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.”

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. 



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


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


  • 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.

Today D-Patrick Boonville Ford presented a check for $1,000 to Youth First, Inc. for support of programs and services in Warrick County schools. During the month of March, D-Patrick Boonville Ford awarded $10 per test drive (up to $1,000) to Youth First each time a new Ford was test driven through their “Charity Drives” Program.

“We are grateful to the D-Patrick Boonville Ford team for this generous gift and for supporting Youth First’s work in Warrick County schools. This donation allows Youth First to fulfill its mission of strengthening youth and families in our community,” states Julie Hoon, Youth First’s Vice President of Philanthropy.

So far in the 2018-19 school year, over 7,000 Warrick County students have been impacted by Youth First. There are 7 Youth First Social Workers embedded in 11 Warrick County schools as a free, onsite mental health resource for students, parents, and educators. Additionally, Youth First programs strengthen families and enhance life skills in young people by providing effective prevention strategies for youth, families, and communities.

Donations like the check from D-Patrick Boonville Ford make a lasting impact by providing life-saving help and hope. Tony Toomey, General Manager of D-Patrick Boonville Ford, explained: “We are proud to give back to our community and support Youth First through our ‘Charity Drives’ Program. Having Youth First Social Workers in Warrick County schools makes a significant impact for our community’s kids, and D-Patrick is proud to be a part of this transformational work.”

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.

Drive a brand new Ford and give back to Youth First! During the month of December, D-Patrick’s Evansville Ford Dealership will donate $10 to Youth First for every test drive.  Visit their Evansville Ford Dealership online! Please set a date in December and invite the family to test drive for Youth First!