LIMA — United Way of Greater Lima officials gathered with Lima Mayor David Berger and other youth organizations Friday to announce a Youth Commission will be formed to provide after-school services for young people in the community.
The announcement was made at the United Way of Greater Lima office.
Discussion on forming the commission began in fall 2017 and many organizations who have a passion for children have come together to make the commission possible, according to Berger.
“We want to make sure children in Lima have the best possible lives they can have,” Berger said.
The service delivery model will focus on after-school programming involving academic enrichment, recreation, the arts and 21st century skills. It also will include behavioral health services, transportation, food services and family engagement and support services.
The idea is to eventually make the program city-wide to serve students and will be geographically placed throughout the city, according to Berger.
Joined by Allen County Court of Common Pleas juvenile division, Lima public and parochial schools and a host of local nonprofit social service organizations, the group plans to offer a pilot after-school program to area students at North Middle School and St. Gerard Elementary School as early as fall 2019.
Allen County Juvenile Court convened in April 2013 a community- and faith-based summit on youth engagement, according to Judge Glenn Derryberry, Allen County Juvenile Court.
During the summit he cited a report from the U.S. Department of Justice office of juvenile justice and delinquent prevention that indicated the time in which a young person was most likely to engage in delinquent behaviors was 3-7 p.m., the hours at the end of the school day.
Reports also confirmed children and young adults are more likely to commit an offense of violence from 3-7 p.m. and more likely to be victims of physical assault and commit property offenses during that time period.
“We know that there are ways to reduce the impact of those factors and hopefully keep them out of the juvenile justice system,” Derryberry said. “One huge and effective way we can do that is to provide them with after-school activities that give their lives meaning, purpose and opportunity.”
Tammie Colon, Recovery Mental Health and Service Board associate executive director, said the power of the collective forces cannot be matched by any one agency.
“To see this many agencies and individuals committed to our youth is amazing and is perfect timing,” Colon said. She said the city has yet to see the ramifications of the current opioid epidemic, but said children will need after school and support services more than ever.
United Way is excited to be included in the partnership, according to Phillip Hayne, United Way of Greater Lima interim president.
“Education has been a critical part of our efforts in the community and we look forward to working with all these partners to bring these resources to support our youth and their families,” Hayne said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.