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.

In 2015-2016, eighteen 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

2015-2016 Grants

Big Brothers Big Sisters
Mentoring Program — The program serves local children that are in need of a positive adult role model 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 2015, the funds will be used to offset the cost of enrollment and match support in the Peoria office.

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 aren't often able to afford on their own. Each week of the 2015 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 2015, the funds will be used to offset admission and transportation expenses for 175 youth and supervising staff.

The Center for Prevention of Abuse
Second Step Bullying Prevention Program — Second Step is a research-based, classroom-tested anti-bullying program. Interactive instruction including games, videos, role play and handouts are used to teach K-8th students to practice empathy, respect and compassion, communication skills, skills to prevent bullying and non-violent problem-solving skills. Students learn how to recognize, refuse and report bullying. In 2015, the funds will be used to purchase K-5 classroom manuals. These reusable materials will be used to teach more than 3,000 students in approximately 150 classrooms this year and will be used for many years to come.

Center for Youth & Family Solutions
TCAP (Tazewell Community Area Project) — Richland Farms and Brookmeadows neighborhood committees and youth would like to start "Have a Fun-Sun-Shine Day". At the beginning of the summer camp program, each youth will receive a pedometer to encourage and track healthy activities. Tazewell County Health Department will provide lessons regarding healthy eating habits and nutrition as well as instruct physical fitness lessons, games and activities. A kickball tournament will be held between the two neighborhoods to wrap up the summer. In 2015, funds will be used to offset program expenses for one site location.

Children's Home
Foster Care — The program provides temporary homes for children and adolescents who have been removed from their parents by the IL DCFS due to abuse or neglect. Even though living in an abusive home is traumatic, being taken from your parents and separated from your siblings is also traumatic. In an effort to assist the children process their trauma and loss in a healthy manner, the agency provides therapeutic services including assessment, diagnosis, counseling, and crisis intervention. Children respond better to therapeutic techniques such as art therapy, play therapy and sand tray therapy. In 2015, the funds will be used to purchase a variety of weighted* sensory items to use during therapy sessions. The items will be used to assist children to self-calm and relax as well as provide comfort as they work through very difficult issues. (*Weighted items – blanket, vest, arm, wrist, ankle and leg weights - help children feel grounded/centered in an otherwise chaotic and stressful time.)

Common Place
Summer Youth Program — The agency provides an education-based summer jobs program for youth ages 8 to 15 where they begin to learn job skills and earn a stipend. Jobs include litter pick-up, planting/maintaining community gardens, time management exercises and participation in an academic or community-based learning project. Many of the youth have never learned the art of managing money or how to make their money work for their future. A new component of the Summer Program includes 36 classroom hours designed to teach real-life fundamentals of finance – budget planning, exploring payment options and coordinating income with expenses. In 2015, the funds will be used to offset the purchase of Financial Literacy Kits, Consumable Materials and Computer Software.

Crittenton Center
Supporting Teen Parents Program — The Stepping Stones Program serves youth ages 13 to 21. Youth served by this program are pregnant or parent teens that are foster children themselves. Parent Educators facilitate weekly meetings to teach proper parenting techniques, stress relief, CPR and first aid, nutrition, child safety and child-parent interaction. The role of the Parent Educator is to support teen parents to help break the cycle of verbal, physical and emotional abuse. In 2015, funds will be used to purchase emergency supplies for teen parents and their children (formula, diapers, hygiene supplies, etc.).

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 2015, the funds will be used to purchase educational materials and hygiene packs.

Girl Scouts of Central Illinois
Campership Assistance Fund — Summer camp is a crucial experience for underserved girls. For many of the girls, summer camp is their first experience learning to canoe, hold a bow and arrow, ride a horse or even see a horse close up. Hands-on, physical activities are important for girls' learning, skill building, confidence and sense of independence. Before receiving financial assistance, girls must first apply any earned proceeds from council product sales toward the cost of their camp then the council subsidizes the difference. In 2015, the funds will be used to offset Campership Assistance Grants for Peoria-area girls.

Neighborhood House
Backpack 61605 — The agency will host a Back To School Block Party featuring games for children, WIC Farmer's Market Coupons, taste testing, cooking demonstrations and school supply giveaways. It is essential that every child start off the school year with the supplies they need. In 2015, the funds will be used to purchase 64 backpacks and supplies to distribute at the Back To School Block Party.

Pearce Community Center
Pearce Books for Childhood Development — The Childhood Development Program will establish a library of resources to be utilized by the agency Youth Programs. The books will be tailored to be utilized in the Before and After School Program, Summer Camp for Kids, Drop-In Homework Help, Tutoring and Summer Bridge Program. Over 30% of the program participants attend at little or no charge based on their family income. In 2015, the funds will be used to offset the purchase of Guided Reading Level Books.

The Salvation Army
Family Shelter — In 2015, the funds will be used to cover the cost of admission for Shelter Families for a single visit to the Riverfront Museum and to attend the Steamboat Days event.

The Salvation Army
Outdoor Recreation — The Eagle Crest Camp in Washburn provides children and youth with day and overnight camping experiences, exposing them to nature and teaching them the value of team work and fair play. Children gain skills through participation in outdoor recreational activities including hiking, softball, basketball, tennis, volleyball, Frisbee, swimming, etc. In 2015, the Funds will be used to purchase volleyballs, basketballs and a nine square in the air kit.

Tazewell County Resource Center
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 2015, the funds will be used to offset camping expenses.

Tri-County 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 2015, the funds will be used to purchase TOPS Life Skills Curriculum materials.

Tri-County Urban League
TSTM (Tomorrow's Scientists, Technicians and Managers) — The after-school youth program encourages minority youth to acquire the necessary educational skills required for careers in science, technology, engineering and business. Participants receive assistance in curriculum selection, college and career counseling, academic tutorials, field trip opportunities, scholarship incentive programs and more. In 2015, the funds will be used to purchase new STEM curriculum materials and to provide van rental for a 2-day college tour of the University of Missouri and Lincoln University.

Greater Peoria YMCA
East Bluff Rebound Basketball — Beginning in 2015, the YMCA will operate a previously established basketball initiative serving the East Bluff Community Center. Participants not only get exercise, but they are provided a meal when they might not have had one. The program meets June-August Saturday mornings, four hours of game play per day as well as practice on Wednesday evening. Participants are expected to learn and demonstrate sportsmanship and values such as caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. In 2015, the funds will be used to cover the expense of serving meals and facility rental.

YWCA Pekin
Coalition for Equality-Housing Authority — The Coalition will coordinate an outreach activity at the Pekin Housing Authority, providing school supplies to the children in residence. In addition, each child will receive a free, age-appropriate book as part of his/her "Back to School Success" bag. In 2015, the funds will be used to cover the purchase of school supplies, an art craft and a snack for each child.

For more information about YOUTH UNITED, and the annual youth grants, contact Linda Fondren, Executive Assistant, at 309-674-5181, ext. 1228 or linda.fondren@unitedway.org.