Teens award nine grants to help their peers

PitchNine local entities serving Logan County youth will split $25,000 for projects this summer and next school year after the Student United Way committee finalized its grant process this week.  The allocations culminated a four-month leadership development program led by United Way of Logan County, with four juniors and seniors from every local high school participating.   

Student United Way had $25,000 from the annual United Way campaign to distribute as it saw fit.  As the group was exposed to the needs of the community, they worked to develop their own criteria on what issues they wanted to address.  17 applicants submitted funding applications totaling more than $87,000.  The students then had to work together to pare it down.   

"I learned a lot about our community and the different organizations and activities that help the people here," said Makenna Smith, a junior from West Liberty-Salem High School.  "I learned the importance of mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, financial stability, after school activities, and people with disabilities and how we can help. I also learned more about the decision-making process."

Youth Allocations grant recipients for 2022 include:

  • Bellefontaine High School - $3,087 to conduct a Challenge Day next school year for 300 students to participate in leadership training that will help with mental health and positivity throughout the community.
  • Discovery Riders - $7,705 to supplement Equine Assisted Social and Emotional learning at the horse therapy facility.  
  • Greater Riverside Area Community Encouragers - $1,000 to provide free lunches every Monday throughout the summer at the park in DeGraff.
  • Logan County Board of Developmental Disabilities - $2,100 for the Discovery Center to offer summer playground sessions two days a week this summer for preschoolers with autism.
  • Logan County Family & Children First Council - $2,237 toward Why Try, a 10-week program for at-risk teens to help with positive choices, coping skills, self-reflection, and self-esteem.
  • Mac-A-Cheek Learning Center - $2,500 for Em Wave monitors to help students learn how to self-regulate emotions through monitoring, mindfulness, breathing exercises, and focus.
  • Midwest Regional ESC - $660 for the Power Pace Interviews next school year.  This is practice job interviews for high school juniors and seniors with over 30 local businesses.
  • Summer Autism Academy - $4,211 to supplement the seven-week program for two dozen students this summer.
  • YMCA of Central Ohio - $1,500 to launch the S.P.O.R.T.S. Club program at Hilliker YMCA, which will teach students in grades 8-11 how to coach and mentor younger kids in various sports activities.

Along the way, they learned about the importance of financial literacy through a poverty simulation and a session at Richwood Banking Company.  They toured Discovery Riders and the downtown Bellefontaine renovations while hearing from several United Way funded partners.  They learned the importance of personal and corporate philanthropy.  They made new friends from other schools and learned to dialogue and deliberate with those expressing alternate viewpoints in small and large groups.  

"I liked that we actually have a say in something that matters in the community," said Trenton Fulkerson, a senior at Indian Lake High School.

"I liked being able to see what's going on in our community and what other people are trying to do to help it and possibilities we have to be able to do something," said Lucy Jarvis, a junior at Calvary Christian. 

"We looked deeper than the surface in the community and helped in places that don't always get all the help they need," said Allie Heanualt, a junior at Benjamin Logan High School.

Students participating in Student United Way this year included:  

  • Montana Buck, Morgan Burden, Beau Salyer, and Carter Snapp from Bellefontaine High School.
  • Allie Henault, Andrew Hughes, Parker McGowen, and Gretchen Wilber from Benjamin Logan High School.
  • Patrick James, Lucy Jarvis, Emma Patton, and Isaac Reinhard from Calvary Christian.
  • Allison Culp, Trenton Fulkerson, Brant Parsell, and Katelyn Pippen from Indian Lake.
  • Tori Blanks, Emma Hempker, Aliya McCary, and Gavin Wilson from Ohio Hi-Point Career Center.
  • Chase Davidson, Rachel Knight, Kaleb Schindewolf, and Kristen Schulmbohm from Riverside High School.
  • Avery Davis, Abbigayle Long, Makenna Smith, and Micah Stoner from West Liberty-Salem High School.

United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of everyone in Logan County.  It does so by facilitating successful agency partnerships that enable a safe, healthy, and caring community.  More than just a fundraiser, United Way collaborates with businesses, non-profits, government, and civic organizations to help meet the social service needs of the community.  


Teachers and administrators from Midwest Regional ESC making a successful pitch to fund the Summer Autism Academy during a round of agency interviews in the Student United Way program.