Numerous local businesses recently invested in the future prosperity of children in the Urbana area.
Through contributions to the Urbana Youth Center (UYC), these local businesses are championing the future of the entire Urbana community, according to Justin T. Weller, the Executive Director at UYC.
“Following the generous example set by two of the area’s largest employers, Bundy & Rittal, more than 20 other local organizations, businesses, churches and families are stepping up,” Weller said.
Bundy Baking Solutions and Rittal collectively contributed $43,000 to the Urbana Youth Center to aid in funding the programming lineup for 2021.
Now, other local businesses have decided to join the effort.
Orbis Corporation, IGS Energy, Sellman Insurance Group, Mad River Air, the Urbana Walmart, Martin Insurance Agency, Weidman Electrical, Squared Construction, Howell Buildings Company, Erin Patton Insurance Agency and others make up a growing group of local businesses working to fund the efforts of UYC.
The Caring Kitchen, Bridges Community Action Partnership and Mercy Health – Urbana Hospital are finding valuable ways to support UYC by enabling the nutrition program – providing more than 2,000 meals to local children so far.
Building on the investment of local businesses, the faith community in the Urbana area is also a strong supporter of UYC’s efforts. River of Life Christian Center, Urbana United Methodist Church, Renewed Strength and the First Presbyterian Church are all actively working to assist the youth center. The support comes in many forms including monetary contributions, in-kind investments and volunteers.
Numerous families, individuals and foundations have also contributed. Many prefer to remain anonymous, although several prominent contributors include the McDavid Foundation, the Michael Family, the Phyllis & Will Ernst Family and the Richardson Family, among others.
“We are seeing this community rally behind the essential work taking place at UYC,” Weller explained. “These investments across industry, faith and family prove the will to secure the future of our young people not only is present in our community but undeniably strong.”
According to Weller, the youth center is working hard to raise the money it needs to fund programming for the rest of 2021 and into 2022. UYC will more than double the program lineup this fall to serve its 415 student members.
“Our Champions for Children campaign is currently under way and our students need your help. We’ve got a diverse range of new programs including essential life skills, drama, a music exploration program, a faith exploration program, mentoring, sports, yoga, arts and crafts and more. Providing these new programs in addition to our standing lineup of homework and study assistance, nutrition, career readiness, hygiene and hangout spaces, requires a substantial ongoing investment,” Weller said.
For community members who feel driven to help, there are two main ways the youth center can be supported.
“First and foremost, we need you to invest in this effort monetarily. There are no two ways about it. Serving 415 student members and providing them with 15 plus unique programs is a major financial undertaking. We get donations from $50 to $50,000 and every amount makes a difference. Please, donate now,” Weller implored.
Judy Richardson, Assistant Director at UYC, shared the critical need for volunteers.
“Whether you have a few hours a week or just an hour a month and whether your interest is in working directly with students or pitching in behind the scenes, your help is needed today,” Richardson said. “We cannot do this alone. We need people to work with students, sweep floors, make food, help maintain the building and countless other essential tasks. To enrich the lives of our students, each of us must step up.”
Weller and Richardson explained that donating and volunteering are simple. Interested individuals may go to UrbanaYouthCenter.org or send a check to 160 West Market Street, Urbana, OH 43078. Alternatively, people can call or text 937-772-4022 to speak with a team member about donating or volunteering.
“The good news is this community has proven its commitment to the dream of a youth center. To fully realize that dream, each of us must dig deep and figure out how we can help make sure this effort succeeds for years to come. With the continued support of these great local organizations and the investment of individuals across the area, I know we can help these students,” Weller said.
Information from UYC/Justin Weller.