After a year of virtual meetings, birthdays, celebrations, and events, I could see why people’s interest in these might wane. That said, virtual fundraisers continue to be the only viable platform for essential nonprofits in our community to effectively raise funds until such time as we can safely resume in-person events at large scale. With this in mind and as a media sponsor of the gala, Carmel Monthly asks our readers to join us in supporting the Carmel Youth Assistance Program (CYAP) by attending “virtually” the Carmel Gala 2021, Design Bright Futures on April 24, 2021 The platinum sponsors are the City of Carmel and United Consulting.
Changing the lives of at-risk youth in Carmel
Formed in the fall of 2015, CYAP’s mission is to help strengthen youth and families through community engagement, access to services and volunteer support through mentoring and tutoring. Like other youth peer support programs in Hamilton County, local volunteers develop and provide access to programs and services that promote positive growth experiences and enhance home and community relationships.
CYAP works in conjunction with the Carmel Clay School District, the City of Carmel and the Hamilton County Superior Court. Since its inception, CYAP has raised funds to provide camps and recreational activities for students, food for the Carmel’s summer meal program, basic necessities and shelter for families who would otherwise be in need. food insecure and impoverished. Yes, there are families in need throughout our community, and the pandemic has only exacerbated many of their vulnerabilities.
Since 2015, CYAP’s measurements show a significant improvement in the behavior, education and social skills of young people in its program.
A powerful story about a CYAP mentor and mentee
I spoke with a CYAP parent, Shannon, and mentor, Susan Shelley, about the impact the mentoring program has had on their lives and the lives of Shannon’s two daughters who participate in the program and have their own mentors.
“I am a single mother of five and have two daughters who have [CYAP] mentors, ”explained Shannon. “I signed up for this program because I left home every Monday and Thursday evening to do counseling sessions with two of my daughters. “
Shannon explained that one of her daughters is a sexual abuse survivor, abused by an extended family member. Needless to say, Shannon reached out to CYAP for resources and assistance. This call led two of his daughters to develop life-changing relationships with their respective mentors.
“Mentors and Maggie [Figge] are phenomenal, ”Shannon said. “I started with small steps because I was so worried, and we were just coming out of what had happened with the family. Respected mentors [our situation]. It’s just a great program, and my kids really enjoy it. They have gained so much self-esteem and confidence spending time with their mentors. It also made me believe that there are still good people. I had to put my fear aside and thought about my children. And the children have really grown up. We came together better as a family as a whole because [the kids] know they are safe.
Susan Shelley is a CYAP mentor for one of Shannon’s daughters.
“I saw a listing for a mentor, I think on ‘Good Day Carmel,’ and I thought it sounded like a perfect fit,” Shelley said. “I was super excited to be accepted into the program. I met my mentee in January 2019, and she is just the light of my life. Typically we are together three to three and a half hours [a week]. “
Shelley explained that she and her mentee spent time reading, painting and cooking, and they enjoyed going out to eat. [pre-COVID-19], going to different events in WestClay Village, swimming and learning life skills such as budgeting and expanding their respective comfort zones together.
“My mentee expects me to keep pace with anything I ask of her,” said Shelley. “I’ve seen her mature in a good way, but I also see her struggling with stress. When you talk about mental health, I don’t know how a 13 to 14 year old does without tremendous stress. I hope that as a mentor I can mitigate this somewhat. I am a trusted advisor and someone she can have fun with without judgment. Less than five minutes after being with my mentee, I am in a different world. I am in his world, and it is a very beautiful place to be.
The needs in Carmel are real and growing
Maggie Figge, early intervention advocate at CYAP, explained how the pandemic and economic downturn have increased the number of cases referred and the amount of funding needed to support life-saving programs offered by CYAP.
“The need has just grown tremendously throughout 2020,” Figge explained. “We have families who have never needed help and suddenly find themselves in a precarious position and need something, from a little help to a full-fledged need for support. financial and mental health. “
Figge said 40% of CYAP’s referrals were for mental health support for children in the aftermath of the pandemic. She explained that CYAP’s greatest needs right now are mentors for the many children they have on a waiting list as well as donations that help fund the Carmel Summer Meals program and other programs that help. families with transportation, rent, tutoring, counseling and so much more.
Figge added, “We are preparing to launch a tutoring program which will begin this summer. It will be a simple volunteer activity — twice a week for 20 minutes — in person or virtually. We will provide the tutor with all the material he needs. It’s our way of trying to alleviate this learning loss during the summer.
Not just your typical all-virtual gala
Register… register… register! And then, host a safe little viewing night for the Virtual Carmel Gala – Design Bright Futures, Saturday, April 24 at 7 p.m. LIVE on Facebook or Carmel TV. Order your charcuterie board or flower arrangement from the Carmel Gala website for you and your party guests to enjoy while supporting CYAP. Also, don’t forget to buy tickets for the Bourbon & Bling raffle!
Raffle tickets, Buy It Now purchases and donations open on March 15, so register NOW until April 24 at 7:00 PM. The silent auctions will officially open on Friday April 9 and end on Saturday April 24 at 9 p.m.
Sign up or log into CarmelGala.org or text CarmelGala21 at 243725. Join us virtually on the Carmel Youth Assistance Facebook page or Camel TV for a live interactive evening that will include Mayor Jim Brainard and Dr. Beresford with special appearances from other locals. celebrities and partners. There are many prizes to be won as part of the Bourbon & Bling raffle including a Coach purse, Kate Spade tote, $ 500 MetalMark Fine Jewelry gift card, bottle of Bourbon Blanton and MORE ! The raffle draws will take place during the live event at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 24.
The official outfit for this year’s Virtual Gala is what I called pandemic chic, meaning anything you’re comfortable wearing, from loungewear to formal outfits. The world is your shell!
You can also follow the event on Facebook for special videos, announcements and surprises along the way: https://www.facebook.com/carmelyouthassistanceprogram.
For more information about CYAP or how to become a volunteer mentor or tutor, to ask for help or to donate, visit youthassistance.org/carmel.