LIMA — Thirty-five students from 11 Allen County high schools took a special tour on Friday of the area’s non-profit agencies as the students of Allen Lima Leadership’s youth leadership class get ready for their community service projects, this time in partnership with the United Way of Greater Lima.
The students will soon draft their service project ideas, but first: a trip to the West Ohio Food Bank, the YMCA and Allen County Senior Citizens Services.
“We wanted to expose them to some of the data behind the needs in our community,” said Derek Stemen, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Lima, which extended a $2,500 grant to help the students make their service project a reality.
The class started the morning at West Ohio Food Bank, where they learned about the food bank’s efforts to fight food insecurity. They heard from Goodwill Easter Seals and the American Red Cross, and traveled out to Senior Citizens Services for a presentation on senior and mental health services.
Students spent some time at the YMCA too, learning about community programs offered by the YMCA, the ARC of Allen County and Youth for Christ.
The tour was designed to show students not only what the community’s greatest needs are, but what services already exist to meet those needs and how the students can partner with existing organizations to fill the gaps in service.
“(We wanted) to teach them that we don’t want to duplicate services in the community, but we want to multiply those (services) and we can do that by partnering together,” Stemen said.