2022 Finalist - Greater Clark County Schools Education Foundation and BAYA Beautiful as You Are

Executive Summary Greater Clark County Schools Educational FoundationThe Greater Clark County Schools Educational Foundation (GCCSEF) was founded as a nonprofit corporation in 1999 to be a source of charitable funds for Greater Clark County Schools.

Since then, through generous donors and excellent board leadership, they have grown from giving away several hundred dollars annually to providing over $200,000 in grants each year to fund programs like the Academies of Greater Clark that prepares High School students for their post – secondary endeavors; ACT testing for all juniors; Teacher Externships; Creative Classroom Grants; The Arts in Greater Clark Grants; VEX Robotics; Reading Materials; Scholarships; Great Clark Family Night Out; and the Teacher Supply Bus.

Beautiful As You Are (BAYA) was started in 2014 to prevent suicide and other destructive behaviors by empowering girls to love themselves and find positive ways to cope with their current situations instead of turning to negative behaviors. BAYA serves girls ages 6-18 with the purpose of building their self-esteem and teaching them how to cope with everyday stress in a positive way. ThroughBAYA, girls attend weekly interactive workshops, such as Art Therapy and Yoga, to decompress and learn new coping strategies instead of turning to destructive behaviors and suicide.

In addition to partnering with schools and organizations in the community, the “BAYA Center” opened in Clarksville, IN in 2020 and serves youth from Southern Indiana and Louisville.Here, girls participate in workshops; decompress and relax in the Decompression Room; attend after-school, weekend, summer, and special programming activities; and use the private therapy room to receive counseling from a licensed therapist. BAYA partners with three counseling offices–Personal Counseling Services,Olive Tree Resources, and Martin and Muir Associates-to provide therapy opportunities at the BAYACenter for girls in the program. All counseling is offered at no cost to the participant. To improve the mental health of girls in Greater Clark County Schools, GCCSEF will partner with BAYA to provide weekly workshops for middle and high school girls in the Greater Clark County SchoolDistrict. The requested grant funds will be used over 20 months (January-May 2023, August-December2023, January-May 2024, and August-December 2024) to provide a total of 72 individual workshops(18 workshops per semester) in 7 schools. Each semester, 20 unduplicated students will participate.To achieve the full benefit of the program, it’s important that students commit to the entire semester.Each weekly workshop costs $200 which covers travel, set-up and breakdown, activity supplies, and facilitation for 20 students. Every student participating will receive a BAYA affirmation journal and a mindfulness coloring book.

By providing its programming inside the Greater Clark County Schools, GCCSEF and BAYA are eliminating barriers, like transportation, so girls will have the same opportunities to engage with their peers and become empowered to take control of their mental health and future success. All youth participating in Greater Clark County Schools will be introduced to additional weekend and evening programming opportunities at the BAYA Center and will have access to all events offered at the BAYACenter at no cost to them.

While BAYA currently serves individual schools within Floyd County and Clark County, programming at this level will allow BAYA to directly reach an additional 560 students (20 students x 4 semesters x 7schools). During the 20 months of direct programming, BAYA will also provide trainings for GCCS teachers to train them on using BAYA’s model for their own classrooms.

This partnership between GCCSEF and BAYA will provide transformational change for Clark County students, teachers, and the community. By encouraging and inspiring girls to find their inner voice,BAYA is helping to increase their self-esteem and prepare them for successful and stable futures. Girls with high self-esteem will see their worth and invest their time in their academics, understanding that an education is essential for stability and success. This impact will be felt in the community as girls will be more likely to achieve economic stability and less likely to need the ongoing support of social programs like government cash assistance, food stamps, WIC, etc. Additionally, girls with high self-esteem are more likely to make positive behavioral choices and surround themselves with positive influence, thus decreasing their chances of being involved with the juvenile detention system or incarceration.

The requested project is sustainable after the grant period because of the training that will be provided to teachers and guidance counselors during the 20 months when BAYA is facilitating the program. This training will ensure that at the end of the grant period when BAYA stops facilitating,GCCS staff members can take over. At this time, the per session cost will go from $200 (facilitation and supplies) to $100 (supplies only). In addition, BAYA will provide a 2-hour training course each year and provide new curriculum as it is developed. GCCSEF has committed to paying half of these per session costs ($50) and will partner with another local funder to ensure this program continues.