Catawba County Youth Council
United Way Youth Community Investment Process
The Catawba County United Way Youth Council was formed in 2003 under the direction of Mr. Stephen Shuford, a United Way Board member and business leader in our community. Mr. Shuford led this effort with the belief that youth who become involved in their community as a teen, continue to be active as they become adults.
In 2014, the Catawba County United Way Youth Council merged with the Catawba County Youth Council led by Donna Mull with Catawba County Cooperative Extension. The group is made up of 32 high school students with at least one representative from each high school in the county. Membership applications are available through the guidance departments at the local high schools or by contacting Donna Mull at 828-465-8240 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2020, the Youth Council reviewed applications as a group in an online conference rather than hosting in-person meetings with the agencies due to pandemic restrictions. After using additional time to review answers to follow-up questions, the Youth Council voted to allocate $10,000 to support five programs for 2020-21.
Those programs receiving grants included:
- Centro Latino – Abriendo Puertas (Healthy Moves): Helps children learn healthy ways to deal with stress and improve learning through planned health-related fitness lessons taught by physical education trainers - $1,500.
- The Corner Table Soup Kitchen – Backpack Program: Provides food to students facing hunger, serving all three public school systems in Catawba County - $3,400.
- Morning Star First Baptist – Joseph Hill Reach Back Tutorial Program: A free tutoring program for students in grades Pre-K through high school - $1,500.
- Children’s Advocacy Center of Catawba County – Therapy Dog: Program uses a therapy dog (Chance) to increase the mental and emotional health and well-being of children impacted by child sexual and physical abuse - $1,100.
- Catawba Co. Cooperative Extension – St. Stephens High Juntos 4-H: Program provides Latino students and their parents with knowledge and resources to prevent dropping out of high and school and pursuing entry into college - $2,500.
How it works
The Youth Council focuses on giving a voice to the young people of Catawba County in matters of government and increase involvement in volunteerism and giving back to the community. They are also the lead group for the United Way Youth Community Investment process where dollars are allocated to agency programs that specifically benefit children and teens locally.
The Youth Council meets monthly during the school year. Meetings often include presentations on topics of interest to this age group as well as informative sessions featuring county government and non-profit representatives.
Applications from non-profits for the United Way Youth Community Investment process are typically accepted in early March. More information is available by contacting Catawba County United Way by phone at 828-327-6851.