St. Paul youth-led project funded $10K

RIPLEY COUNTY, Ind. — Ripley Youth Outreach, a youth philanthropic initiative of the Ripley County Community Foundation, awarded $10,000 to a youth led project in Olean, Indiana.

The funding will be used to improve and renovate the Brown Township playground that resides at St. Paul Lutheran Church of Olean.

Ripley Youth Outreach (RYO) was established in 2015 by the Ripley County Community Foundation’s Board of Directors to engage local high school students in the philanthropic work of the Community Foundation. Their mission is to create a powerful youth voice within the local communities in order to improve the lives of those in Ripley County through a philanthropic approach. RYO’s membership is composed of students from five local high schools: Batesville, Jac-Cen-Del, Milan, Oldenburg Academy and South Ripley.

“Over the past several years, local youth and youth organizations have consistently identified a ‘lack of funding’ as a major hurdle in their ability to address the needs important to them, and their peers,” said Amy Streator, Executive Director of the Ripley County Community Foundation. Streator further noted, “Members developed the Change Ripley County Grant to provide local youth, ages 14-23, with the resources needed to bring their ideas for enhancing the quality of life in their communities to reality.”

The Change Ripley County Grant committee interviewed this year’s grant applicants, and ultimately agreed to fund the St. Paul Playground Improvement Project. RYO President, Riley Schebler, stated, “The St. Paul Playground Improvement was the perfect project for the Change Ripley County Grant. The project was thoroughly youth-led and will have a considerable impact on the surrounding community.”

Abby McCarty, the youth leading the Playground Improvement Project, was ecstatic to learn that the grant had been awarded to St. Paul Lutheran Church. She noted, “This grant is appreciated and will benefit kids throughout our rural community. I enjoyed playing on the playground when I was little and I hope the playground improvements will be enjoyed by other kids for many years to come.” Construction for the project will begin this fall and is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2022.