Jay County High School: Prom Night

This year the YSB had a youth who had the opportunity to attend prom and go on a week-long trip with the school!  These were both exciting events we don’t get to participate in all the time, so everyone was more than happy to help make this happen for our youth.  There were many plans made and executed along the way, and we want to thank everyone who contributed. 

First, thank you to Jay County Junior-Senior High School for providing the prom ticket and for working with our youth and YSB to make sure they could be included in both events!  Cowpokes in Anderson, IN graciously agreed to donate a new pair of cowboy boots, to accommodate the wardrobe wishes of our youth.  Heidi Bouse, the Business Manager for YSB, ordered and donated the boutonniere.  Dawn Milligan, our File Review staff, secured funds through her church, Willow Tree Ministries located at 722 West Main St in Portland to purchase clothes for prom.  We were able to get a tux for the big event!  The Elks Lodge in Portland provided free pre-prom dinner for any prom attendees who chose to go there for dinner.  In addition to all of these wonderful gestures, many staff members stepped up to help out as well.  Big shout out and much gratitude to Erika Limbert, the YSB Case Manager who ran our youth all over east central Indiana to gather all the goodies together and ensured all the plans in place would work.  Thanks to Erika Huntsman and Abi Walker who helped our youth get ready for dinner and prom, took some fantastic pictures at local venues, and also provided his transportation to and from prom. Thanks to Anna Coronato, who provided extra staff support so coworkers could make sure our youth made it to and from the extended school trip!

It is with the deepest of gratitude that the Youth Service Bureau and our youth thanks everyone who helped make this happen!  All too often our youths are unable to participate in these memorable events due to life circumstances which makes it even more important that we were able to work together to provide our youth with these opportunities.  Thank you all, again, for all of your caring and hard work.

 

Heather Hall
-Residential Program Director

Winchester, IN – Donations and Volunteering

Relief efforts are ongoing for those affected by the tornados in Randolph County.

To find out how to assist with these efforts, please visit the Randolph County Foundation website (www.randolphcountyfoundation.org).

On 3/25/24 our youth in the residential program volunteered at the Winchester Moose Lodge with sorting and handing out donations for the families that lost their homes in the recent tornado. Our residents assisted with sorting the items and marking out barcodes. 

However, their favorite part was being able to assist those who came in with finding the items they needed. One of our residents assisted an elderly lady in finding various items such as canned food, dishes, and clothes. He helped her try on various coats until she found one that fit her properly. While he was helping her they had an opportunity to talk a little bit and get to know each other. He then helped her load her stuff in the car and they hugged and wished each other well. He stated that he never knew volunteering could be so amazing! He shared that he was eager to do it again to keep meeting amazing people while being able to give back to a community in a positive way. 

Our residential kids have not always had an opportunity to see the value in community and helping other people. They all agreed that it was a meaningful experience that they would remember for years to come.

– Erika Limbert, Residential Case Manager


Photo Gallery

NBA All-Star Weekend

As most are aware Indianapolis was host to the NBA All-Star Weekend this past February for the first time since 1985! In February of 1985 the YSB was just a little over 6 years old and only offered one program, Residential Treatment.

As part of the weekend celebration, the Pacers Foundation allowed many youth-serving organizations to apply for ticket donations to the All-Star Saturday Night activities. These activities included the skills competition, 3-point contest, and slam dunk contest. I am happy to say that we were one of the organizations chosen to attend. All together between residents, staff, and staff family members, we had 17 youth and 7 adults in attendance.

In addition to the dazzling athletic spectacle that was witnessed that evening, there was an equally amazing display of technology! During the game, they used a new basketball court assembled in Lucas Oil Stadium that incorporated LED technology for the first time. This turned the court into a giant television screen with dazzling graphics and displays that were witnessed throughout the evening! As attendees left for the night there was also a very impressive aerial show through the use of drone technology!

Indianapolis and the Pacers Organization did a wonderful job of hosting this event! The YSB is very grateful to the Pacers Foundation for giving us this opportunity to be a part of history! This is something that our attendees, especially our residents, will never forget, thank you!

Photo Gallery

2023 Wrap Up: Arts Place Creative Classes

Wrapping up our news from 2023, our Residential residents had a wonderful time participating in creative arts classes at Arts Place in Portland!

We’re thankful to Arts Place and the Xi Chapter Delta Theta Tau Sorority of Portland for sponsoring this event!

 

Erika Limbert, who helped lead the experience, had this to say:

“Over the summer the YSB was thrilled to partner with the Arts Place and the Xi Chapter Delta Theta Tau Sorority in order to provide our Residential youth an opportunity to participate in some art classes. This opportunity gave us the chance to work with our youth in care to be able to find new ways of expressing themselves and their emotions in a positive and healthy way. With the variety of classes that were offered to us we were able to discover things that each youth could enjoy. 

Some of the residents were able to find their voice in the writing class whereas others were able to express themselves through painting or ceramics. While the classes were fun they also challenged our residents to think out of the box while also being able to follow the instructions provided to them. This opportunity also afforded the residents an opportunity to learn how to build relationships with people in the community through small talk and shared interests, which will be skills that can greatly benefit them for the rest of their lives. The residents grew especially fond of J.B. Goodrich. They expressed a lot of excitement about being able to go and hang out with J.B. and a few others that would come in during the classes. 

The residents during these classes were able to express things that they enjoyed doing, such as listen to music with J.B. during the classes, which led to J.B. donating a karaoke machine to our facility. Our residents have had a blast with playing with the karaoke machine and were so excited to learn that it came from J.B. We are looking forward to partnering with the Art’s Place again next summer and being able to continue with such a great activity for our residents in care!”

Residential Care – 2023 Christmas Party

I am pleased to share that the YSB provided another group of residential youth with an amazing Christmas experience!

Our Christmas celebration is filled with an entire month full of Christmas related recreation activities, but things really get going when the residents start receiving their Secret Santa gifts. Each resident had two staff assigned to them this year. One staff bought them $5 gifts for each of three days and then the other staff bought them $5 gifts for each of three days. On the seventh day, which was the night of our Residential Christmas Party, the residents opened their big gift from their Secret Santa’s. Some staff chose to team up for this gift and others wanted to purchase their own, so residents either received one $40 gift or two $20 gifts.

On the night of the party the residents, staff, and the staff guests enjoyed a Christmas feast prepared by Tina Bechtol. Like always the food was wonderful and the residents especially love all the tasty desserts! After everyone has eaten their fill we get the lounge area cleaned up and ready for presents. The first gifts to be passed out are the Secret Santa gifts. The residents open them and then try to guess which staff had them. I think there was only one correct guess this year, but staff and resident alike enjoyed the fun and mystery around this activity again.

After that it is then time for the residents to receive their haul of Christmas presents. Each resident gets a large Santa bag filled with gifts. The residents open them and then take turns sharing what they received. This year there were a lot of new shoes and new clothes. They always receive really nice name brand items that they often times do not have the opportunity to receive outside of care so it is always exciting to see their reaction when they receive something that they really wanted! Yvonne Duff, typically does the majority of the Christmas shopping for the residents each year. Yvonne has a knack for being able to pick out just the right gifts for each resident.

A lot of the time our residents are able to go home and be with someone from their family for at least part of Christmas day, but sometimes there are one or more who have no place to go for Christmas. When this happens we make sure that they have some additional presents to open Christmas morning along with having a big breakfast and getting to stay in pajamas for most of the day.

We would like to once again thank all of this year’s donors as it is with your support that we are able to create these long lasting Christmas memories and take the residents on numerous outings throughout the year!

-PJ Corwin
YSB Executive Director

Winterfest 2023 – YSB Courthouse Christmas Tree

Our Residential care children have decorated our tree for the 2023 courthouse Christmas tree contest, and we would appreciate your vote!

As part of the annual Winterfest festivities, the Jay County Courthouse is holding its Christmas Tree Contest. Our residents have decorated our white tree with a christmas gnome theme, located on the 3rd floor of the courthouse. Yvonne Duff, who led the activity, wrote about the experience:

“On November 20, 2023, I had scheduled recreation time as helping put up and decorate a Christmas tree at the court house. To be honest, I was dreading it. I have done this many, many times over the years, it had become mundane. I begrudgingly headed to Residential to get my supplies and the girls to help me.

The moment the three girls got into the car, I could feel their excitement. They were very chatty and obviously excited. I thought to myself, let’s see how excited they are as we lug this big tree up three flights of stairs. We unload everything and make our way into the courthouse. As we go through security the girls excitedly tell the officer working why we are there. He gives us directions to our spot, and up we go to the third floor to get started. Interestingly there was no complaining!

We get out our tree that is white and I see apprehension on the girls faces. One asks, “We have a white tree? We are the only ones with a white tree.” But then something delightful happened, and another girls says, “This is great, we are the only ones with a white tree. We will stand out, and I bet we win!!” Her enthusiasm was contagious and we begin decorating.

It doesn’t take long to figure out that only one of the three has ever put a Christmas tree up. They are visibly nervous as they ask what to do. Slowly we get the tree up and the lights on. The girls became very excited. We then got out our handmade ornaments and finished up.

All of us took a step back to look at our creation. The girls started to gasp. They told me it was the most beautiful tree they had ever seen! They wanted me to take their pictures standing by the tree because they didn’t want to ever forget how much fun it was to decorate a beautiful tree. And so for the next 10 minutes I took various pictures.

On the way out, they each went to the officer at the front door and asked him to vote for the YSB tree. He asked why he should and they told him excitedly that if they won, the money would be used for a pizza party for the residents. He asked if he could come and they immediately told him they would love for him to come.

As we walked away, I was once again humbled by the experience of working with abused/neglected/delinquent youth. Something fairly insignificant, that I take for granted, was awe inspiring for three young girls. Something so simple, a white tree with colored lights and handmade ornaments, had brought them joy that they couldn’t help but share. And their joy was catching, as I found myself leaving the courthouse with a smile on my face!

So, if you are at the courthouse this season, look for the YSB tree. It’s the only white one, and it is on the third floor. We would definitely appreciate your vote!”

Halloween Fun at YSB!

Halloween Fun at YSB!

On October 28th the YSB supported Prevent Child Abuse Randolph County and their laundry project. Through this trunk or treat event they worked to raise money to provide free laundry services to families in need. A special thanks to Marsi Dow for representing the YSB and Healthy Families Program at this event!

On October 29th, the YSB participated in the As-BOO!-ry 2023 event at the Asbury Church in Portland. At the event PJ Corwin, Emperor Palpatine, Camden Corwin, Darth Vader, and our lovely assistant Jenna Corwin passed out candy to roughly 400 attendees! The force was definitely with us on this day!

The YSB participated in the Portland merchants trick or treat on October 31st. Elyse was representing the YSB and the Safe Place Program at this event. Elyse and her assistant passed out approximately 800 packages of M&M’s with Safe Place information attached to them.

Thanks to everyone who helped with these fun and successful halloween events!

New Year, New Team Members!

It’s been a great start to 2023, and we’re happy to announce our Residential Care program team has grown! Welcome Breanna and Amanda to the YSB!

Breanna Rodeffer

Position: Residential, Direct Child Care Worker

“I have two children, Braelyn and Weston. I have a Goldendoodle named Mia. I’m going to school for nursing.”

Breanna - YSB

Melinda Bailey

Position: Residential, Direct Child Care Worker

“I have 4 wonderful adult children and I fostered high needs children for 9 years.”

Melinda - YSB

Amanda Riley

Position: Residential, Direct Child Care Worker

“I am easy going and I absolutely love working with kids! I’m a mom of 4, 3 boys and 1 girl. I’m a very outgoing person and also nerdy!”

Amanda - YSB

Our Residential Care treatment program is designed to assist youth in need of temporary or extended rehousing. Our staff are trained in therapeutic intervention, and help residents learn independent living skills while maintaining and strengthening family contact.

To learn more about our Residential Care program, click here to visit our Residential Care program page.

For any questions regarding our Residential Care program, please contact us at:

Residential Care
Youth Service Bureau, Jay County
260-726-8520
ysbjc@ysbjc.com

Salary: $40,000.00 – $55,000.00 per year

Christmas Celebrations at YSB

(Left to Right) Residential Program Director – Mackenzie Ashley, Training and Facilities Manager – Scott Bissell, and Executive Director – PJ Corwin deliver Secret Santa presents to residents at this year’s Residential Christmas Party.
Each year, at Christmas time, the Residential Program takes steps to insure the residents have one of, if not, the best Christmas ever! There are several activities that take place. Here are a few of our favorites!  Paper chains hanging on beds- one of the activities they participate in is creating paper Christmas chains to count the number of days until Christmas. Each resident makes their own paper chain with each link symbolizing a day leading up to Christmas Day. Each day the resident tears off a chain link for the day and turns it into staff for candy! Another fun activity is the 12 Days of Socks, also known as the sock advent calendar. For the twelve days before Christmas, residents participate in fun holiday games with the winner “punching” the advent calendar for a new pair of socks. Our absolute favorite activity leading up to the Christmas party is Secret Santa! For the last few days leading up to our big Christmas celebration, each resident begins receiving gifts from their Secret Santa. Each resident has a staff person that becomes their Secret Santa. This staff person purchases small gifts for the resident for a few days before the Christmas party. When the resident gets home from school they find a small wrapped gift waiting for them. Then on the day of the Residential Christmas Party, the residents receives a big gift from their Secret Santa! After receiving and opening their gift the resident tries to guess which staff person is their Secret Santa. It is very entertaining watching and listening to the residents as they try to figure out who their Secret Santa is leading up to the party. It becomes hysterical as we (staff) get to watch them guess which one of us was their Secret Santa. It is a highlight of the party, and always seems to be a big hit with residents!
The Residential Christmas Party feast prepared by Tina Bechtol.

Lastly, we have our Christmas Party. On the night of the Christmas party, YSB staff and residents have a big feast, residents get gifts from their Secret Santa, open that gift, guess their Secret Santa, and then receive their Christmas presents. There is not an adequate way to describe the emotions felt, as an adult watching these children open their presents, some of whom have never experienced a Christmas anything like this one! This is what I have witnessed from our residents: there have been residents who have cried, saying that this is the best Christmas they have ever had, there have been residents that have smiled all night and not said a word, there have been residents that could not sit any longer and had to get up and literally jump for joy. A resident this year was so excited about her gifts that she had to stop and show everyone in attendance what she received after each present opened before moving on to open the next present! Many times, we have had residents tell us that they have never had name brand items before. They are so excited to have received a pair of Nike tennis shoes or Levi jeans that they get up to immediately go try on their new things. The joy they feel is contagious and as we leave for the evening we take a piece of that Christmas spirit with us. Celebrating Christmas at Residential is definitely my favorite part of working at the YSB!

We would also like to give a special shout out to Yvonne Duff who does an amazing job of picking out just the right presents for each resident every year! Scott Bissell and Tina Bechtol for decorating the house beautifully each year! Tina Bechtol for preparing the amazing feast that we have each year, not to mention the super tasty desserts! And to all the YSB staff who go out of their way to make Christmas extra special for our Residents!

As a Resident at the Youth Service Bureau

As a resident at the Youth Service Bureau, I would have to say that the abundance of support and opportunities given to me have completely changed the course of my life. Before YSB, I was a terrified, depressed, and freshly graduated kid with no one in my corner to help me make the healthy life-altering decisions that I was being forced to start making for myself. It’s been clear from the beginning that my circumstances would never lead me to any success in meeting my short-term goals, but compared to my peers, I was bound for long-term failure. 

YSB changed that for me.

At the Youth Service Bureau, they provide 24/7 assistance to the residents living here. We all meet with the therapist and case manager at least once a week to work on dealing with our trauma and on independent living skills so that we are better prepared for the future. Also, I believe that the entire experience of learning how to coexist with the other kids living at the Residential House is more than a necessary skill that all of us are bound to work on and learn from each day we live here.

Though, I do want to say that the kids who are placed at the Youth Service Bureau are definitely not bad kids. It is my belief that the kids that come through here have been dealt bad cards in the game we know as life. We just need a nudge in a better direction so we can become the strong, independent, and healthy adults we deserve to be.

Honestly, I can’t say I’ve ever had the stability and support of a real home before YSB. Now I have both of those things and more from my YSB family, and I could not be happier.

I believe that, at least for me, the YSB is that nudge.

Thank you!

Madelyn Stratton