German American Title Sponsor for Heart of Youth First Luncheon

By Lindsay Owens, Washington Times Herald, Sept. 9, 2017

Supporters of Youth First, a local nonprofit dedicated to strengthening youth and families, gathered at Washington Junior High School on Thursday to hear more about the nonprofit’s efforts to protect and heal the hearts of children and families in Washington.

Parri Black, president and CEO of Youth First, said much of the work Youth First social workers like Ashley Hale, who works with students at Washington Community Schools, involves children who’ve encountered struggles.

“A lot of our work involves kids who’ve been bruised,” said Black. “We don’t always see those bruises. Some are internal. We’re working with kids who need a little extra support.”

 During the event, which was sponsored by German American, local financial center manager David Stowers spoke.

Stowers said Daviess County is fortunate to have a group of leaders with a vision and a heart for giving.

“We’re fortunate to be in a community where leadership steps up,” said Stowers, adding the community’s support for the program also ties in with the Character Council of Daviess County’s Character Matters program. “We see the Character Matters banners all over town. One of the words was gratitude. We need to have a heart of gratitude to look at the bigger picture.”

Senator Eric Bassler, one of Youth First’s supporters from the beginning, also spoke.

“We have to be concerned about our children,” said Bassler, adding that many youth face obstacles at home. “By intervening at a young age, we have a greater opportunity to help get kids on the right track.”

Focusing on three R’s, resiliency, relationships and readiness, Davi Stein-Kiley, Youth First vice president of social work and programs, said it’s no secret youth can have a lot of challenges, but the nonprofit hopes to help youth navigate through the tough stuff and enjoy milestones and celebrations.

Washington Junior High Principal Mark Arnold said the school is thankful to have someone like Hale there to help students.

“No one benefits more than the kids,” said Arnold, adding that without the generosity of Youth First supporters, having Hale would not be possible. “You helped bring us Ashley.”

Ellie Meade, regional development officer with Youth First and Washington native, said she always knew people here were kind and generous but since starting with Youth First earlier this year, she’s found out just how generous.

“All of our donors are the heart of Youth First,” said Meade.

Supporters of Youth First include not only corporate entities, but also local businesses and individuals as well. For more information on how you can support Youth First call 812-421-8336 or visit www.youthfirstinc.org.

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