Initiatives Include Playground Enhancement, Resource Mothers, More
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (May 23, 2016) – The William Swanston Charitable Fund today announced $298,200 in 2016 grants for 9 initiatives focused on health and wellness of at-risk children, including installing outdoor playground equipment in two well-used Youngstown parks and a comprehensive program focused on disadvantaged at-risk mothers-to-be, mothers and their children.
The Swanston Charitable Fund, which is dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk children, also announced continuing support for ongoing health and fitness programs in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
“The Swanston Charitable Fund is pleased to provide resources to assist creative and dedicated professionals who care about our Valley’s children. We continue to be impressed by the initiatives these agencies are crafting to create opportunities for children to lead healthier, safer and more fulfilling lives,” said Paul M. Dutton, chairman of the Swanston Children’s Fund.
Outdoor playground equipment & fitness programming coming to Youngstown city parks
A highlight of this year’s grant includes $75,000 to install outdoor fitness equipment at two highly-used neighborhood parks, Glenwood and Homestead, and launch regimented fitness programs in the Summer Day Camp programs administered by the City of Youngstown.
The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC) will install outdoor fitness equipment that is modeled after resistance and other machines commonly found at gyms, but designed to withstand outdoor environments and be user-friendly for youth. YNDC will engage youth the playgrounds serve in discussions regarding physical activity and the playground improvements. Options for using the equipment will be shared with the youth to gather feedback on preferences. The equipment will then be installed by volunteers at community build day with ribbon cutting events held to raise awareness following installation.
In addition to the equipment, YNDC is collaborating with the City of Youngstown to implement fitness programming in the City’s Summer Day Camp program. YSU Campus Recreation will be engaged to institute the daily fitness activities utilizing the equipment and increase the amount of physical activity among the children participating.
Caring for women from pregnancy through new motherhood
The Swanston Fund also approved $25,000 to Mercy Health Mahoning Valley’s Resource Mothers program. Resource Mothers is a collaborative, comprehensive program focused on disadvantaged at-risk mothers and their children to ensure early and consistent prenatal care, improve pregnancy outcomes, provide post-natal care and control/reduce childhood obesity.
Resource Mothers outreach staff help at-risk women improve their pregnancy outcomes by helping them obtain medical care and services for a healthy pregnancy and healthy babies. They conduct regular at-home visits, follow up and educational programs, along with assistance with transportation, interpreters if necessary, emergency assistance and Medicaid enrollment.
In addition to prenatal care, Resource Mothers also provides post-natal care and follow up for both the mothers and their newborns. Services include guidance to ensure infants receive immunizations, appropriate nutrition and well-child care. In partnership with the YNDC, Resource Mothers will also provide nutrition and healthy cooking educational classes for moms to teach them how to select and prepare healthy, nutritious food for their families.
Other grants emphasize health, fitness, safety, shelter for at-risk children
The Swanston Charitable Fund also announced grants to these seven organizations:
Akron Children’s Hospital, $75,000 for its Mahoning Valley Healthy Kids Coalition initiative, representing third-year funding for the effort launched in 2014.
Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, $32,500 to hold three “Better Block” events in Trumbull County, two in Warren and one in Girard.
D & E Counseling, $31,200 to support a healthy nutrition pilot program for children and parents involved in the Head Start program.
Compass Family and Community Services, $25,000 to support the Daybreak Youth Crisis Shelter, a 10-bed short term emergency shelter for runaway, homeless, and “throwaway” youth. Daybreak provides safe shelter, food, clothing, assessment, advocacy and short / long-term counseling.
Children’s Rehabilitation Center, $14,500 to continue and expand their fitness and wellness program introduced in 2014 and funded by Swanston, that encourages medically fragile and disabled children, ages 3 to 18 years, and their families to pursue a healthy lifestyle by promoting physical development through exercise and improved eating habits.
Children’s Hunger Alliance, $10,000 to support and expand their afterschool nutrition program in Youngstown that was launched in Dec 2014 and funded by Swanston.
YWCA of Youngstown, $10,000 to support their efforts around eliminating childhood nutritional barriers in Mahoning County, including launching a subcommittee of the established Mahoning Valley Early Childhood Education self-study group.
“Each of these programs addresses the harsh challenges confronting many at-risk children in our community,” Dutton said. “The Swanston Children’s Fund and the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley are proud to be associated with each of these initiatives and we appreciate the professionals who are working hard to meet the needs of at-risk children and youth.”
The William Swanston Charitable Fund, established in 1919, seeks to help improve the lives of at-risk children in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. It provides grants each year that support early childhood education, health and fitness initiatives, after-school programs, parent-involvement seminars, anti-bullying measures and many other efforts in support of local children. The Swanston Charitable Fund is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.