Our Towns

Swanston Funds Playgrounds, Help for At-Risk Children

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio  – The William Swanston Charitable Fund is allocating $298,200 in grants for nine initiatives focused on health and wellness of at-risk children, including installing outdoor playground equipment in two Youngstown parks and a comprehensive program focused on disadvantaged at-risk mothers-to-be, mothers and their children.

The Swanston  Fund also announced continuing support for ongoing health and fitness programs in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

“The Swanston Charitable Fund is pleased to provide resources to assist creative and dedicated professionals who care about our Valley’s children. We continue to be impressed by the initiatives these agencies are crafting to create opportunities for children to lead healthier, safer and more fulfilling lives,” said Paul M. Dutton, chairman of the fund, in announcing the grants.

 A highlight of this year’s grant includes $75,000 to install outdoor fitness equipment at the Glenwood and Homestead neighborhood parks and launch regimented fitness programs in the summer day camp programs administered by the city, Dutton noted.

The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. will install outdoor fitness equipment modeled after resistance and other machines commonly found at gyms, but designed to withstand outdoor environments and be user-friendly for youth. YNDC will engage youth in discussions regarding physical activity and the playground improvements. Options for using the equipment will be shared with the youth to gather feedback on preferences. The equipment will then be installed by volunteers at community build day with ribbon-cutting events held to raise awareness following installation.

In addition to the equipment, YNDC is collaborating with the city to implement fitness programming in the city’s day camp program. YSU Campus Recreation will be engaged to institute the daily fitness activities with the new equipment.

The Swanston Fund also approved $25,000 to Mercy Health Mahoning Valley’s Resource Mothers program. The program is focused on disadvantaged at-risk mothers and their children to ensure prenatal care, improve pregnancy outcomes, provide post-natal care and reduce childhood obesity.

In addition, grants were provided to these seven organizations:

  • Akron Children’s Hospital, $75,000 for its Mahoning Valley Healthy Kids Coalition initiative, representing third-year funding for the effort launched in 2014.
  • Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, $32,500 to hold three “Better Block” events in Trumbull Count,.
  • D & E Counseling, $31,200 to support a healthy nutrition pilot program for children and parents involved in the Head Start program.
  • Compass Family and Community Services, $25,000 to support the Daybreak Youth Crisis Shelter, a 10-bed short term emergency shelter for runaway, homeless, and “throwaway” youth.
  • Children’s Rehabilitation Center, $14,500 to expand its fitness and wellness program introduced in 2014 and funded by Swanston,.
  • Children’s Hunger Alliance, $10,000 to support and expand its after-school nutrition program in Youngstown that was launched in December 2014 and funded by Swanston.
  •  YWCA of Youngstown, $10,000 to support efforts around eliminating childhood nutritional barriers in Mahoning County.

“Each of these programs addresses the harsh challenges confronting many at-risk children in our community,” Dutton said.

The William Swanston Charitable Fund, established in 1919, seeks to help improve the lives of at-risk children in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. It is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.