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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, May 03, 2017 1:00 am

Training to help kids gets boost

Group receives $500,000 grant

Journal Gazette

An agency that supports those who help children received a $500,000 boost from the Foellinger Foundation on Tuesday.

Great Kids Make Great Communities, under the supervision of Allen Superior Court's Family Relations Division, received the multi-year grant for its mission to equip people and organizations in nurturing kids. Specifically, the grant will fund the creation of a Youth and Family Development Academy and allow Great Kids to expand its lecture series, according to a news release.

Great Kids offers training built on scientific, evidence-based practices for agencies that serve children, parent groups, faith-based organizations and community groups. The new academy will offer training for leaders in organizations that serve youths and families.

Great Kids will partner with Shay Bilchik, a nationally recognized academic and youth development practitioner, in developing the curriculum. He is the founder and director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy.

Before joining Georgetown University, Bilchik was the president and CEO of the Child Welfare League of America and served as the administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the Department of Justice, during the Clinton administration, according to the news release.

“Our vision with the Academy is to help leaders in all areas of our community better understand the science of youth development,” Charles Pratt, Allen County administrative judge and founder of Great Kids Make Great Communities, stated in the news release.

“We have the science. We know what works. Now the challenge is to take that knowledge and move it into sound policy and practice in Allen County, allowing us to achieve better outcomes for our children and families.”

The expanded format for the lecture series will provide community leaders with high-level educational concepts presented by nationally recognized leaders.

“With decades of experience and the respect of the nonprofit community, Great Kids is uniquely positioned to prepare leaders to best serve children and families in our community,” said Cheryl Taylor, Foellinger Foundation president. “Foellinger is proud to support the development of leaders in this important work.”