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We found gold!

Well I guess you all have heard by now that we received this sweet little piece of property from Community Savings Bank. It’s beautiful. There are four building and a home on the land. The property goes on back about 15 acres to a gorgeous tree line and an awesome creek. Who would’ve thought that within this piece of land lies a fortune?

Now, I’m not gonna lie. The financial situation of Empower Youth has not changed since we received this property. We are still a very humble organization meeting our bills one day at a time. We still rely on community organizations and individuals sending in their contributions monthly to make this happen. As we feed almost 400 students weekly through our weekend food bags and nearly 150 students midweek with a hot meal, we rely on our partnerships heavily to make this happen. My husband has woke me up every morning for two weeks at 4am with a new worry… and at 4:20am having prayed that away, he goes back to sleep and I then can’t sleep. In fact, he’s snoring now!

But as I check our meager bank account, I realize that it does not reflect in anyway the pot of gold that we are sitting on. This property has allowed us to mine treasure from Clermont County and really all of Appalachia Ohio. It’s a lot of work but every day that we are on the property, every time we tell the story of this amazing gift, and with every sweet friend or brand new friend that comes through we see a refinement of this place—we see gold. Our gold is not a precious metal—our gold is found in the strength of the teens who care so much that they gave up spring break to come and work. Our gold is found in those who crawled into the basement and though overwhelmed just kept bringing boxes and boxes up those stairs. Our gold is found in our Ms. Joan who sits on her stool and just keeps sorting. Our gold is found under a mound of horse manure that shovel by shovel is disappearing.  Our gold—is a bonfire (well actually a trash pile) that on a misty night makes friends out of all of us.

Our gold is found in a rubber snake and a real rooster. Our gold is found in YOU!17759879_1857475621186674_1633629669304344727_n

This land is a great gift but its real value is not found on an auditor’s website. The real value is found in Tyler who went fishing on Sunday. The real value is in Olivia who has already told me how to redo the floors and as a senior at Grant showed me where all the load bearing walls are in the house! The real value is in our cheerleader and bulldog Kayla who is recruiting every teen in the county. Our real value is found in Nate who I know will be a great history teacher one day as he told me all about WW2 while he stoked our trash fire!  Our real value is found in DJ who managed to carry items up from the basement after he found all the 70s 8 tracks. The value of this property is seen in a smiling Morgan and a workaholic Sami– having fun and making memories to last a lifetime.

I’m kind of tickled as I write this and I think about our appeal letter that we sent out in November. It was called “Where is your treasure”. The clipart was a treasure map. Who would’ve thought, we would be given such a treasure trove! Now, we just need the funds to mine it. We need monthly support to pay the insurance bills, electric, and other little incidentals along the way. Would you like to support us? Would your group like to take on a project? There are projects all over this place!

For the next few weeks, we will start sharing building by building our dreams for the EY Ranch. There is so much to be done—but what a great testimony for your organization or your family to be able to say:“See that kid over there fishing—my team helped build up that pond.”  “See that community garden, I cleared that land.” “See that banquet hall, my team blew in that insulation and finished the floor.” “See those lights over the barn, my family paid for the electricity for three months.” “See those 1000 bags ready to be delivered, my company donated the concrete for the packing place.”

Become a part of the refining process of Clermont County and Appalachia Ohio—there’s gold in this property!

Donate now!  Time or money or both!

You can also email us your plans: toempoweryouth@gmail.com

 

Lori Conley

Executive Director, Empower Youth

Game-Changer!

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

Heater

Air conditioner

Wood for packing tables (or restaurant grade packing tables)

Gator

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.

https://www.facebook.com/communitysavingsbank/

Twitter: @CommunitySvg

http://www.bankwith-csb.com/

Year End Giving Benefits All of Us!

Donate NOW!

We need you!

packing.png

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.

Summer Picnics Are Here

Last year, Empower Youth broke out into Burke Park with one goal– connect our community in a way that no matter your background, paystub, or facebook status that we could all come together and have a great time enjoying our families, our neighbors, and meeting new friends along the way.  We had a fantastic success. We served over 3000 meals and filled in a gap that towns all over America are missing– community.

When we can truly be in community, then we celebrate successes like graduations, marriages, babies, retirement… When we are in community, we are there for misfortunes like sickness, loss of loved ones, job losses, and wrecked homes.

Our picnics aren’t meant to be profound, it’s just that good friends, good food, and fun seem to make those long weeks of Summer pass by with some great memories that linger way after the frost hits the pumpkins in the Fall.

Connect with the Community Picnics In The Park noah smith

 

Please join us. Bring your lawn chair too– we’re sure you’ll want to stick around for the entertainment every night. These picnics are a beautiful gift to our community by some amazing sponsors who believe that small town hospitality is not something we want to let go of anytime soon.

CAMP TIME! Sign Up Now!

Let’s do this! With butterflies in my stomach, toes tapping, and camp songs playing in my head– it is time to open up the 2016 Camp Scholarship Registrations! This is big.

Why? (Besides the fact we are organized enough to do this) WE are officially saying– WE BELIEVE IN YOUR KIDS! WE BELIEVE IN YOUR FAMILY!

And we will stake the money, the cash, the moolah of our supporters on it!

What do you need to do?  Summer Camp Registration 2016 pg1 pg 2

Where do you send it? Email it toempoweryouth@gmail.com, drop it in the mail at PO Box 351, Bethel OH 45106, or take it to any church in BETHEL and they will find us! You can even give it your school secretary and they will track us down.

What does it cost? We will hold your free scholarship for a fully refundable $10 bill. Why? Because last year, we gave away 15 spots for FREE and they were no shows. That’s 15 kids that lost out on camp. So this year… show up to camp and you get your $10 back! Wow what a deal! It’s like mini savings account to eat out on after you drop the kids off!

How many spots?  Obscure goal: 132!

Deadline April 30 for application. $10 must be in by June 1.

Need more info?  Opening letter for EY Scholarships

Scholarships are based on first come, first served, need, and if you are a first time camper. Every application will be considered and notified of scholarship when received– cause we’re cool like that!

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Loving lavishly

One of the reasons that Empower Youth is able to supply a hot meal for 120 plus students and adults every Wednesday night is because of our partnership with Master Provisions. This group has been providing food for organizations around the globe for many years but in the last couple of years has also opened up a local office for 501c3 organizations dedicated to feeding the community.
 
We’ve only been partners for about 6 weeks. In that time, my husband and I have grown very fond of the volunteers at MP. Today, when we went to pick up supplies, the freezers were bare. A huge truck that they had been waiting on with meat and other supplies had not made it in. Personally, we were going to be ok as this is an off week for us. So I loaded up on macaroni for our tiger packs and a few other non-perishable goodies. As I was getting ready to leave, the manager of the freezer section, said “Wait right here, I have something I’ve saved back for your kids.” He came back with two gigantic trays of cookies.
 
You know, he could have brought me broccoli…. but what impressed me was that he really knows what we do. There are many organizations coming through that warehouse daily and yet he had something special for us.
 
Our hope is that Empower Youth can pass that sentiment forward. We want to be the kind of leaders that with every child or family that we meet we are ridiculously generous and thoughtful and say “hey, wait right here, I have something saved back for you.”
 
If you are into loving your community lavishly, join us…. that’s the stuff that will make our world a better place.
We are looking for folks or organizations to sponsor Summer picnics for our community and to help us send over 100 students to camp. The bill for each picnic is between $300-$500 and the total cost on camp will be approximately $18,000.  Now that ridiculously generous!

empoweryouth.me

11172005_10206615805775508_1014774173_oTaking a trip through Bethel, you can essentially find everything you need. We have various fast food chains, a sit down home style diner or two, two pizza places, a couple of drug stores, a 5 and Dime, churches on the main drag and some stacked just one street back–we have it all!  We have a community park and schools with dedicated teachers. In essence, this little town is probably like most others.

Except when you start really walking the streets and you see the abandoned homes. It may look like most others til you realize that just this morning a young man passed out from overdosing in a parking lot of one of our local restaurants, his needles and drug paraphanelia scattered around him–a needle still stuck in his arm.

Once a year, our Primary school has a talent show. I have to say that place is packed. This year I watched our little Kindergarten class perform their special songs. They were singing monkeys in a tree and all about peanut butter and jelly. Those children were full of energy and the house came alive.  In 12 years, these students will be graduating. What will their future be?  Who will they become?

We all have a responsibility to our youth. We all can make a difference.

We are a grassroots organization committed to driving the message to our youth that they can indeed break through poverty, drug addiction, and neglect to become empowered to do great things. We believe there is potential in every child–if we get to them in time and show them that there is life beyond the drugs being dealt at the back of the restaurant parking lot. We secured our website domain as empoweryouth.me. Honestly, that’s where its starts. If you won’t take a minute to empower youth then when will they get the courage to step up to bigger challenges. Children can’t achieve what they haven’t been exposed to– many of our students can do so much more– they just need you.

Empower youth begins with me. Empower youth begins with you.

Please join us in this mission– we need volunteers and funds. If you can help please fill out the form below or click on our donate now page to put some traction to your action.

Long on need, short on resources

Today, I received an encouraging email from a friend of a friend. He had visited our Empower Youth site and was inquiring about how he could be involved. I’m pretty excited as I am with everyone who has emailed or sent me quick Facebook messages.

As I ended my letter in reply to his inquiry, I said we are long on need and short on resources. Then–send.  Then–I started thinking… is that really true?

I mean I know the “long on need” is true. It seems the Lord is ever trying to place people who have very legitimate needs in our path. Today, a young single Mom with transmission trouble after she spent money on repairs less than 24 hours ago. Last night, a child wanting so desperately to go to camp whose family is surviving on her Mom’s babysitting work that varies week to week. This afternoon, another brown eyed girl asked if I could help her earn money for camp as her Mom’s salary as a home health aide doesn’t leave room for extras. The need is long as I just made a list of 25 children who I know really need camp but have no way of paying for it–and those are just the children I know. I’m sure that as soon as word gets out that more will start asking.

So yes… Long on need fits. Short on resources? Hmmmmm. Maybe I was overdramatic? …just a little.

I’m not completely short on resources. I have been in contact with many people who want to volunteer and with each volunteer I’m praying for them to have contact with someone or some organization that will be able to help us. Short on resources… not really when you figure, we are tied in to a very large network. We are tied into the body of Christ. As I have witnessed, folks don’t have to be local to help. Our first donation came from a beautiful friend a hundred miles from Bethel.

So what can you really do? Well if you work for a grocery store or other retail company, how about seeing if we can get funds or gift cards to purchase food or even gift cards to give away. We actually thought it would be cool to give away an Ipad for those attending our summer in the park as an incentive for folks to come. So…who knows Apple 🙂

What can you do? Where do you work– can you check to see if your company offers grants or other funds to local charities? Now that we are 501c3 we are able to accept tax-deductible donations.

What can you do? Are you a member of rotary, lion’s club, vfw, big brothers/big sisters,  or any other organization that is looking to mentor students? The sooner we are forging relationships the more we can do to grow our kids into youth who can make a difference in this community.

What can you do? Influence those around you with resources. Pray for us. Ask me how you can help and I will meet with you and figure out the right spot. Send us a donation. Or send us an application or a link to a program that you think will help us. Somebody call Ellen!

Wow… I guess we aren’t that short on resources. They are there. I just need help in mining them. If you’d like to help with the mining– Hi Ho Hi Ho, it’s off to work we go!

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