By Cheryl A. Parzych, Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Medina County
Since 2014, nearly 25 United Way Youth Venture (UWYV) teams have launched in Medina County. This work has been made possible by the generous underwriting of founding supporter Tyco/Simplex Grinnell.
Their critical underwriting was renewed in 2017 with a grant award of $15,000. With this funding, United Way of Medina County is looking to increase the number of new students actively involved in United Way Youth Venture by 100.
UWYV is designed to engage youth in their community, helping them graduate well-prepared for life after high school by ensuring that they gain essential knowledge, skills and experiences beyond the classroom.
To accomplish this, students form teams that lead their own discovery, design and execution of initiatives to better their communities. Adult volunteers serve in positions of UWYV Champion or Ally to keep the programs organized and act as resources to the participants. Community leaders sit on UWYV panels to review project presentations, provide experienced feedback and award seed money from the program when the teams are ready to launch. Everyone is empowered by the experience.
In Medina County, UWYV partners within school districts and with outside partners like Junior Leadership of Medina County. Two strong school-based programs, demonstrating the power of UWYV, are Brunswick’s Professionals of Tomorrow and Buckeye Blanket Buddies. Both are school-based and now self-sustaining.
The vision and continued commitment of Tyco/Simplex Grinnell toward youth in our county, and in others across the country, is ensuring that we all have a strong tomorrow.