March 29, 2017

St. Vincent Charity receives $200,000 grant for resilient youth project

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center has received a $200,000 grant from the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation to support a new community outreach program aimed at helping adolescents in the Central neighborhood—the Resilient Youth Project.

With 82% of children in Central living in poverty and only 32% of residents graduating high school, Central youth fight huge barriers to stay on course toward high school graduation and a better future. They are vulnerable to problems with employment, health, safety, neglect and self-esteem.

The Resilient Youth Project will enroll 20 youth ages 13-15 years from the neighborhood in work and activities designed to teach both life and job skills, as well as promote education and community impact, all while earning a small stipend. A dedicated employee from St. Vincent Charity will oversee the Resilient Youth Project. Working with the Central Recreation Center and St. Philip’s Christian Church, the program’s Outreach Specialist will create supervised, concrete identity and self-image building projects. Additionally, the funds will help to develop adult-supervised projects that promote job readiness and self-sufficiency. Teenagers in the Resilient Youth Project will participate in multiple enrichment activities on a monthly basis such as field trips to explore future job opportunities and mentorship/leadership programs.

“I’ve worked with the kids in the Central neighborhood for many years and the Resilient Youth Project is going to be extremely beneficial to those who participate,” said Bill Myers, Manager of Cleveland’s Central Recreation Center. “The activities and opportunities they are going to be involved with are going to help prepare them for high school and beyond.”

An estimated 40% of health outcomes are determined not by genetics or lifestyle, but by powerful social and economic factors such as education, employment, safety, and family stability. The objective of this program is to help create an environment that supports good physical and mental health and social and economic well-being, keys to resilience in dealing with the major stressors of poverty.

With an overarching goal of improved community health, the Resilient Youth Project will enhance the health of the local community by:

  • providing a safe location for youth to spend substantial amounts of time engaged in constructive activities with like-minded peers
  • providing multiple supportive adult relationships to help youth form healthy bonds with consistent positive role models
  • providing stipend income to promote the dignity and value of work, increase job-readiness, and teach financial literacy
  • engaging families in intentional activities focused on strengthening relationships

“For many years, St. Vincent’s Outreach Department has worked with the Central Recreation Center and other neighborhood organizations that are committed to strengthening the bonds of the families of the Central neighborhood,” said David F. Perse MD, president and CEO.  “We are excited to further develop that relationship and create a lasting impact on the children in our neighborhood through the Resilient Youth Project.”

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System. 

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