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Women Warriors Week Eight: Trina Benson

Each week, the Guiding Circle of the Fund for Women and Girls selects one Woman Warrior from submitted nominations to spotlight. This week features our eighth dedicated honoree.

Providing a Safety Net for Students During COVID-19

One woman coordinates resources for students’ families

Since 2015, the Taft Promise Neighborhood, now Youngstown Promise Neighborhoods, has provided services and supports to students and families in the neighborhoods surrounding Taft and Wilson Elementary Schools on the southside of Youngstown. When the schools closed because of Safer at Home Orders to slow the spread of COVID-19, executive director Trina Benson and her team at YPN did anything but slow down.

Immediately recognizing the importance of having access to hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies, Trina and YPN put together care kits so neighbors had what they needed to stay safe and healthy. The kits were claimed almost as soon as they were announced. A few weeks later as students and families were feeling the effects of school and business closings, YPN received funding from the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley to support the Crisis Response Family Assistance Program. This program provided once-a-week home delivery of free, select, fresh produce and personal hygiene products for up to 50 families of students who attend either Taft or Wilson Schools. Additionally, Trina and her team continue to provide information to neighbors about school district activities including food distributions, changes to important food assistance programs like SNAP, and Community Legal Aid’s free virtual Ask a Lawyer series.

In so many ways, Trina has been able to provide assistance and reassurance to students and families in very troubling and disruptive times. The YPN Network became a safety net to make sure that neighbors got what they needed while it felt like the world may have been falling apart. Trina’s fierce leadership and dedication to her team and her community allowed YPN to keep its promise to coordinate resources and make sure that neighbors had access to what they needed.

Trina is a true Woman Warrior on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, supporting students and Youngstown families when they needed it most. It is women like her who will help our community make it through this #Together.

If you know a woman doing great things during these uncertain times, please nominate her for Women Warriors today!