Emma is 11 years old and attends Bell Intermediate Academy in Martinsville. Like many youths in recent years, she is raised by her grandmother. Emma’s teacher at the beginning of the school year noticed her missing homework assignments and occasional bullying by other classmates. Many of our county’s school corporations have intervention plans for students like Emma. After a few discussions, it was discovered that Emma’s parents divorced a few years ago, and her mom left an abusive marriage to someone addicted to fentanyl. While supporting herself on disability, her grandmother offered to take custody of Emma and does her best to raise her. Her grandma has limits to her physical abilities and energy levels at the age of 72. Like Emma, 15.9% of Morgan County children under 18 live in poverty. She is one of the 34% of Morgan County students referred to a school support specialist due to academic concerns, inability to perform successfully in a school environment, or mental health concerns. Emma also joins the 38% of Morgan County students who have a history of family substance abuse.
CFMC has granted $1,016,824 in 27 years through Impact Grants so that organizations like Youth First can support students like Emma in each of our Morgan County schools. We know parenting is complex, and life is unfair at times. This past year, the U.S. Surgeon General formally alerted the nation to what Morgan County leaders have known and long prioritized: youth mental health is at a crisis point. Our kids are faced with familial and economic factors like substance misuse, poverty, suicide, and the ongoing ripple effects from COVID-19 that make pivotal life transitions like Emma’s challenging to navigate. Youth First addresses these concerns for our families and youth by placing master’s-level social workers and their clinical supervisors in a growing number of schools in Morgan County. They also provide a group-based parenting program called Family First success. Thanks to your donations, children like Emma are now supported through evidence-based medical programs in our schools. Funding programs like Youth First ensures that a proactive intervention works to prevent generational cycles from continuing in poverty, poor mental health, and substance misuse. Emma can now learn resiliency, find her voice, and feel comfortable excelling in a school environment.
Emma is a fictional character representing the youth of Morgan County based on real conversations.
Data provided by The Community Foundation of Morgan County’s 2019 Youth Community Survey. https://cfmconline.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/CFMC-Youth-Survey-Findings.pdf