Clinton County Community Foundation helps shine light on drugs, bullying, more

PHOTO PROVIDED Student participants are welcomed into the Central Mountain Middle School gym with high fives, cheers and upbeat music to get them pumped for Challenge Day 2017.

MILL HALL — Prescription drug abuse. Cyber bullying. Anxiety. Racism. Negative peer pressure. Heroine overdose. Abuse. Poverty. Drunk driving. Depression. Untimely death.

The Clinton County Community Foundation, Inc. is aware of these and other negative issues hammering our youth today.

The Foundation is committed to helping improve our community. Known for its generosity and community outreach, it has been providing substantial grants to various local charities since 1968. Agencies may apply for a 2018 grant by Dec. 15.

One organization the Foundation has supported is a local coalition of parents and professionals known as IMPACT. Serving the youth of our community since 2012, IMPACT partnered with West Branch Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission with these two goals in mind:

r To provide youth activities in a drug-, alcohol-, and tobacco-free environment.

r To help youth feel love and connection with their school and community.

And so Challenge Day was introduced.

To support these goals, the Foundation has chosen the partner groups as a grant recipient for the past three years. In 2015, the Foundation awarded IMPACT a $5,000 grant to help bring Challenge Day to Central Mountain Middle and High schools. Because of the impact Challenge Day had on local students, that grant was increased to $10,000 in both 2016 and 2017.

Compassion. Listening. Inclusion. Communication. Positive peer support. Love. Change.

These are just some of the positive effects that Challenge Day has had on the youth — and adult — participants over the past three years. Challenge Day helps students who think they are too different from others see that everyone is very much alike and suffering from similar tragedies and circumstances. Challenge Day instills in participants that they need to “Be the Change” in order to see their school and community flourish and become a place where they and their peers feel safe and loved. Challenge Day shows participants how to embrace others and the issues they face and to better appreciate the positive circumstances already existing in their lives.

The premise is based upon the famous quote attributed to Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi led India to independence throughout the 1930s and 1940s while also inspiring movements for civil rights and freedom across the globe.

Not wanting Challenge Day to be a single, isolated event in the students’ lives, Central Mountain High and Middle schools have embraced the project by creating student “Be the Change” clubs. Each club is supported by a faculty/staff advisor.

Here are what some students had to say about Challenge Day:

“I’ll never forget the cross-the-line activity. Its impact is just so eye-opening and mind-opening. You just never know what people are going through.” — A CMHS 12th grader

“(From Challenge Day, I learned) that I’m not alone. It was fascinating to see so many people who struggle with the same stuff as me.” — A CMHS 11th grader

“(Challenge Day taught me) that I can change to help ‘be the change’ and I learned just to be nicer to people.” — A CMHS11th grader

The Foundation is committed to working with local non-profits to improve the quality of life and well-being of our community. To make a charitable contribution or set up a permanent charitable fund named after you or a loved one, call the Foundation office at 570-748-2481.

Organizations may apply now for a 2018 grant. Visit for more information and an application. The deadline is Friday, Dec. 15.