Prevention, Wellness, Youth Thrive Grants Awarded

Six Hancock County organizations have been collectively awarded more than $36,000 for community prevention and wellness initiatives.

Grants were distributed through the Hancock County Community Partnership and from the Hancock County System of Care Grant following application processes earlier this year.

Partnership grants were given to St. Andrews United Methodist Church ($5,000) and New Life Assembly of God ($5,000), both of Findlay, and Hancock Public Health ($1,000).

Also, System of Care mini-grants were provided to Blanchard Valley Health Foundation ($5,000), FOCUS Recovery and Wellness Community ($5,000), and the Family Resource Center ($15,080).

Non-profit, faith-based, education, and community-based organizations serving Hancock County residents were eligible to submit proposals earlier this year with the awards announced recently.

All grants are funded from July 1 to June 30, 2024.

In the Community Partnership program, applicants were encouraged to advance programs and projects that focus on delaying the onset of the first use of substances (alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs) in youth; increase the understanding of adolescent brain development; or promote the general health and wellness of community members.

Here is a summary of the awarded projects:

St. Andrews plans to apply grant money towards the cost of providing free laundry services for underserved families and individuals in Findlay. The laundry will be in the church annex, which is being updated. Additionally, the church will update the annex conference room to allow for its use as a warming/cooling shelter during extreme weather and for the Red Cross to use to temporarily house displaced individuals.

New Life Assembly of God will use its funding to continue the faith-based recovery program, Celebrate Recovery, for adults with “hurt, pain or addictions of any kind.”  Meanwhile, helping children of those adults is provided through a family approach to prevention education offered through The Landing (ages 12-18) and Celebration Place (ages 7-11). The grant will help pay for reference materials for both adults and children, food, promotions, and transportation.

Hancock Public Health grant dollars will purchase playgroup materials in its Help Me Grow program, which currently serves over 100 families, including some with young, pregnant mothers. The playgroups will help them get the support or assistance they may need for their own mental health and other challenges they face, and, in turn, provide a positive parenting environment for their children.

The System of Care mini-grant program called for organizations to improve or enhance programs, practices, and policies to embrace the Youth Thrive framework.

Youth Thrive, an initiative of the Center for the Study of Social Policy, is a cornerstone of the county’s System of Care Grant. It encourages youth-serving systems and partners to rethink programs, practices, and policies so they build upon what is known about adolescent development, valuing young people’s perspectives, and offering youth opportunities to succeed.

Here is a summary of the awarded projects:

The Blanchard Valley Health Foundation will apply its grant dollars to Grief Trails, a program that allows younger youth, those 6-12 years old, to learn about the importance of communicating their emotions and needs to others while working hands-on with gentle horses. Children come together with their peers in an encouraging environment and participate in activities that will help them express their feelings, learn effective communication tools and have fun at the same time.

The mission of the FOCUS Recovery and Wellness Community is to provide a holistic community supporting purpose and wellness through recovery for adults and youth 13-18. The grant would be used to enhance programming at the LOFT, a safe space for teens to be themselves and connect with other youth from diverse backgrounds and similar-life experiences. Grant money would be used to hire a consultant to assist in identifying programming needs and to provide training to staff in adolescent brain development and the Youth Thrive framework.

The Family Resource Center will serve as the coordinating entity for grief support groups, which will be administered by adult prevention staff. Support programs will include Helping Children with Loss, Grief Recovery Method, and Suicide Grief: Companioning the Mourner. The collaboration of the support groups will include not only FRC, but Hancock Public Health, the Hancock County Veterans Service Office, NAMI, FOCUS and others trained in the Grief Recovery Method.