Central Indiana Program Awards Grants for Youth Community Service Projects

On Nov. 20, the United Way of Central Indiana’s Hendricks County Youth as Resources (YAR) program awarded 15 grants totaling $8,727.24 to help support community service projects created by local youth to benefit their community.

At their Fall 2011 Kickoff Event, YAR awarded the grants to youth groups from all around Hendricks County for projects that will involve at least 356 kids of a variety of ages. The projects range in nature from activities with local senior citizens, planting trees, and creating a butterfly garden to planning a rock concert with a suicide prevention theme, creating an outdoor reading area for Brentwood Elementary School, developing a student-run art program for kids with autism, and hosting a Christmas party at Sheltering Wings.

One local Girl Scout troop is partnering with three other community organizations to provide food, school supplies, and other necessities to homeless children. Another local troop is honoring a child who lost his life to leukemia in 2008 by creating 100 pillow cases and having older scouts teach younger scouts how to sew.

Projects are also planned to either supplement or replace lost funding to local schools. In Brownsburg, youth plan to landscape an unkempt courtyard at school. In Plainfield, kids at St. Susanna Catholic School will step in for a Backpack for Lunches program that lost funding. In Avon, the Maple Grove Elementary Student Council is taking over operations of the Outdoor Learning Center, which recently lost public funding.

YAR is funded through the United Way of Central Indiana and serves Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Marion, and Morgan Counties. Each county has its own YAR action board, comprised of local youth and adults. The program challenges kids to identify community needs and design projects that use their skills, creativity, and energy to help others in the area. Twice a year, YAR awards small grants to help implement these projects.

The Fall 2011 cycle saw a 33 percent increase in applications for grants, setting a record for the Hendricks County program in monies provided and leaving the county with less than $300 for the Spring 2012 cycle. YAR needs $5,000 to $7,000 for a successful grant cycle.

Upon learning of this increased demand for youth service projects, Vectren presented a $5,000 donation to the Hendricks County YAR program, providing funding for the spring cycle.

“It is inspiring to see the work of Youth as Resources throughout our Central Indiana communities,” said Vectren Senior Operations Supervisor Shane Alexander. “Getting youth involved in giving back to their communities at an early age helps lead to a future of strong community leaders, and we are proud to support this effort.”

Vectren’s donation was presented by Alexander, who also serves on the YAR action board, at the Nov. 20 kickoff event.

The Hendricks County YAR program is coordinated by Christy McIntyre-Craig, who can be reached at (317) 220-3658 or at [email protected].

The author is a Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network and also serves as a member of the Hendricks County YAR action board. You can follow him on Twitter at @RedZoneWriting and on Facebook.

Also by this author:

Youth as Resources awards over $5,000 for youth service projects
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