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It’s Your Story

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It’s not our story. It’s yours.

Since receiving the property, the community has poured out donations of talents, hard work, and finances to bringing this property into use for the youth and families of Clermont County and beyond. It’s not our story. It’s yours.

Community Savings Bank after giving us the property gave a paid day for volunteers for the company to come and work. It’s not our story. It’s the story of a bank who loves community. It’s the story of a bank who loves people—even those who have never made a deposit. Over the last month, bank board members have brought their own equipment and cleared our land. It’s not our story.

The students of Grant Career Center, most of whom will graduate this year and never experience the benefits of the property to them, have been out weekly working. It’s not our story. It’s the story of a future history teacher, a pre-med student, a biochemist. It’s the story of a vet science major.

The litigations department of American Modern came out and pulled bushes, cleaned lean-tos, and got really dirty. It’s not our story. It’s the story of a team who are normally in khakis and pullovers putting on work boots and drawing blisters for the greater good. It’s not our story.

The Miami Valley Christian Academy 8th and 9th grade boys have a real story. They were able to destroy a lean-to on an old barn. It’s not our story. It’s the story of working off energy and making a difference. It’s the story of hard work.

It’s about a guy named Mike at Lowe’s who painstakingly makes time for us as we think out loud the next big project. He walks through the store making our story, his story. Every piece of wood, every screw bought, every light fixture in the cart—Mike made it his story. It’s the story of a company allowing a manager to invest in the community.

Sardinia concrete jumped on our bandwagon quickly and offered to cap off our soon to be packing facility. Kelly came and looked us over and even went beyond our ask. He made it his story. And after that concrete starts to run… it will become Ryan’s story as he and his buddy finish it.

Matt has been walking our property for weeks. He’s all about getting the lights on. He made it his story. He has spent many nights after work pulling lines, screwing in fixtures, redoing, rethinking, and finally… it’s not our story. It’s Matt’s story.

In early April, Barb from Batavia Heights Christian Childcare donated a beautiful red van to replace our van that was fading fast. It was just in time as it’s become our work truck hauling supplies to the farm almost daily. This is Barb’s story.

Groups, people, companies, churches, organizations… it’s not an EY story. It’s the story of community. And, there are so many more stories to tell about this property, that we may have to eventually write a book about how a community found a way to leave an indelible footprint.

What’s your story? Step onto the EY Ranch and write it.

Contact us at to set up a time to see the property and begin your personal or organization-wide story.

You may also call Lori Conley at 614-506-3694 for more information.

Here’s a link to a already written about the property:


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 birthing an elephant!

In May of 2015, I wrote an article called It’s Only Sunday and the following week I wrote about a terrible Mother’s Day for another one of our youth.

I wanted to take a moment to update you on these families.

From “It’s Only Sunday”, it wasn’t long until the family returned to it’s usual routine. The Mom moved back in with her husband and children. Over the Summer, the father had found work and started attending anger management sessions. While the Mom and her children stayed involved, it was noticeable that she became more and more to herself and eventually, we just didn’t see her much. In the Fall, I received a phone call from her asking for advice. Her son had been in a fight at school. He had started the fight was suspended. She was reeling and so afraid that her son was repeating the cycle he had seen at home. She grounded him and tried to get him help. Eventually, she began to send her children back to our creative arts program and they seemed to thrive. It was obvious that this Momma was doing her best and struggling. While she constantly spoke of her husband’s progress, it was hard not to notice that she wore oversized coats, often had a band-aid on her forehead or an ace bandage on her arm. For Christmas her daughter had a part in the Christmas play. Even though it was almost show time, the daughter made it for all the performances and her Mom and siblings were always in the audience. The Mom’s precious smile and giggle seemed to have returned and I was hopeful for change and healing in this family.

On Christmas Eve, the police were called to her home just before midnight. Her husband had put a chair through another TV and had threatened her life and the life of her children. This time she and her children left in a squad car.


We also wrote in May about a Mom who had been sent to jail after a drug overdose. She was pregnant and had passed out with the needle in her arm. The baby was taken and after she was well enough from having the baby, she and the baby were released to her home. For the last 6 months, she has been at home and her older children were granted visitation. She has been clean for 6 months. Over those 6 months, the children were involved in the arts program of a local church and we kept pretty good tabs on them making sure they had the money needed to go on special outings with the local church and just checking up on them as needed. Both of her older children have been thriving and doing well.

In October, the young Mom’s court date came up. She was being charged for the drug episode in May. The judge found her guilty and sentenced her to 6 months in jail. While she had managed to stay clean from May til October, the judge was not lenient as this was her third time around. Empower Youth stepped in to help the Dad with Christmas. This man was not the man I met in May. In May, I remember he was very strong in Spirit and almost frightening. But in December, he stood with tears in his eyes thanking me for just listening to him. He explained his son was suffering from horrible migraines now and he was truly worried for him. This very strong man was broken. He was worried for his son. He was frustrated with their mother. And, essentially, he had no one to care for his daughter if his son required a hospital stay.

What am I learning as the director of Empower Youth? I’m learning this is not a Hallmark Channel movie where there is a merry Christmas for everyone or where families are blended in to a perfect wonderful life. In fact at times it seems like it’s one of those movies where you are halfway through the popcorn bowl and boom the music plays, the credits roll, and you are left with all these questions!

Why am I sharing this? Because these stories are not unique.

Why do you need to hear this? Because you need to know that it’s easy to put food in a belly for a weekend through our Tiger Packs. You need to know it’s easy to feed kids on Wednesday nights. You need to know that collecting cans of Beanie Weenies while is elusive–still can be accomplished for 79cents at Save A Lot.

You need to hear this because it is going to take more than blowing up food insecurities to give these children hope. The food is the start. The food begins the relationship. Because of the food, we were able to provide Christmas. Because of the Christmas, we were able to have a genuine conversation. Now that the conversations have started, we can start encouraging parents to send their kids to camp and allowing them to make college visits. Because of the Tiger Packs, the boys who said “please stop putting tomato soup in there” will now talk to us about going to college. And, we will get them on a college campus!

Our work is cut out for us. We are in this 8 months deep. You can’t even have a fully developed baby in 8 months– right now this feels like we are birthing an elephant (fyi: it takes 21 months to birth an elephant)!

So what’s happening now:

We now pack our Tiger Packs offsite and deliver them to schools. There is room for volunteers. We also have two more schools looking at our program and asking us to expand. This will call for more volunteers and more food.

We have 100+ children wanting to go to camp this year. They will need scholarships. This is estimated at $15,000.

Empower Youth currently provides the food budget for a local creative arts program every Wednesday. This is a $600 monthly need.

Empower Youth will be having our relationship building picnics every Wednesday this Summer. Last year we served 3000 meals– we are looking for sponsors to say, “I will provide food and funds for one Wednesday meal this Summer”.

How can you help?

  • You can volunteer to partner with families.
  • You can share this story and the mission of Empower Youth with your company CEOs who want to invest in programs that will better this world.
  • You can be a voice for EY in your church, your organization, and your employment. Chances are you know someone right now who can elevate this program financially and provide camp scholarships. You may know someone right now who can elevate this program to receive the attention of the public.


How sure am I that we are on to something big? So sure I’m ready to call the zoo! We are in this for the long haul… and when we are done, not only will we birth this elephant of a mission– but we will see it fly!

“But I’ve been, done, seen about everything
When I see a elephant fly”–Dumbo





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