The streets sell a lifestyle rooted in brotherhood, protection, and opportunity, but with the potential for great personal costs. Despite the positive trend of mentoring, one in three young people do not have a mentor while growing up. Half of these young people are at-risk.
Bench Mark Program has established a solid foundation through weightlifting. Word spread quickly, and the program grew from 4 youth to 150. The gym became their home, a place where they found consistent, enduring support from mentors who treated them like adults. This strength-based family of mentors use exercise, academics, and career counseling to help youth have a successful future.
LOHF (Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation) has approved funding to Bench Mark Program and four other programs meeting youth and child behavioral health needs in Lancaster County.
“These programs improve the mental well-being of youth and children, especially those who may not otherwise get the support they need,” said LOHF Executive Director Anna Kennedy. “These grants are just one part of our overall strategy to address the supply and demand crisis in children’s mental healthcare. Our approach is to support programs increasing access to services, while also developing the behavioral healthcare workforce to meet demand.”
Bench Mark Program – Open Gym ($10,000)
Bench Mark Program invests in at-risk youth, providing perceived street benefits without risk. They are a strength-based family of mentors who use exercise, academics and career counseling to help youth have a successful future. Though life on the streets is temporary, they commit to students’ well-being for as long as they need.
Mom’s House – Positive Behavioral Health Intervention and Support Services ($15,800)
Mom’s House is open to all single-parent students enrolled in school full time. They serve young females trying to earn a GED, high school diploma, or college degree. Their children receive a comprehensive early childhood curriculum designed for child development (including health, resiliency, social competence, and language) and school (kindergarten readiness).
Patients R Waiting – Diversifying Doulas Initiative ($12,000)
Patients R Waiting addresses health disparities through workforce development in various aspects of care. They connect with the community through their Doula program, a health equity book club, and medical activism through COVID-19 vaccination events and more. They also serve students and are currently helping 12 students with test preparation, resume and personal statement workshops and graduate school application strategy.
Advoz – Diversifying Restorative Justice ($10,000)
Advoz provides services for youth in the restorative justice program by partnering with the Office of Juvenile Probation. Trained facilitators work with victims and offenders in victim-offender conferencing, so youth can take responsibility for their actions through a meeting with the victim. They learn how to make amends and move on from what has happened.
Horizons at Lancaster Country Day School – School Counselor ($7,000)
Horizons summer program is designed to stop learning loss for low-income public-school children who experience “the summer slide” disproportionately relative to their more affluent peers. By fifth grade, the cumulative effect of summer learning loss can account for up to 3 years of achievement gap between low-income children and their middle-class peers. The program offers a structured environment with an academic focus, nurturing staff, and individualized attention.
About LOHF Children’s Behavioral Health Grants Program
LOHF’s grants elevate the mental well-being of youth and children by supporting local programs that help us to answer one or both of our two big questions:
- How can we build the talent pipeline in behavioral healthcare for youth and children in Lancaster County?
- How will we improve access to mental well-being for youth and children in Lancaster County?
We encourage applicants to replicate existing models that have been successful, and to work collaboratively with others to improve mental health services for youth and children ages birth to 26. Additional funds will be available in Fall 2021. To learn more about our grants and other programs, or apply, please visit www.lohf.org