Twenty local high school junior and senior students participating in Student United Way reviewed ten grant applications focused on the impact area of birth to age 18 in mental health and counseling, substance abuse prevention, and food insecurity during their past two monthly meetings. They narrowed the applicants to eight and had in person presentations from the organizations in April in the community room of the Sidney Library. After the presentations, they deliberated and awarded six local organizations funding totaling $5000.00. The recipients were; $1000.00 to Maplewood U.M.C. on behalf of the churches delivering the weekend back pack hunger program; $1000.00 to First Presbyterian Church Munch Bunch weekend back pack hunger program; $850.00 to Shelby County Counseling Center to purchase evidence based Kindergarten to grade three prevention curriculum; $800.00 to New Choices to purchase equipment and curriculum for a P.L.A.Y. room to work with children afflicted by domestic violence; $750.00 to Alpha Community Center to purchase healthy snacks for the summer food program: and $600.00 to the Shelby County Sheriff’s D.A.R.E. program. Scott Barr, Executive Director, “The first year of Student United Way has been a success. We have learned from the students on what is impacting high school students and shifted funding to that programming. The students have a broader perspective of the resources in our community and some of the common challenges facing their communities and schools. The students were articulate as they questioned the applicants and asked their questions. We look forward to working with our juniors next year as they become seniors and a new group of juniors joining us.”
Students participating during the inaugural year are Claire Bensman and Carly Becker, Anna High School; Grace Homan and Page Lane, Botkins High School; Alexandria Baughman and Michael Toal, Christian Academy; Skylar Jones and Tyler Kelch, Fairlawn High School; Riley Middendorf and Heather Eilerman, Fort Loramie High School; Ailia DeWitt and Angelina DeLullo , Houston High School; T.J. Esser and Riley Jackson, Jackson Center High School, Grace Olding and Kameron Lee, Lehman Catholic High School; Daniel Kerns and Lauren Monnin, Russia High School; Josiah Hudgins and Emily Jones, Sidney High School. Shelby County Board Members leading the initiative are Heather Boerger, Cindy Endsley, Tiffany Rank, and David Chivington.