Nonprofit gets funding to help children with incarcerated parents
— 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.neighborhoodassist.com/entry/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.