CORS receives state grant for role models


DARKE COUNTY — The Council on Rural Services/Gateway Youth Program has received an $89,716 grant through the Ohio Department of Education as part of the council’s Community Connector Initiative.

The Community Connectors Initiative will provide Darke County students with access to inspirational role models and to nurture skills that will help them succeed both in school and in the workplace, allowing them to achieve future success.

The initiative also benefits the community at large with an increased graduation rate, and a stronger, more knowledgeable, and successful county workforce.

Community Connector grants must address five key components focusing on developing partnerships to serve students grades 5 to 12:

  • Setting goals to be prepared for 21st century careers
  • Building character
  • Developing pathways to achievement
  • Building a sense of resiliency
  • Believing in a positive future

Many business, non-profit, faith-based and school partners came together to support the grant effort.

Partners involved include Midmark; Wayne HealthCare; Norcold; Greenville National Bank; H & M Precision Concrete; State of the Heart Hospice; Darke County Wellness & Recovery Center of West Central Ohio; Darke County Municipal Court; Family Health Services of Darke County; Darke County Economic Development Office; Ohio State University Extension Office; and the Darke County Chamber of Commerce.

Other community partners include First Baptist Church in Union City, Cedar Grove Church of the Brethren in New Paris, and the Mississinawa Valley and Tri-Village School Districts.

Through all the collaborative work of these partners, eligible students in grades 5 to 12 will have access to one-on-one mentoring, skill building related to job readiness, career planning, and work ethic. There will also be tutoring, career exploration, job shadowing opportunities and internships.

In addition, a family component will be offered through a parent program called “Raising Highly Capable Kids.”

Because this state program provides $3-to-$1 match funding, financial and supportive assistance from the community is a must to make the initiative’s goals successful.

Jeff Vaughn, coordinator for the Gateway Youth Program said, “We are excited about beginning this new program and partnering with local businesses. The grant will give us the opportunity to open conversations and build more relationships in the business community and bring more awareness and personal support to young people in our county that is needed to transition them to the workforce.”

For more information about the Council on Rural Services, visit the agency’s website at

Staff report

The Council on Rural Services is a non-profit, social service organization that serves clients through federal, state and local grants. The mission is to provide a unique mix of learning and social experience to develop competence, motivation, and behavior for a better life. This is done through programs like Gateway Youth Programs, Achievement Center for Educational Success (ACES), Head Start, Early Head Start, Kids Learning Place, and now the Community Connectors Initiative. CORS has operations throughout Auglaize, Champaign, Darke, Greene, Logan, Miami, Preble, Shelby and Van Wert counties.

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