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Youth First Expands To Loogootee Schools
Updated August 19, 2015 10:04 AM | Filed under: Education
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(LOOGOOTEE) - Youth First's model of school-based social work and prevention programs is expanding to a sixth county and a new school corporation in Indiana. With the addition of Loogootee Community Schools in Martin County, Youth First will now serve 55 public, parochial, and private schools.

"We are excited about being able to provide our students with an additional resource," said Loogootee Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Joan Keller. "We want our children to not only be successful academically, but we want our children to be successful emotionally and socially. To succeed in one area and not the other two is to limit the success our students will be able to achieve once they leave our school."

Elizabeth Christmas is the new Youth First Social Worker at Loogootee Middle School. She is equipped with a toolkit of programs and strategies designed to help students succeed in school and in life.

"We want all children to have the same opportunities to reach their full potential, no matter the challenges they face, and that is why Youth First is so grateful to be part of the Loogootee schools and community," said Parri O. Black, Youth First President & CEO.

Loogootee Community School Corporation committed $30,000 a year for three years to bring Youth First to Martin County. Community volunteers are helping Youth First raise another $40,000 a year in support. The Martin County Community Foundation is one of the major funders.

According to Executive Director Curt Johnson, "The assistance and guidance that our children will have available to them will be invaluable for their growth and success as students and adults."

St. Vincent de Paul of Loogootee also played a major role in bringing Youth First to the area.

"The potential to lift up the lives of our area youth is one we strongly support," said Board Member Joe Williams.

Board Member and former Loogootee Mayor Don Bowling added: "Any and all effort in this area will pay lasting and rewarding dividends for generations to come."

"To be able to have a dedicated social worker in our school to reach our young people at a critical time in their lives is a sound investment," said Dan Gregory, community volunteer. "I encourage all area service organizations and individuals to support this program to enrich the lives of our area youth."

Gregory joins parent and pharmacist Melissa Courter and retired educator Beth Lett in rallying support and donations.

For more information about how you can help, contact Wade Lowhorn, Vice President of Philanthropy at Youth First: 812-421-8336, ext. 102 or

About Youth First, Inc.:

Youth First's mission is to strengthen youth and families through evidence-based programs that prevent substance abuse, promote healthy behaviors, and maximize student success. Youth First partners with 55 schools across 6 counties to provide 39 Master's level social workers who assess needs, develop and implement prevention plans, and connect students and their families to community resources. Youth First also offers afterschool programs involving parents and caregivers to strengthen families. For more information about Youth First, please visit or call (812) 421-8336.

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