Heart of Illinois
United Way


logo for YOUTH UNITED: Student United Way for Central Illinois - Leadership Committee

YOUTH UNITED: Student United Way for Central Illinois offers one-time, annual grants for youth-related programs. Members of YOUTH UNITED determine the focus areas of the grants, request applications from Heart of Illinois United Way partner agencies and make allocation decisions.

For the upcoming year, grants were awarded to programs throughout out the Heart of Illinois United Way's service area. These grants cover safety and health education, mentoring, summer camps, community gardens, counseling and anti-bullying programs, and much more.

Youth United: Student United Way for Central Illinois

2017-2018 Grants

Big Brothers Big Sisters, Heart of Illinois
Mentoring Program – The program provides one on one mentoring to local at-risk youth in need of a positive adult mentor in their life. Relationships are developed as they spend time together out in the community two to four times a month for at least one year. Activities include attending local sporting events, visits to the park, library, zoo or local museums. In 2017, the funds will be used to offset the cost of background checks.

Boy Scouts of America – WD Boyce Council
ScoutREACH Summer STEM Day Camp – The program provides Day Camp experience for all ScoutREACH youth. This year, the camping program will be offered at three local Summer Program sites (rather than the London Mills camp site). The day camping activities include a series of STEM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), nutritious meals, and team building games. In 2017, the funds will be used to purchase materials for the "How Electrical Circuits Work" activity.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Peoria, Inc.
Summer Program – The program aims to inspire and promote positive decision making and self-confidence. This goal is achieved by encouraging members to engage in activities they have not been previously exposed, such as swimming. Each week of the 2017 summer program, youngsters (by age group) will have the opportunity to visit Peoria Park District swimming facilities where they can demonstrate their ability to use the watersides and play areas safely. All members will have 3 opportunities to enjoy this summer activity. In 2017, the funds will be used to offset the cost of pool admission.

The Center for Prevention of Abuse
Keeping My Body Safe – The program provides prevention education in local schools, teaching students the skills they need to have safe, healthy, non-violent relationships. The program specifically focuses on awareness and prevention of childhood sexual and physical abuse for students in preK – 12th grades with lessons about body safety, boundaries, safe touch and how to protect themselves. In 2017, the funds will be used to purchase new preK – 5th grade "Child Protection Unit" curriculum for the Keeping My Body Safe program.

Children's Home Association of Illinois
Residential Services at Youth Farm – Youth residing full-time at the Youth Farm campus often suffer from severe emotional and/or behavioral disorders. Many of these youth have suffered recent trauma and require intensive care, therapy and supervision. Residential services protect and ultimately heal the children with an end goal of re-uniting them with their families, identifying a suitable foster care arrangement or teaching them life skills to achieve independence. In 2017, the funds will be used to offset the expense of 25 Equine Therapy sessions. Therapy involves interacting, riding and bonding with a horse. Clients also learn how to groom and equip a horse for riding.

Crittenton Centers
Supporting Teen Parents Program – The Stepping Stones Program serves youth ages 13 to 21. These teens are pregnant or parenting teens that are foster children themselves. Parent Educators work with teenagers to break the cycle of verbal, physical and emotional abuse in an effort to assist teens in becoming productive members of the community. In 2017, funds will be used to purchase emergency supplies for participating teenage mothers and their infants (formula, diapers, food, hygiene supplies, etc.).

Easterseals Central Illinois
I Can Bike – This bike riding program is designed to provide children with disabilities and special needs, ages 7 years and older, an opportunity to lose the training wheels and ride a bike independently. The program rotates annually between Peoria and Bloomington. In 2017, the funds will be used to cover the cost of medals and t-shirts distributed to all participants.

Harvest – The program offers horticulture classes and experiences to Special Education Program high school students. Lessons include learning how plants grow and make food, how plants benefit humans, how to plant seeds and transplants, how to take care of and harvest the vegetables. Classes will be held in the EP!C greenhouse and 1.5 acre garden. In 2017, the funds will be used to cover the cost of supplies.

AZIZI Peer Educators – The AZIZI program seeks to bring empowerment, self-love, civic responsibility and information to underserved young women in Peoria. The program increases awareness of healthy relationships, sexuality and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections. In 2017, the funds will be used to purchase educational materials and personal hygiene packs.

Girl Scouts of Central Illinois
Campership Assistance – Studies show summer enrichment programs such as camping allow participants to better retain the knowledge they gained during the school year. Summer enrichment opportunities are important for children from low-income families because they often do not have access to summer programming. In 2017, the funds will be used to offset the expense of one week of summer camp for two at-risk girls.

Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois, Inc.
GoodGuides Youth Mentoring – The Mentoring Program promotes positive development for youth ages 12-17 by helping them prepare for their future through career exploration, life skills and a supportive mentoring relationship. An important link to success is good manners. Good manners and etiquette provide youth with confidence to navigate through the important stages in life. In 2017, the funding will be used to offset the cost of etiquette lessons (transportation, meals, consultant).

Greater Peoria YMCA
East Bluff Rebound Basketball – YMCA operates a previously established basketball initiative serving the East Bluff community. Set in the East Bluff community, it is easily accessible for participants and their families who watch them compete. The program meets June-August Saturday mornings, four hours of game play per day as well as practice on Wednesday evening. Over 100 participants are expected to learn and demonstrate discipline, sportsmanship and leadership. Volunteers coach the teams, prepare and serve meals, keep score, and clean up after the games. Participants also join in the annual East Bluff Clean Up Day, working side by side with community leaders, law enforcement and residents. In 2017, the funds will be used to cover the expense of facility rental.

Neighborhood House Association
After School/Summer Meals – The Neighborhood House is located in the sixth poorest zip code in the state of Illinois. Residents lack access to quality nutrition and transportation. The agency offers free meals year round to youth ages 18 and under. In addition, the agency provides homework help, tutoring and structured activities. A summer Art Program is popular and results in positive behavior. The agency would like to expand the Summer Art program into the year round meal program, allowing more students to benefit from the enrichment program. In 2017, the funds will be used to offset the expenses of expanding the Art Program to 48 weeks including salary, materials and supplies and marketing/ promotions.

Pearce Community Center
Summer Camp and Before/After School programs – The Before/After School program is a safe and fun place for youth ages K – 6th grade to go before and after school. The highly supervised program is held every school day and features a 7 to 1 ratio of children to counselors. The Summer Camp offers a strategic activity plan that integrates education with fun, helping children grow educationally, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. In 2017, the funds will be used to purchase STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) items (such as sidewalk chalk, fuse beads, fitness CD's, clear color tiles, geometric shapes) and to purchase recreation items including dodge balls, and multiple games.

Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service
Youth Education Program – Serves youth grades K-8th year round through After School & Summer Camp programs. After School program activities include homework assistance and tutoring. Summer Camp program activities utilize the STEAMS (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, Service) curriculum, cultivating healthy life skills, encouraging positive decision making/problem solving, fostering creativity and excitement for learning. In 2017, the funds will be used to cover the cost of an interactive whiteboard and one computer.

The Salvation Army
Childcare – The agency serves at-risk youth through their childcare and preK programs. As the expectations for youth entering grade school changes, it is important to provide at-risk youth with the tools they need to stay on track. In 2017, the funds will be used to offset the cost of new curriculum for each classroom as well as manipulatives for the younger grades and art supplies and science toys for the older grades.

Tazewell County Resource Centers, Inc.
Ann Benjamin Camp – The camp offers a six-day overnight camping experience for 20 special needs children and young adults, ages 12 to 26. Camp activities include crafts, cooking, hiking, sports, horseback riding, and swimming. Campers learn to improve their daily living skills, increase independence, and enjoy fun camping activities. The camp experience also provides a respite for parents and guardians. In 2017, the funds will be used to offset camping expenses.

Tri-County (Peoria) Urban League
TOPS (Teens Organized for Pride and Success) – TOPS is a prevention program for youth ages 9 to 18. The program urges youth to do their best and remain in school and helps equip them to make positive life decisions. TOPS meets two nights a week, providing participants with speakers, group discussions, field trips, college visit opportunities and workshops. In 2017, the funds will be used to cover expenditures for a middle school trip for 13 persons, a high school trip for 13 persons and awards for the end of year celebration

YWCA Pekin
School Supply Outreach – Low income families often lack the financial resources to provide basic school supplies needed at the beginning of the school year. The Pekin Coalition for Equality will coordinate two school supply activities for students (ages 5 – 18) living in Pekin Housing Authority units. As in the past, one program will focus on primary and middle school youth and one will focus on high school students. Supplies for the younger students will be distributed at a family-friendly event that will include a snack and information on the importance of reading. Each child will receive a free, age-appropriate book as part of his/her "Back to School Success" bag. High school teachers and counselors will identify and distribute supplies to the older students to maintain their privacy. In 2017, the funds will be used to offset the expense for school supplies.

For more information about YOUTH UNITED: Student United Way for Central Illinois, contact Pam Balfanz, Executive Assistant, at 309-674-5181, ext. 1228 or pam.balfanz@unitedway.org.