Grant Awards Announced to Strengthen Youth Resiliency in Appalachian Ohio

Foundation for Appalachian Ohio and Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville Award $350,000 to Organizations Serving Youth

January 2021
Above photo courtesy of The Athens Photographic Project

Nelsonville, Ohio – The I’m a Child of Appalachia® Fund at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) and the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville (OHFN) are pleased to announce $350,000 in grant awards to strengthen youth resiliency in Appalachian Ohio. Given the critical role of childhood development on lifelong wellbeing, and the extraordinary challenges youth face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, grants address the social, economic, educational, and health challenges faced by young people in the region. 

FAO’s I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund and OHFN partnered to fund organizations serving youth across Appalachian Ohio.

“We are grateful for the important work of the organizations supported through this partnership. These projects will increase protective factors supporting youth in building academic success, self-esteem, coping skills, and healthy relationships, while expanding access to basic needs and services,” said Susan Beaudry, Vice President for OHFN.

The 19 grantees were selected from a highly competitive pool of 125 applicants, requesting over $2.5 million in grant awards, underscoring continued needs to support Appalachian Ohio youth.

“We are excited to fund 19 of the many visionary organizations serving our region's youth," said FAO's President & CEO Cara Dingus Brook. "Appalachian Ohio's young people are current and future leaders and innovators. As our I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund grows through investment and additional gifts, we hope that we will be able to make an even greater impact for the youngest members of our communities and the organizations serving them.” 

Grants were awarded to the 19 organizations for projects described below:

  • Athens-Meigs Educational Service Center to host virtual job shadowing opportunities that enhance career pathway education for students in Athens, Meigs, Perry, and Vinton counties.
  • Athens Photographic Project to facilitate an expressive photography program and public art installation for youth in Athens County and other Appalachian Ohio communities.
  • Caldwell Exempted Village School District for Caldwell Cares, a school-based student assistance program that supports K-12 students in Noble County in overcoming social and emotional barriers.
  • Coal Grove Lions Club to support programs in partnership with the Pathfinder Youth Center, providing youth in Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence, and Scioto counties a safe place to socialize and complete schoolwork outside of school hours.
  • Georgetown Self Care Closet to support Brown County students by providing counseling resources and expanding its Care Closet, which supports students with basic needs items. 
  • Impact Prevention, Inc. to support high school students in the Ironton Catholic School system’s youth-led substance use prevention team in mentoring Lawrence County elementary students. Funding will also support warm winter clothing and food for students, as well as technology for remote learning and mentorship.
  • Integrated Services for Behavioral Health to continue the engagement of school-aged youth with “The Hive on Fly,” a mobile outreach effort providing essential supports for learning and student basic needs in Athens County.
  • Live Healthy Appalachia to support healthy habits among Athens County youth through hands-on cooking experiences, physical activity, and mindfulness practices.
  • Minford Elementary School to support social and emotional learning for students in Scioto County by providing training for educators and purchasing curriculum supplies and children’s literature, which reinforce these lessons.
  • Morgan Local School District to provide food, basic needs items, hygiene products, clothing, and technology to elementary students in Morgan County.
  • Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center to offer teletherapy and telemedicine services to students in Coshocton, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, and Perry counties.
  • New Lexington Schools to support the Blessings in a Backpack program, providing meals to Perry County students who face food insecurity. 
  • Ohio Valley Youth Network to expand the After School Enrichment and Life Skills program for K-12 students by providing transportation and technology support for children in Jefferson County impacted by the social, economic, educational, and health effects of poverty.
  • Perry County Juvenile Court to support life skills classes to Perry County youth that have been in juvenile court. Classes focus on topics such as mental health, finances, food safety, coping skills, and job preparation.
  • Pioneer School to support youth who have been diagnosed with autism or developmental disabilities by working to increase inclusion through virtual connections to schools, sports teams, and clubs during the pandemic. The program serves Highland, Ross, and Vinton counties. 
  • Rural Action to facilitate paid internships for high school students in Athens, Belmont, Hocking, Meigs, Morgan, and Tuscarawas counties in partnership with Building Bridges to Careers. Internship host sites include local businesses, government agencies, and community organizations.
  • Sojourners Care Network to support its Athens Resiliency Center in Athens County, which serves youth who are homeless or at imminent risk of being homeless.
  • Southeastern Ohio Legal Services to provide trauma-informed education advocacy, legal services, and representation for vulnerable, low-income students and youth in Appalachian Ohio.
  • Southern Local School District to support training for staff in Meigs County in trauma-informed care and educational approaches.

The youth resiliency funding opportunity was offered through OHFN and FAO’s I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund. The I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund was created to help address the greatest needs and pursue the most exciting opportunities facing Appalachian Ohio’s communities today, while growing the resources needed to make a difference for generations to come. The I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund’s service area includes the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio. OHFN’s service area includes Athens, Hocking, Jackson, Meigs, Morgan, Perry, Ross, Vinton, and Washington counties. 


About the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio
The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) is a regional community foundation serving the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio. A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Foundation creates opportunities for Appalachian Ohio’s citizens and communities by inspiring and supporting philanthropy. For more information about FAO, visit www.AppalachianOhio.org.

About Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville
The mission of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville (the Foundation) is to improve the health and quality of life in the community through education, research and service consistent with our osteopathic heritage. The Foundation advances this mission through strategic partnerships, multi-year funding commitments, funding collaborations and significant investments in southeastern Ohio. More information about the Foundation is available at www.osteopathicheritage.org.