Local High School Students Make Big Decisions – Improve Future For Others

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Alan Ronk, Foundation for Roanoke Valley Executive Director; Louise Dillon, Katies Place Co-President and Joy Parrish, Katies Place Co-President.
Alan Ronk, Foundation for Roanoke Valley Executive Director; Louise Dillon, Katies Place Co-President and Joy Parrish, Katies Place Co-President.

Five years ago a volunteer group of parents came together to form Katie’s Place, a residential farm community in Blue Ridge for individuals with special needs.

The mission of Katie’s Place is to improve the quality of life for people by providing them with opportunities to pursue the rewards of self-satisfaction, growth, and community in a rural, farm-like setting.  To date, Katie’s Place has been serving individuals of all ages by providing respite weekends twice a month.

Now, with a $25,000 grant received from the Foundation for Roanoke Valley’s Youth Leadership Committee (YLC), Katie’s Place can begin its day support program which is designed to enrich the lives of special needs adults and create an inclusive environment.

“Day support in this rural area is very much needed,”  said Amy Baker, Director of Katie’s Place.  “Our focus is to provide services to those who have finished high school but are unable to continue to higher education or transition into the mainstream work place.”

This grant will provide scholarship assistance for 5-8 individuals transportation costs, and staffing needs.  The day support program will include options to attend five days, three days or two days per week, giving parents and caregivers the opportunity to work outside the home or tend to other responsibilities.  Joy Parrish, Co-President of Katie’s Place added, “Because of this grant, Katie’s Place will be able to begin providing services much sooner than otherwise would have been possible.”

The YLC received twenty-four grant requests totaling over $617,000 and were charged with the tough task of gaining consensus among the group on a single project to fund.  “I am so impressed with the YLC’s ability to understand the plight of their disabled peers.  They showed great compassion and maturity in arriving at this decision,” said Parrish.

The Philanthropy Project was established in 2006 by Foundation for Roanoke Valley to introduce high school students to the world of philanthropy, both in terms of philanthropy’s role in being a productive citizen of the community and philanthropy as a possible career option.  The program also develops leadership and consensus-building skills.

This large impact grant has taken the YLC over the $100,000 level in cumulative grants.

For more information about the Youth Leadership Committee and how to get involved, visit www.foundationforroanokevalley.org.