For kids’ good, FFY needs your input

Foundation for Youth needs your help in determining how it can best continue to help Bartholomew County children.

The Republic’s Mark Webber reported last week on the foundation’s initiative called “Your Voice, Our Vision — Shape the Future of FFY”.

“FFY Chief Development Officer Karina Willats says the staff needs the community’s input to improve and expand programs to meet the needs of local youth and families” to support the academic, physical and emotional well-being of local youth, Webber wrote.

Toward those ends, FFY is asking for members of the public to complete an online survey at, and then sign up for one of two three-hour visioning sessions later this month.

We encourage those whose children use FFY services or members of the community who are simply interested in the development of young people to take the confidential survey and take part in one of these sessions later in March. The opinions of those closest to the services the foundation provides — and those familiar with services and programs young people need — will be vital for an organization with a long history as a provider of quality youth services.

The survey asks people to share their views on:

  • the unmet needs of youth in our community;
  • the greatest challenges young people face;
  • the kind of programs or resources that are lacking and would better support the needs of local youth, and more.

And as Willats told Webber, the timing of this survey is significant, especially following the COVID pandemic lockdowns that disrupted life and learning for so many children.

“We’re seeing a lot of mental health needs, anxiety,” Willats said. “Some kids were not socialized during the COVID-19 lockdowns. And it doesn’t just go away.

“The foundation wants to help alleviate the different levels of trauma, especially from those children who say they don’t know how to make friends, Willats said. Her organization also wants to make sure kids feel safe, especially among trusted adults,” Webber reported.

So FFY wants to understand, based on community stakeholder input, whether children would be better served, for example, by adding work readiness or life skills programs. Likewise, should the foundation expand athletic programs at is building at 405 Hope Avenue and at Columbus Youth Camp?

“Any program we have, we are trying to build resilience and encourage education,” Willats told Webber. “We are trying to help young people develop a positive identity and build character.”

And the community’s help is needed in determining how Foundation for Youth can continue and build upon the programs it has offered children in Bartholomew County for almost a century.