth and families face life’s current challenges and emerge with resilient mindsets and real hope for the future. We are grateful to the Alcoa Foundation for this grant that allows Youth First to sustain critical mental health supports for Warrick County kids,” says Youth First Vice President of Philanthropy Julie Hoon.

Youth First, Inc. is celebrating a $5,000 donation from 7 Sisters to strengthen the social and emotional well-being of students at Holy Rosary Catholic School.

The generous gift from 7 Sisters was presented to Youth First to support Walking for Dreams 2020, a family walk that helps local non-profit organizations raise much-needed funds. Youth First set a goal of raising $15,000 with Walking for Dreams to ensure Holy Rosary had access to a full-time Youth First Social Worker. The school has had a part-time Youth First Social Worker since 2005, and Holy Rosary principal Joan Fredrich was eager to expand to full-time service. The campaign was successful, thanks in large part to the 7 Sisters donation, along with support from the school, numerous Holy Rosary families and Youth First supporters.

Youth First’s school-based social work services and community programs are more critical than ever. Youth First Social Workers are embedded in school buildings to adapt and maintain vital connections with students and families. As the pandemic has continued, Youth First’s mental health professionals are utilizing confidential phone lines and virtual platforms to provide ongoing support whether or not school buildings are open.

The members of 7 Sisters value the professional mental health services provided by Youth First. One of the sisters, Casey Blake, says: “We are happy to be a part of this and excited to have a full-time Youth First Social Worker at Holy Rosary to support families and kids that are dealing with any mental health issues and stressors in their lives.”

7 Sisters is an Evansville-area nonprofit organization that brings awareness to the community through education and informative opportunities to eliminate the stigma of addiction and advocate for recovery options.

Members of the community are invited to participate with Youth First in Walking for Dreams 2021, which will take place on Sunday, May 23rd at the Tropicana Evansville Events Plaza along the riverfront. With a campaign goal of $30,000 this year, Youth First has already secured $2,000 in donations. Donations for Walking for Dreams can be made on Youth First’s website with the designation “Walking for Dreams.”

To learn more about Youth First services and programs or to make a donation to Youth First, visit youthfirstinc.org. To learn more about 7 Sisters, visit the organization’s Facebook page. To learn more about Walking for Dreams, visit walkingfordreams.org.

The second semester of the 2020-2021 school year is underway, and relief funds from the United Way of Daviess County are helping Youth First, Inc. strengthen the social and emotional well-being of students in Daviess County.

In 2020, United Way of Daviess County awarded Youth First with a $1,000 Covid-19 Relief Fund grant to support the organization’s school-based social work services, allowing five Youth First Social Workers to adapt and maintain vital connections with students and families. As the pandemic has continued, Youth First’s mental health professionals are utilizing confidential phone lines and virtual platforms to provide ongoing support whether or not school buildings are open. Thanks to United Way of Daviess County jumping in to offer crisis funding, the relied-on service that Youth First provides to students has been able to continue uninterrupted. 

Youth First partners with Washington, Barr-Reeve, and North Daviess Community Schools, as well as Washington Catholic Schools. Over 3,600 Daviess County students have access to Youth First’s programs and services.

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

“Springs Valley admires Youth First’s commitment to helping improve the lives of others within local communities” noted Jamie Shinabarger, President & CEO. “We are ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with an organization like Youth First and are looking forward to seeing all they will continue to do to help those in the community flourish.”


“Youth First is grateful for this heartwarming support from Springs Valley Bank & Trust. We are both invested in supporting Indiana youth throughout Daviess, Dubois, Gibson and Orange counties. Caring relationships are even more important today as the world navigates the uncertainties of the pandemic. Students, families, and educators count on Youth First to continue caring for kids in school buildings and remotely to buoy their mental health and well-being during extraordinarily stressful times. This kind of confidence and trust is earned through years of relationship-building and a track record of results that make Youth First well-positioned to identify and address the social and emotional needs of thousands of school-aged children no matter the circumstances,” says Julie Hoon, Youth First Vice President of Philanthropy.


Supporting Youth First aligns with Springs Valley’s mission to enhance the quality of life in our communities. Youth First’s mission is to strengthen youth communities through evidence-based programs that prevent substance abuse, promote healthy behaviors, and maximize student success. Youth First partners with 91 schools across 11 Indiana counties to provide 65 Master’s level social workers who assess needs, develop and implement prevention plans, and connect students and their families to vital resources. Youth First also offers community programs involving parents and caregivers to strengthen families. For more information about Youth First, please visit youthfirstinc.org.


Springs Valley Bank & Trust Company, is a subsidiary of SVB&T Corporation, headquartered at 8482 West State Road 56, French Lick, Indiana 47432 with administrative offices at 1500 Main Street, Jasper, Indiana 47546. Springs Valley has locations in Dubois, Daviess, Gibson, and Orange Counties, offering full-service bank and financial services. Springs Valley has products and services for all types of families and businesses, including checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, electronic services, online consumer and mortgage applications and a variety of other loan options. In addition, the company has a full-service financial advisory group managed by experienced, talented professionals specializing in estate planning, tax planning and wealth management. Investment Services are also offered by a licensed, professional Springs Valley representative. More information can be found online at www.svbt.bank. The company’s stock is traded on the OTCQX trading platform under ticker symbol SVBT (www.otcmarkets.com).


Youth First, Inc. will join with Joshua Academy to boost the mental health and well-being of its students thanks to a $25,000 grant from State Farm and the many Evansville area supporters who voted for their project.

Nationwide 145,000 people cast nearly four million votes in support of their favorite causes through the State Farm Neighborhood Assist® program, a crowd-sourced philanthropic process that empowers communities to address issues in their neighborhoods. The partnership between Youth First and Joshua Academy finished among the Top 40 vote-getters, each of which received $25,000 grants.

On Tuesday area State Farm agents presented the check, which will help launch Youth First Social Work services and prevention programs at Joshua Academy.

“State Farm is blessed to initiate funding for this partnership between the wonderful social workers at Youth First and the fantastic families and staff of Joshua Academy,” said Amy Higgs, State Farm Agent.

Joshua Academy is a public charter elementary school serving 250 students in Evansville.

“We call our students ‘the bright ones,’ because we know they are open to learning and shining with potential, but many are also dealing with serious challenges,” said Arveneda McDonald, Joshua Academy’s Principal. “A Youth First Social Worker in the building will help build their resilience, connect their families to resources, and support our teachers, too.”

Youth First partners with 91 schools in 11 Indiana counties to provide skilled social work support and prevention programs that strengthen youth and families.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from State Farm to boost the mental health and well-being of the students, parents, and educators at Joshua Academy,” said Parri O. Black, Youth First’s President & CEO. “This grant provides the seed money to launch the partnership, along with generous gifts from other donors, and we invite the community’s continued support to make sure these vital services remain in place for years to come.”

State Farm accepted 2,000 cause submissions and selected 200 finalists for the public voting that determined the Top 40. Over nine years, more than 340 causes have received a total of $9 million to enact change in their communities. Past local winners include Hangers, the EVSC’s clothing resource for students, and Little Lambs, which provides support for expectant mothers and parents of young children.

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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.

This school year, over 400 students will benefit from a new partnership between Youth First and Washington Catholic Schools. Washington Catholic Elementary and Washington Catholic Middle/High School will welcome a Youth First Social Worker in their building to serve the social and emotional well-being of students. Youth First will also launch several Family First programs for students and families in Daviess 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 90 schools across 11 counties in Indiana.

Within Daviess County, Youth First partners with Washington Community School Corporation, North Daviess Community School Corporation, and Barr-Reeve Community School Corporation, along with the new partnership with Washington Catholic. Over 3,500 Daviess County students now have access to Youth First’s programs and services.

At Washington Catholic Schools, Youth First Social Worker Abby Betz will work 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. Principals Kelsi Edwards and Karie Craney, along with President Linda Ketzner, agree the value of having a Youth First Social Worker in their buildings is immeasurable. “I have witnessed the amazing services provided by Youth First Social Workers. They meet the needs of each school they serve and are able to cater to the specific needs of each student. More importantly, Youth First becomes family to the schools they serve. Youth First’s dedication in supporting and sustaining mental health for our entire student body is not only appreciated, but an important component that supports the function of all schools,” says Ketzner.

Youth First will also launch virtual Family First programs this school year for Daviess 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 and is also offered in Spanish in Daviess County.

With a mission of strengthening youth and families, Youth First celebrated its 22nd anniversary earlier this year. Youth First President & CEO Parri Black states, “Caring relationships are even more important today as the world navigates the uncertainties of COVID-19. When the pandemic closed our partner school buildings in March, students, families, and educators counted on Youth First to continue caring for kids remotely to buoy their mental health and well-being during extraordinarily stressful times. This kind of confidence and trust is earned through years of relationship-building and a track record of results that make Youth First well-positioned to identify and address the social and emotional needs of thousands of school-aged children no matter the circumstances.”

The strength of the Youth First prevention model in Daviess County is the result of determined school leaders, valued community partners, and generous donors. Sustaining the service into future years will come from school partner fees and the community supporting Youth First with donations, sponsorships, and private investment. Visit the organization’s website to learn more about the dedicated Daviess County citizens who help support Youth First’s school-based social work program.

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