Empower Youth


I don’t think I will ever forget the morning we sat across from John Essen, President of Community Savings Bank. To be honest, I thought he was going to be telling us about a great new bank product for non-profits. He talked about a piece of property and asked if we were interested in it. Scott and I “played” along listening to the details but the whole time I was thinking in my mind, there is no way we could ever purchase a property like this: 15 acres, a house, a 20+ stall horse barn, a building great for training seminars and group events, and a building that could be easily modified into a packing facility. It all sounded enticing but still we knew this was a longshot for our budget.

And then… he said… I wanted to see if you are interested because I’d like for Community Savings Bank to gift it to Empower Youth.

Drop the mic. Boom.

I still feel the catch in my throat and that pit in my stomach that went from butterflies to flying dragons… even now I feel a bit light headed. Fighting back tears we said yes we are interested.

After a meeting with the bank board and their follow up meeting, we received a call Thursday evening from John saying the board approved. The property would belong to Empower Youth.

I’m still in shock.  How do you say thank you for something like this? A box of chocolates is a bit weak. We are still trying to figure it all out.

I do think the best thanks we can give Community Savings Bank is to use the property in such a powerful way that it brings honor to those who had the vision for it. We want to use the property in a capacity that makes its impact the same way that led CSB to pay attention to us in the first place—we’ll just start with using it as a resource to change one life, and then add another, and another, and another. Remembering that each number has a face. Each face has dreams and  if we mentor these dreamers they will do amazing things for themselves.

Empower Youth has never wanted to be the only “game” in town in the fight against poverty. We don’t want to be the only resource for students. We want to be a “game-changer” by not making our work all about the resources we provide students but by the training and encouragement we instill in students to create their own resource base. When students have created their own resource base only then can they truly step out of circumstance and do big things.

Last month, Empower Youth taught a leadership class for Amelia Schools. The main point was “Begin with the end in mind.” The end for this facility is to be a fully functioning ranch that provides the resources to educate groups from all over Appalachia Ohio on how to help folks in poverty create their own resources. The end for this facility is to be a fully functioning farm with gardens worked by students and animals tended by Grant Career Center students, 4-H clubs, church groups, and scouts. The end for this facility is to have a packing facility to pack one thousand packs a week and the capacity to train groups to start their own EY branch in communities that are too far for us to deliver to.  The end for this facility is to teach students the value of hard work and show them how to start bank accounts and maintain balances that allow them to buy their first car that drives them to their first job that helps pay for their books for college!

So with the end in mind and clearly set before us… let me walk you through the beginning step. The beginning step is to clean up the property. The bank has ordered a 30-yard dumpster to be delivered on Tuesday (March 28).

Priority 1: Clean the property

There is a lot of debris at the property due to years of use. We need large groups, small groups, individuals, families, and teams to come to the property and help us get this in shape as soon as possible. We need to sort through the leftovers all over the property. Trash must be packed tight in the dumpster. We also will be separating out wood, metal, copper, and aluminum. Some items will go in a yard sale to help offset the cost of the property and send kids to camp this Summer while other items are in good enough shape that we will try to sell them on auction sites.

Priority 2: Food Depot

Clean out the building that will be used for our food depot.  Make repairs to the building. Dry wall and redo all fixtures and doors. Pour cement floor if needed. Make the building completely solid for food storage. Fix the drainage around the building. We need doors and windows for the building donated and installed. We need insulation donated for the packing building.

Priority 3: Excavation

In order to keep water out of some of the buildings, we need to move dirt to around the buildings as well as raise the floor of the main barn a few inches to keep water from settling in.

List of items needed for donation:

Tractor with front loader and PTO

Paint for the barns (interior and exterior)

Windows and doors

4-foot-wide door for packing barn

Insulation board

Cement cap for floor

Light fixtures

Metal shelving


Air conditioner

Wood for packing tables (or restaurant grade packing tables)


List of items need to borrow:

Bobcats, tractors, mowers

List of skills needed:

Trash pickers, sorters… painters, dry-wallers, cement finishers, electricians, heating and air pros…

Dirt movers… mowers… cleaners for the house… stall muckers… wood choppers… pond fixers… bobcat drivers…

Want to help? Contact us today at toempoweryouth@gmail.com. There is plenty of work to do but together this property can be a great tool in the fight to empower youth to break through barriers to reach their full potential. #GoLocal.


Twitter: @CommunitySvg



As Empower Youth grows, the balance between the mission and the work to keep the mission in front and going sometimes pull myself and our board a million directions. Each one of us– after two years of growing from 25 bags to 385 bags a weekend, from helping in one school system to helping in 4 school systems, and adding countless miles to our cars and minutes to our data plans—are all volunteers.


With that being said, there seems to be much to keep me up at night. But lately, it hasn’t been the fundraising. I wanted to share a little story with you. Over the weekend, a young boy of barely 12 years old contacted me. He was given Empower Youth information and specifically my name and phone number. He texted me back and forth over the weekend asking for help. He explained his situation as living in an extended stay hotel with his little brother and his single Mom who cleaned rooms there. He had been given my card by another housekeeper who was worried about him. To add angst to this entire situation, he really wanted to protect his Mom and make sure that I could help them and not separate them. I spoke with him on the phone a couple of times over the weekend as well. He really is a very mature young man. Always thanking me for helping him…very polite.


Yesterday, I visited him in the lobby of his hotel and dropped off school supplies. He has been out of school for almost 15 days (according to him). He’s starting back on Wednesday. I never saw his Mom. I wanted to establish a trust relationship with the young man and honestly, I’m not crazy. In today’s world, I would never meet with any child without an adult present so the lobby with the managers at the desk was the best bet.


As time plays out, I am hoping to help this young family get back on their feet. I’ve been blessed with friendships through the SafetyNet of Clermont County that I think will help them. Helping them is not what’s keeping me up at night… I can’t sleep because my heart breaks that his resource base is a name on a business card. My heart breaks because whether he’s legit or running a scam, I wonder if he’s texting anyone else. My heart breaks because there’s a 12 year old who is taking the lead role in his family. He’s the one asking for help with applying for housing. He’s the one asking for school supplies. He’s the one… it’s just him…


My heart breaks because he’s not the only 12 year old running a household…


Empower Youth is a lot of things… but right now it is gut-wrenching.


If you can’t sleep, maybe you need to be more active with us in the fight to give youth a future. Donate or volunteer today.

Empower Youth Remembers: Peachie Glassmeyer

14717330_1778268599107377_5265049837128402894_nShe never really wanted the spotlight but honestly, she could fill up a room with her humor, heart, and charm. Peachie was a beacon of hope and promise to so many who crossed her path. We were fortunate enough to work with her this past year. And… we have been forever changed.

Peachie passed away from Pancreatic Cancer on Monday with her beloved family at her side. Our prayers are with Beau and their children. We know Peachie is at rest and now we pray you have peace and can finally exhale after an excruciating month.

We met Peachie in June of 2016 but started talking a bit before that. She was interested in our weekend back pack food program for her Grant Career Center students. She researched us and presented us for approval. Grant was quite an undertaking for us. The school works with mainly Juniors and Seniors. We expected just about 30 bags in a school of less than 400. However, Peachie changed that. She went class to class talking to the students about the EY bags and how it was not a handout but that no student should ever be hungry so “grow up and take it if you need it”. It was to alleviate one more worry. The bags were deserved and were there to make each student ready for school on Monday. After all the surveys were finished and the forms received, we started bringing 75 bags to the school. They are nearly all picked up every week. How did this happen? In our other high schools, students barely even hear about the program for fear of making students feel uncomfortable. Yet Peachie in her grit and tenacity made this about if you need it take it, if you don’t– don’t. If you like it– great. If you don’t, leave it. Simple. Effective. The bags are rolled out where the kids can grab them on the way to their cars or buses. There’s no “special” sign or secrecy… just grab and go.

Peachie also called on us for other little things needed, like deodorant and shampoo around homecoming. Basically, if she heard of a gap to be filled, she called us. If we could help we definitely did. We adopted her students with the same heart as she did– every student deserves to make it. Every student can succeed.

Our fondest memory is this past Fall when Peachie attended our Chipotle fundraiser. We were told that while we could hand out flyers outside the restaurant and tell people to mention us, that once inside we could not solicit their support. Do you think Peachie even paid attention to that? Not at all… she started telling everyone in line. “Now be sure to say you are here for Empower Youth when you pay.” Two ladies in front of her had to listen for at least twenty minutes as Peachie kept talking about EY and the great things we were doing for her beloved students. Well wouldn’t you know, when they got up to pay they forgot to say anything and Peachie immediately jumped in and said, “What are you supposed to say?” OH! I can still hear her!


Before Peachie took her leave from work, I was bringing her the crates for the backpacks. In fact, I bought new Teal ones so I was kind of bragging about how pretty they were. I told Peachie I picked them up to match her eyes. Peachie then told me that something was just not right and that she knew it was serious and would be taking a leave from work. She very meticulously went through every name and number that I needed. She filled my head with potential new contacts for our work. She told me about the Soil Conservation group and about good folks like her waiting to do something with us. Through her sickness the last month, I would still get a text here and there. Peachie never talked about herself. She just encouraged the work. Wow, she really had that down good.

When we received word that Peachie had requested donations be made to Empower Youth in lieu of flowers at her passing, again Peachie overwhelmed. Even typing this, tears are streaming as we remember her… sigh… she will forever be a treasure to my husband and I.

If you would like to give in memory of Peachie, here is the link.

We have already received gifts from friends and will update this daily with the gifts of love and tribute made to her. We will send the specifics to her family.

As of this posting Memorial Gifts have been made for Peachie Glassmeyer by:

Fidelity Investments

Teachers and Staff of Grant Career Center

Stephanie Shelander

Susang Grogan Faller

Tracy Beach

Bettyann Marx

Jennifer Hill

Sue Bee-Jones

Julie Bryant

Jason Sorenson

Adele Wehrum

Peggy Szygenda

Michael Koesters

Martha Lambert

Kaia Olatunde

Karen Nuckolls

Mary J. Willke

Michele Colchin

Fideles Mattingly

Colin and Leah Klump

Pamela McKinney

Martha McDonald

Mary Lachmann

Joe Glassmeyer

Lori Wood

Scott Hakel

Debra Quentel

Janet Jackson

Kimberly Scwettman

Geoffrey Burkhart

Amy Ninichuck

Friendfeed & Mokum friends of Sarah & Susan

Pamela Sisney

Brenda Camery

Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Elizabeth Glassmeyer

Cattleman’s Association

Clermont County Public Health

EPA Friends/Jody Shoemaker

Adam & Angela Rutherford

Jeffrey & Jane Stine



Our Community Cares…

Empower Youth is nothing without a caring community! Thank you for making the youth of southern Ohio YOUR priority.


Anchor Fitness by Leah located in Batavia cares. This month they are collecting specific items for our weekend backpacks. These items are products that we can’t cut a break on and are desperately needed. They are also packing one day this month.


certa-pro-stroked1-e1336013469692 CertaPro Painters from Milford cares. This month they are packing weekend food bags for us twice! That’s over 600 bags. What’s really great is that their owner “gets” what we are doing and is sharing it with other folks like the rep from Sherwin Williams who tagged along on the first packing.



Hamersville Girl Scouts will be packing at the end of the month– these girl scouts aren’t just about the cookies.


We’ve had some wonderful church groups come through and are on the schedule to come through… Thank you to the Bethel Naz Youth who are packing during their 30 hour famine later this month. Thank you to Mt. Carmel Christian Church group who packed last month and have already scheduled another packing day!

And then there are the diehards… monthly we see the Bethel United Methodist Youth and Grant Career Center teens… wow! You guys are in it to win it!

Sunday we can’t wait to present our program to Bethel Assembly of God— a brand new monthly support team. On Monday, we are overly excited to receive a special donation from the Carrot Crunchers 4-H Club. 4-h_Club-290x300.jpg

Packing the bags is a great way to make friends and relieve the tension in the office! Right now, our fastest group is packing 320 bags under 45 minutes and our other groups are making it at about an hour and 15 minutes at the most. This is totally doable as an office event or a youth group outing.

Maybe your group would like to put some skin in the game and when you come to pack bring a donation of $199 to supply the ravioli for the week?

As we serve more and more students, our needs grow too and we are always looking for creative ways to fill the bags, send kids to camp, and further our goal of teaching leadership to students.

We are so thankful for groups like the teachers of Bethel-Tate who participated in a Lularoe fundraiser this past month with proceeds going to Empower Youth. We also had an awesome donation from a local VFW in Amelia bring us food products that we use every week in the bags. We are so grateful for Community Savings Bank of Bethel collecting food and once again being a support for our 2017 tshirts and the Earn Your Way program.

How would you like to help? Let us know! We don’t just help our youth dream big– there’s dreams for all of us to pursue.



Wow! That went fast!

It’s hard to believe that January is gone! Out! Over! Wow!

We have had an amazing month at Empower Youth. Check out these bullet points!

  • We closed the books and this year… wait for it… we took in over $75,000.00 to help fill in the gaps of children and youth in Southern Ohio! Want to hear something crazy?? Only $4,000 of that was from a grant! The rest was YOU! img_8434YOU! YOU! As we finished entering the last contribution of 2016, my eyes leaked joy and thankfulness that from Texas to Haiti, from large companies to Mom and Pop businesses, from big churches to small churches, from families to individuals— YOU YOU YOU did this. You fed Southern Ohio children. You sent kids to camp. You brought communities together. You broke poverty barriers. You helped to open that savings account for a young boy. You!
  • 16179086_1823737487893821_8703709234227598471_oWe taught students in 16 different classes at Amelia Elementary all about leadership this past week (almost 400 students)! For 30 minutes in each class, we explained to students about the importance of being pro-active and not reactive! Our goal is to give each student basic skills to become leaders in their homes, schools, and community. We will be doing this almost monthly through the end of the school year and partnering with other community leaders to help us team teach. We were excited to work with Joey Rolen for our first lesson.
  • We added another school! Today we dropped off 85 bags to Fayetteville Elementary to be distributed to students from preschool all the way through high school. We are excited to start forming partnerships with businesses and churches in Fayetteville to help support this new relationship.20170131_115107
  • We added a volunteer coordinator!! Actually we added two! You can contact Scott and Dana Wedemeyer at volunteer.empoweryouth@gmail.com to schedule your team in to pack bags.
  • We recruited two new delivery drivers! PINCH ME! We now only need a driver to deliver bags to William Bick Elementary. All other routes (including the new one to Fayetteville) are covered– that’s 5 drivers! If you’d like to take our last route, contact me NOW! This will require a van, truck, or good size SUV.
  • We held our first Poverty Class and packed it out! Blanchester Church of the Nazarene hosted– and we are still amazed at the attendance and connections that came from this class. From that class, we received an invite to do a second class with Brad Whiteford and Central Baptist Church in Williamsburg. Date to be announced soon.
  • We have met new friends through our volunteer pack nights and have been completely blown away by the enthusiasm.  20170131_140802


Every “we” in this blog means YOU! You are teaching. You are feeding. You are driving. You are learning about poverty and how to help and not hurt. You are packing. You are taking on more of the load so that more gets done. And in the end, lives are being changed– and I venture to say, it’s not just the kids!

Thank you! Come on February! Empower Youth can feel the love and is transferring it to the children and youth who are desperate for it!

— Lori Conley, Executive Director

Year End Giving Benefits All of Us!

Donate NOW!

We need you!


The end of the year… How did your year go?

Empower Youth found ourselves in the middle of a whirlwind of activity that could not have happened without your help. Some of the thing we were able to accomplish through donations of time and finances are:

We brought a community together and fed more than 4000 meals in the park this summer.

We helped a few teens start their first business.

We ventured into more schools… and are now sending home weekend food bags to more than 260 students every weekend.

We gave every Kindergarten student in Bethel Schools and Amelia Elementary a brand new pillow, pillow case, and stuffed animal and taught them the importance of “dreaming big.”

We sent 160 children and teens to camp.

We continue to feed more than 120 students and volunteers a weekly hot meal on Wednesdays.

We reached out to Grant Career Center and filled in the gaps for their pancake breakfast, Christmas giveaway, and cancer fundraiser.

We matched up 137 children with more than 100 elves for Christmas.

We added more than 100 volunteers this year through our picnics in the park and our weekend food pack program.

We moved from a small boiler room to a packing facility that has allowed us to host groups of 6-25 individuals and so far every month we’ve been blessed with a special donor or donors giving us the rent money!

We worked with interns this year encouraging them to find their gifts and talents and teaching the importance of a job well done.

In short, we filled in the gaps… which is really all we ever wanted to do.

Going into the new year, Amelia Elementary has asked us to fill in the gap of teaching leadership classes for their 3rd-5th grade students once a month. We are looking at hosting some pretty amazing fundraisers including a men’s retreat in 2017. We’ve upped our game on our shopping by partnering with the FreeStore Foodbank and Master Provisions. Sometimes we have some much food donated and have found such great deals that we can actually send home weekend food bags for as low as a $1.62!

We couldn’t do any of this without you! If you are realizing that you need more year end tax deductions please consider sending us a year end gift via paypal or through the mail today! Year end tax deductions will be given to all gifts postmarked by December 31!

Mail your gift to Empower Youth, PO Box 351, Bethel, OH 45106.

We are seeking treasure…



Empower Youth is ending another year and we have found great treasure within the hearts of people who love the children and families of Southwest Ohio.  As we look into the new year, we are seeking to extend our borders to include more children, more schools, more hope!

The treasure we have found is time, leadership, talent, and funds. Fill out the form below and we will contact you to put your treasure to work.

Do the holidays have you busy? If so donate now and Click here!


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