United Way of the Plains is pleased to announce that a Youth Service America (YSA) grant has been secured to fund meaningful service and leadership opportunities for area youth. The $15,000 grant was awarded based on an application submitted and written by Jadie Chauncey, a Community Impact Intern for United Way of the Plains, who is currently enrolled at Wichita State University (WSU). Other students who contributed key parts of the application were Ngoc Vuong and Jordy Mosqueda, WSU students with Safe Streets Wichita, as well as Wichita Public School students Truc Dao and Yuki To.

Working together on the recruitment, planning and implementation process, three entities will each receive $5,000 from the YSA grant award: United Way of the Plains, Wichita Public Schools and Safe Streets Wichita. A twelve-month timeline for high school and university students to collaborate and contribute service hours will be developed this fall for special events, including 9/11 Day of Service, Martin Luther King Day of Service and Global Youth Service Day. Wichita is one of only five U.S. cities where the grant was awarded.

Chauncey believes the resulting projects will have a positive impact on the region’s talent retention. “This grant really empowers students from area high schools. They’ll identify and address problems they’ve experienced or seen in their own areas of the city. Working with area university students, they’ll develop community problem solving skills while strengthening their ties to their community.”

Pete Najera, United Way of the Plains CEO and President, congratulated Chauncey on the grant award. “United Way of the Plains is committed to investing in our youth. We loved working with other community organizations to form this partnership and win this prestigious grant at the national level to benefit our region through the leadership of the next generation. The award also demonstrates the powerful impact of our partnership with Wichita State University and other educational institutions.”

The initiative’s success will be measured by changes in the volunteering hours and/or rates through a service tracking system used by Wichita Public Schools. Other success measurements will also include anticipated changes in the community volunteer rate as measured by the Volunteering in America report.

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