Youth First Awarded $281K Lilly Endowment Grant

By The Message staff

Youth First, Inc., has received a $281,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Youth Program Resilience Fund. The grant will help Youth First boost the mental health and well-being of thousands of young people during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Youth First President and CEO Parri O. Black said the “much-needed” grant will support multiple initiatives designed to expand the reach of Youth First during these extraordinary times.

“The grant will ensure over 42,000 young people, along with their parents and teachers, have access to Youth First’s social work services and prevention programs no matter what happens in the months to come,” Black said.

Among other things, the grant will extend Youth First’s services into next summer, after the school year ends, so that stressed and vulnerable youth and families continue to have the social and emotional support they need. It will also fund staff training, protective equipment and other improvements that will increase the organization’s capacity to weather the pandemic. 

The grant to Youth First is one of 297 awarded by Lilly Endowment’s Youth Program Resilience Fund, which is aimed at helping youth-serving organizations across Indiana adapt to the challenges caused by the coronavirus. Grants from this fund are part of more than $170 million awarded by Lilly Endowment, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit, to help organizations serve individuals and communities amid the pandemic. 

Youth First’s mission is to strengthen youth and families by providing evidence-based programs that prevent substance abuse, promote healthy behaviors and maximize student success. Youth First provides services and programs in 90 schools and communities in 11 Indiana counties: Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, Orange, Pike, Posey, Vanderburgh and Warrick.