“My dream is to become the first female chief of police in Crawfordsville.”
Leah Rusk, a recent high school graduate, shared this vision with the Youth Services Bureau. She had been a part of the JUMP program since 2012. She and her mentor, Terry Lawrence, spent many times together doing crafts, going to the gym, kayaking and other activities. Through this mentor relationship, Lawrence learned of Rusk’s desire to enter law enforcement. Lawrence and the YSB made it possible for Rusk to attend the Police Academy Camp where she has spent four summers. She is now attending Indiana State University earning a degree in criminology.
Caring adults, positive relationships. Impact.
• • •
Advocating for CASA kids in a time of social distancing and virtual meetings is near impossible. But CASA volunteers at the Youth Services Bureau quickly acclimated to FaceTime, Zoom and other ways of connecting electronically. Watching kids color Easter eggs, playing games with toddlers on FaceTime, even watching an adoption. Kate Doty watched from her home as a child for whom she has advocated for two and a half years finally got adopted. Judge Heather Barajas presided from her courtroom, while the attorney, the DCS family case manager, the adoptive parents, and Doty each participated remotely through Zoom. The child had been in foster care for almost her entire life. She had been removed from her mother before she turned two months. She is now almost 3 and a half years old. The wait had been excruciatingly long to finalize the adoption and then the pandemic hit. Most court hearings were paused. But fortunately, it was agreed to do the adoption remotely and the happy toddler has finally come to the end of her long journey through the child welfare system. The adoptive parents, the child and the CASA celebrated together on FaceTime after the hearing.
Mobilizing volunteers, advocating for victims. Impact.
• • •
The concerted effort of bus drivers, all three county school superintendents and staff, plus many volunteers ensured that the Nourish program could continue when schools closed in March. Nourish was designed to address the issue of food insecurity for children and families. In “normal” weekends, 240 backpacks filled with food and snacks are sent home from school to help feed families for the days they are out of school. During this pandemic, the requests have increased and logistics needed to shift. Youth Services Bureau coordinators went into action immediately. In just the months of March through July, over 7,200 bags of food — approximately 57,600 meals — were sent out.
Responding donors, feeding the hungry. Impact.
• • •
Impact. That is the mission of the Montgomery County United Fund. Some may prefer the more eloquent mission statement: “To serve the citizens of Montgomery County through funding a collaborative social services system that promotes human dignity, self-sufficiency, and individual character.” And our partnership with the Youth Services Bureau fulfills this directly. But, for me, it boils down to that one simple word — Impact. Donations go directly to MCUF partner agencies ... and make an impact.
Donations can be mailed to MCUF, P.O. Box 247, Crawfordsville, IN 47933 or through PayPal on our website at montgomeryunitedfund.org. Payroll deductions can be arranged through your company’s HR department.