The Foundation for Youth served a record number of children in 2017 and continues to see growth.

That information was shared with more than 200 people, including an estimated 100 children, Tuesday during the organization’s annual meeting. Foundation for Youth had 7,646 children participating in its programs last year, executive director Chuck Kime said.

The 90th annual report to the community largely reflected on the nonprofit agency’s history and the services it provides to children.

“Our afterschool programs continue to grow,” Kime said. “There’s growth everywhere you turn.”

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Kime also gave credit to the city of Columbus for its support of FFY.

The city and FFY struck an agreement earlier this year outlining shared responsibilities and costs between the two agencies after previously operating under three agreements that had been in effect.

“The city has been integral in all the work that we do,” Kime said. “We’re able to do things for our kids.”

Volunteers stepping up to help have also contributed to the agency’s success, Kime said.

FFY had more than 4,500 volunteers in 2017 who contributed 34,734 hours, a financial impact of $812,080, according to the agency’s annual report, which noted that individual and corporate donations also increased in 2017.

“We’re thankful for our volunteers,” he said.

FFY also recognized individuals and corporate sponsors with some awards, including The Republic, which was presented with the It Takes a Village award. The Republic was chosen for the award, accepted by publisher Chuck Wells, because of its work recognizing FFY and the community, Kime said.

“These folks are hugely supportive of what FFY does,” Kime said of the Columbus-based media company.

Wells credited the employees at The Republic for their work, which led to the recognition.

Faith Yamcharem, a sixth-grade student at Parkside Elementary School, was recognized as Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year. Yamcharem, who has been in the after-school program for the past three years, said the award caught her by surprise.

“I have some friends that come here that don’t go to my school, so I get to see them at FFY,” she said. “I feel glad to be recognized and I’m glad I have people that care about me that I also care about.”

Boys & Girls Club Director Nathan Larrison said the focus is always on youths that need FFY the most, and being able to meet kids wherever they happen to be. Due the diversity of programs that are offered, the organization has a presence in local schools that helps give it exposure, but the relationships that are built with families are important as well, Larrison said.

In 2017, the Boys & Girls Club saw its average daily attendance grow to 182 individuals, up from 152 seen the previous year, Larrison said. It has also experienced growth four months into 2018 with its average daily attendance standing at 215.

That puts the Boys & Girls Club close to capacity, Larrison said.

“I think we’ll overcome that with partnerships in the community,” he said.

Kime said he anticipates more growth on the horizon for Foundation for Youth, especially as the Columbus population continues to grow.

New programs developed last year include a maker studio, allowing youths to use technology for creative purposes. Students are able to use 3-D printers to create different objects in the studio, Kime said.

Kime also said FFY will look to develop more partnerships moving forward.

“Most of what we’re successful with here is teaming up with other groups, the schools, ASAP or any number of folks who are trying to meet goals and serve kids and where we can connect,” Kime said. “That’s the growth opportunity for us.”

List of award winners

It Takes a Village Award – The Republic

Volunteer of the Year – Holly Newman-Stump

Corporate Volunteer of the Year – Mike Mattern

Bowl For Kids Sake Top Individual Supporter – Robert Langdon

Bowl For Kids Sake Top Corporate Team – Burt’s Termite and Pest Control

Friend of Camp – Beth Haegle

Coach of the Year – Chris Baker

FFY Employee of the Year – Erica Fortner

2018 Volleball award – Melia Hubbard

2018 Female Hollenbeck Sportsmanship Award – Faith Sheard

2018 Male Hollenbeck Sportsmanship Award – Davin Greenlee

2018 Volleyball Award – Melia Hubbard

Big Brothers Big Sisters Match of the Year – Carson Perry and Ian Kohen

2018 Camper of the Year – Trace Mulcahy

Carlin Lucas Scholarship recipients – Jessica Sherfick and Ridge Harris

Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year – Faith Yamcharem

Business meeting highlights

New board members

Rebecca Kirsch

Barry Parkhurst

Millie Maier

Renewing board members

Scott Andrews

Brad Manns

Josh Littrell

Jacque Douglas

Retiring board members

Paul Malone

Jim Riggs

Foundation for Youth

Where: 405 Hope Ave.

Hours of operation: Varies

Mission: Inspire and enable our youth, our community

Founded: 1928

More information: foundationforyouth.com or call 812-348-4558

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com