Non­profit gets fund­ing to help chil­dren with in­car­cer­ated par­ents

Cecil Whig - - & - By CHERYL MATTIX



— Youth Em­pow­er­ment Source Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Beth Creek is do­ing a happy dance this week since learn­ing her or­ga­ni­za­tion won an $80,000 grant through the Lo­cal Man­age­ment Board from the Gov­er­nor’s Of­fice for Chil­dren and is one of 200 fi­nal­ists for a $25,000 grant.

She was no­ti­fied Mon­day that YES was se­lected by the State Farm Youth Ad­vi­sory Board to ad­vance to the vot­ing round of a State Farm In­sur­ance com­pe­ti­tion that awards $25,000 Neigh­bor­hood As­sist Grants to 40 of the 200 fi­nal­ists who get the most votes by mid­night Nov. 4.

Vot­ing be­gins on­line Wed­nes­day by go­ing to: www.neigh­bor­hoodas­­try/1979547. Any­one can vote up to 10 times a day through Nov. 4. All they need is a valid email ad­dress and an up­dated web browser.

“If we are for­tu­nate enough to win the State Farm grant, that money will help pay for our sum­mer camp pro­gram,” Creek said.

YES started a new pro­gram fo­cused on help­ing chil­dren and youth of in­car­cer­ated par­ents this week with fund­ing from the $80,000 grant.

“We had staff and pro­gram­ming ready to go, if the grant came through,” Creek said. “We’ve seen first­hand the need for this kind of pro­gram in our com­mu­nity. It’s won­der­ful we’re able to fi­nally get it up and run­ning.”

Creek and her staff pro­vide a va­ri­ety of pro­grams aimed at sup­port­ing and ed­u­cat­ing youth and fam­i­lies in Ce­cil County to help them lead a suc­cess­ful life.

“What we do is all about strength­en­ing fam­i­lies,” Creek said.

Chil­dren who have one or both par­ents who are cur­rently in­car­cer­ated, or have been in­car­cer­ated within the last 24 months, are el­i­gi­ble for the pro­gram, which will run through June 30 and could be re­newed for one more year, if per­for­mance stan­dards are met.

Na­tional sta­tis­tics say from 9 to 12 per­cent of chil­dren un­der 18 years old have had a par­ent in jail, Creek said.

“Our in­ter­nal study of ex­ist­ing clients show Ce­cil County has from 21 to 38 per­cent of par­ents of chil­dren un­der 18 years old in jail,” she said.

The new pro­gram is de­signed to help chil­dren and their care­giver un­der­stand and cope with anx­i­eties re­lated to this sit­u­a­tion.

“This is a piece of our long-term goal, which is to strengthen fam­i­lies and break the cy­cle,” Creek said.

YES, which in­cor­po­rated two years ago, op­er­ates other pro­grams in the com­mu­nity fo­cused on youth and fam­i­lies. My Fam­ily Mat­ters op­er­ates par­ent­ing work­shops in Bay View, Holly Hall and Ce­cil Manor ele­men­tary schools through­out the school year as well as sum­mer camps. Other pro­grams in­clude LifeSkills, Pro­mot­ing Al­ter­na­tive Think­ing Strate­gies, Chil­dren in Need of Su­per­vi­sion, Toys for Tots and GED.

In fis­cal year 2016, YES served a to­tal of 1,038 peo­ple through their com­mu­nity pro­grams. The or­ga­ni­za­tion’s re­cently re­lo­cated of­fice is at 223 E. Main St. in Elkton.

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