UMYH is excited to announce we have received a three-year grant of $999,715 from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help expand our therapy and high-school equivalency services to at-risk youth. 

This is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s initiative, Strengthening Youth Programs in Indiana. The aim of the competitive initiative is to help youth-serving organizations working throughout Indiana improve their abilities to promote academic, physical and social well-being of young people, ages five through 18. 

This expansion of programs includes:

"We are delighted to receive this grant to continue to provide much needed services to our youth while upholding the level of excellent care we strive for. UMYH has been striving to meet the growing need of our community and this funding will allow us to hire more staff and give current staff more training, as well as purchasing the much needed materials to expand capacity."

UMYH is one of 187 organizations receiving grants through Strengthening Youth Programs in Indiana.

“Indiana’s youth-serving organizations are crucial to the healthy development of children and youth across the state,’ said Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education. “The challenges these organizations have faced in meeting the needs of young people in recent years have made their work increasingly difficult. Lilly Endowment is pleased to support their efforts to strengthen programs and serve more youth more effectively.”

Lilly Endowment launched Strengthening Youth Programs in Indiana Initiative in 2022 with an invitational round of grants to nine national youth-serving organizations to help them expand and enhance the work of their Indiana affiliates or chapters.

Meet Dasia

Meet Dasia

Before coming to UMYH, Dasia didn’t set goals or plan for her future. She thought dropping out was her future. 


“I was very nervous and had a lot of anxiety around my placement at UMYH. I was worried it would be extremely restrictive, like a jail or ‘locked up’ facility,” shares Daisa. “But, I knew if I stayed where I was that I would have ended up dropping out of school and not continuing my education.”


The Day Education student is now excelling with help from instructors who “meet her where she is,” every day. Dasia is right on track to earn her high school equivalency this year because of the team members who let her set her own pace, gently offering encouragement and assistance along the way.


“I really appreciate how they let me step outside the classroom when I’m stressed, anxious, or having a bad day. This helps me compose myself and come back refreshed, ready to learn,” shares Dasia. “I don’t feel any kind of negative pressure from them, and that has helped me immensely.”


For the first time, Daisa is looking ahead to her future and setting goals.

“I want to become a tattoo artist to help people express themselves fully and authentically through body art,” the enthusiastic 18-year-old explains. “I can’t wait to graduate, get my first job—maybe even a house!”

Daisa describes earning her High School Equivalency as the “big hump” that was in the way of her success. Sometimes, it’s all about being given the time, space, and tools you need to succeed!

“I love UMYH because it is so much less restrictive than ‘normal school.’ No one is breathing down your neck. Staff are respectful of boundaries. You get to move at your own pace. You get your work packet, do your work, and if you have a question you can ask. But they do not bombard or crowd you.”

Daisa also appreciates being surrounded by youth in comparable situations. It forms a feeling of solidarity that helps her focus and realize she is not alone.

“I like being in a classroom environment where I don’t feel out of place. Being surrounded by other kids in similar situations helps me feel more comfortable and less intimidated.”


We are so excited to see what great things Daisa will do with her bright future!

Meet Lataviona

“I love my ‘Truancy’ days with Harley. We work one-on-one and when I accomplish my goals for the week, she treats me to lunch. I view graduation as the key to my success: finding a better job, getting the option to go to college, and living a better life.” 

Everyone’s success story looks different. No two people share the same experience in how they overcame strife to focus on achievement, yet all journeys are equally valid. At UMYH, we focus on helping young people find the paths to success that work best for them.

Lataviona, a Day Education student, is a shining example of taking her own path, at her own pace, and reaping the rewards of her work. She knew her chosen steps were not conventional, yet she remained steadfast—and that has made all the difference.

Lataviona started her academic journey at Harwood Career Preparatory High School, then moved to another GED program before coming to UMYH. She never felt quite “at home” or comfortable in the traditional classroom setting. “Draining” and “boring” were two words that came to mind when she described how it felt back then. She didn’t feel a spark or desire to continue learning in the way that seemed to come easily for her classmates.

“If I hadn’t come to UMYH, I probably would have dropped out. It was the first place I felt inspired to put in the work to graduate,” shares Lataviona. Before, she wasn’t getting the mentorship or routine “check-ins” that she really needed on the tough days. Having her own cheerleaders and “accountabilibuddies” allowed her to set realistic, attainable goals that led to milestones—even thoughts of higher education.

Congratulations, Lataviona. We are so proud of you for having the courage and determination to “take the road less traveled by.”

It really has made all the difference

Meet Kynzie

Kynzie is a brilliant young lady who came to us in 2020, right as COVID-19 was taking the world by storm. She was in an unhealthy placement that was really taking its toll on her, but it didn’t take long for her to warm up to life at the United Methodist Youth Home. Within weeks almost everyone knew Kynzie. She’s inquisitive, ambitious, and always willing to lend a hand. 

Once acclimated, she hit the ground running determined to accomplish her goals. She was able to graduate a year early and move directly into her own apartment when she left UMYH. She also recently was able to purchase her own car.

Kynzie is currently in her second year at the University of Evansville studying pre-med, and is working at a local hospital. She hopes to one day become a neurosurgeon. 

We want to thank Kynzie for allowing us to share her story. She not only inspires the staff at UMYH but also the other residents and serves as an example that they too can accomplish their goals and chase their dreams.


"When I think about where I was when I came to UMYH compared to now, it's a coomplete transformation."

Meet Rose

“Everything I learned from UMYH, everything I gained in knowledge, skill, and experience—I now pass along to my children. It was the people who believed in me and saw me as a person who was capable and worthy that allowed me to become the person I am today.”

Rose Schalkle was just 17 when she was placed at United Methodist Youth Home 20 years ago.

Rose was first placed in Pathways, beginning her journey at UMYH in an environment where she got to meet new people and learn so many things she had never before had exposure to. She adjusted quickly, and after becoming acclimated to her new home, found pathways to independence and success that changed her life.

“Dixie, the Independent Living Director at the time, helped me find and prepare for my first job at Burger King,” shares Rose. “She also drove me to all my appointments, even took me to apartment complexes that I might consider living in once I moved out from UMYH. After a couple months in Pathways, I moved into the Independent Living Aftercare program where I continued to learn and grow on my path to independence.”

Among other helpful staff were Ms. Andria, Rose’s counselor, and Ms. Mabel.

“Mabel was a mother figure to me. She truly took me under her wing. The journey was not always easy,” Rose shares. “Growing up in foster homes and the system, you get bounced around a lot. You don’t always get a real mentor experience. There was so much I didn’t know and had no way of getting exposure to. Fortunately, I did get that mentorship and exposure at UMYH.”

Rose is now married and has a 17-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter.

At UMYH, we are so proud to continue breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty, abuse, and neglect that trap so many young people and keep them from flourishing into independent and productive adults. Thank you, Rose, for sharing your story with us, and congratulations on your achievements and successes that have led you to where you are today.


Meet Tabitha

An important part of our mission is to support at-risk young people so they can find a pathway to success—not just during their time in UMYH programs, but as they transition to independence and adulthood. We are proud to feature a young woman who found direction to a brighter future through UMYH.

“UMYH provided me with support during the most difficult time in my life and continued that support after I left the program. They helped me learn life skills and build positive relationships.”

Tabitha was placed at UMYH in 2017 through DCS and remained in placement for 6 months. During her stay at the girls’ home, Tabitha was a role model resident and completed the residential program. After leaving UMYH, she graduated from Castle High School. Tabitha recently turned 22, is now the mother of a 1-year-old boy, works at Premier Tan, and lives in her own apartment with her boyfriend and child. Tabitha still keeps in touch, and even visits us with her baby from time to time!

Congratulations, Tabitha! We are so proud to be part of your progress, achievements, and the beautiful life you are living today.

Meet Kamden

They say that good things come to those who wait, but one recent graduate proved that they also come to those who work. Earlier this year we celebrated several of the young people who earned their High School Equivalency Diploma through our Day Education program. We’re proud of all the kids, but Kamden (pictured above) deserves a little extra recognition for his inspiring story of perseverance. Without sharing too much of his personal business, we’ll just say he has faced his share of challenges, but you would never know it based on his demeanor. 

Kamden is a gentle giant. He was with us longer than most of the kids in our program. Students would come and go. Some graduated, some gave up. Kamden took a little longer to get to where he was ready to test, but he was still excited to get there. Unfortunately, he didn’t pass. When many would have given up, Kamden stuck with it and continued to press on. He tested again and was on the verge of success, but just missed it. Even still, Kamden regrouped and refused to stay down for long. After his third shot, Kamden reached his goal and earned the right to be a High School Graduate! We’re going to miss Kamden’s encouragement, kindness, and smile, but we’re excited to see what the future holds for this diligent young man!

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(812) 479-7535

2521 N Burkhardt Rd

Evansville, IN 47715

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A 501(c)3 organization EIN 31-0951608

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