What is UMYH Block Party raising funds for?

Igniting Potential in our at-risk youth

Imagine a young person, finding themselves in a maze of difficult challenges and situations, with no clear path forward and no support system to turn to. This was the reality for Anthony (identity changed to protect privacy) a few months ago. If asked if he could earn his high school equivalency when he came to UMYH, his answer would have been there is no point even trying. Today, with excitement, he was able to tell me he is going to be testing to earn his high school equivalency and is taking steps towards a brighter future, thanks to UMYH programs and the support of our community. 

Anthony is just one of many young people who have discovered their potential and changed their outlook in our programs. We have provided a safe space, essential support, and opportunities for growth and discovery while he has been enrolled in our Residential and Day Education programs. But our work wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our community. 

That is why we’re hosting our Third Annual Block Party! Your presence and contributions will make an immediate and tangible difference in the lives of young people like Anthony. The funds raised at this event will go directly towards our Greatest Needs Campaign, which focuses on addressing the most pressing issues facing UMYH at any given time. This might include covering programmatic expenses not reimbursed by the state, medical needs, essential safety improvements such as building repairs and vehicle maintenance, or recreational activities for residents, etc. 

Join us September 20 from 4pm-7pm  on UMYH campus for food trucks, merch that makes a difference, campus tours, and more!

UMYH Block Party: 2024

Raising awareness for at-risk youth. Come join in on the fun!

Calling all neighbors, friends, and families! Get ready for some end of summer fun with a purpose at UMYH’s Third Annual Block Party! Mark your calendars for September 20, from 4pm to 7pm.

Here’s what you can look forward to: 

  • Bounce House: Keep the young ones (or young at heart!) entertained while you relax and mingle
  • Food Trucks: Enjoy delicious eats from Arctic Avalanche and Cheese Queen Food Trucks
  • Merch that matters: Show your support for UMYH and snag some awesome t-shirts, hats, and more! All proceeds go directly toward our programs.
  • Campus tours: Curious about what we do? Take a guided tour of our campus and learn more about how we empower young people in our community.
More than just a party, it’s a chance to: 
  • Connect with your neighbors: Meet new people and build stronger bonds within our community
  • Make a difference: Your presence and support raise awareness of the challenges facing our at-risk youth.
  • Have a blast! Enjoy good eats, fun activities, and a festive atmosphere for all ages. 

Spread the word! Invite your family, friends, and neighbors. The more, the merrier (and the bigger impact we can make together!). 

Can’t wait to see you there! 


P.S. Looking to volunteer your time? We’d love your help! Click below and send us an email!

Meet Tionna

Meet Tionna

Tionna passed her HiSET (High School Equivalence Test) on March 13 and is ready to begin the next chapter(s) in her life and academic career. We are so proud of Tionna and her accomplishments at UMYH—and everything she will accomplish from here forward!

Tionna had always struggled in school. She struggled to pay attention, get her work done, and do the things expected of a student. Then she enrolled in the United Methodist Youth Home’s Day Education program. That’s when her idea of her future really started to change!


At UMYH, Tionna felt seen and understood. She felt comfortable talking with her instructors about tough subjects. She knew she was trusted to take breaks from class when she really needed it.


We asked Tionna a few questions about her experience in school & being a student (both before and after UMYH). Check out the following interview for a glimpse inside Tionna’s world and what she now has planned!


Q: What was it like before coming to UMYH?

A: “Before I came to UMYH, I was very distracted—by everything. I really struggled with paying attention in school, and that made it hard for me to picture ever graduating. I just figured it wouldn’t happen. I never liked school. Being in the classroom, the daily regimen, and everything that was expected of students was just too much. It was always a major challenge for me.”


Q: In what ways have the UMYH staff helped you that you appreciate or found beneficial?

A: “I didn’t used to like asking for help. I rarely, if ever, would ask for any kind of help or assistance. I don’t know why, I just didn’t feel comfortable doing it. I’ve always gotten easily distracted and had a short attention span. Those two things do not go along well with learning!

Bobby, one of my Day Ed instructors, has helped me immensely in working through these problems. And now, I don’t feel uncomfortable asking him for help. Anytime I’m feeling antsy or having trouble focusing in the classroom, Bobby lets me step outside to take a break. Sometimes you just need a moment to breathe, regroup, and ‘chill’ before you can come back and feel ready to learn. Also, MATH! He’s helped me more than I can say in that subject.”

Q: What were your goals before UMYH vs. now?

A: “Before I came to UMYH, I didn’t know at all what I wanted. I really never gave it much thought. I was just ‘going with the flow’ and riding the waves of life. Now, I have so many goals and aspirations for when I receive my GED! There are several vocational paths & careers I’m considering, including: joining the Air Force, becoming an entrepreneur, taking classes to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), and acquiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL), which is required for several different jobs. Ivy Tech actually offers CDL courses—they teach you about the types of vehicles you’ll drive and how they operate, as well as provide the exam for certification.”

Q: What does earning your HS Equivalency and graduating from Day Education/UMYH mean to you?

A: “Honestly, it’s going to be like giving myself a huge pat on the back. I never thought I was going to make it to this point, but I did—I’m so proud of how far I’ve come!”

Q: Any other comments?

A: “My time at UMYH has really helped me put things into perspective, set big goals—goals I’m excited for—and to think about my future. Of course, I have to give credit where credit is due. I couldn’t have done it without many of the staff here, but specifically, I’m grateful for Chinn, Mrs. Tamara, and Bobby. Chinn has stayed on my tail and held me accountable, something I needed more than anything. Tamara has given me so much good, solid advice about life and the next steps in my future. And Bobby? Bobby has helped me so much in my education! He’s taught me so much, recognized when I need breaks, and has always given me the resources and tools I needed in class to do well. I couldn’t have gotten to this point without all of their help and support.”

Tionna passed her HiSET (High School Equivalence Test) on March 13 and is ready to begin the next chapter(s) in her life and academic career. We are so proud of Tionna and her accomplishments at UMYH—and everything she will accomplish from here forward!

January- Mental Health Awareness Month

January is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Taking care of ourselves and attending to mental wellness is important for everyone.  In our fast-paced, social medial based global society, adolescents appear to be greatly impacted. Globally, nearly 15% of young people ages 10-19 experience a mental health disorder, accounting for 13% of the global burden of disease in this age group. Mental health challenges were the leading cause of disability and poor life outcomes in young people even before the COVID-19 public health emergency, with up to 20% of children ages 3 to 17 in the United States having a mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorder. 

It is important to begin a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle to maintain mental wellness for adolescents.  Here are some suggestions for creating a mindful life practice.


—Stay connected to your hobbies and passions. It is a great way to express your emotions and thoughts when your young person just doesn’t feel like talking. Paint, sculpt, write lyrics, poetry, amazing rap songs, or create beautiful mosaics with magazine pictures or broken plates from Goodwill. Give them some spray paint and challenge them to create their own tag. You may even want to try gardening. When you master all of these, pick up a crochet hook and crochet an emotional support pickle.


—Get off the couch, off your phones and tablets (or at least take them with you)!  Get outside. Enjoy some vitamin D fresh from the sun. Go for a walk, a bike ride, or a run. Park a distance from where you are going and walk. Play a pick-up game of basketball. Soccer is great fun and wonderful exercise. Swimming is not only a great way to cool off but it keeps us active. You can get some sun, catch up with your friends and maybe even make some new ones. Consider joining a local league of some kind, or volunteering to help coach little siblings, nieces, nephews, or cousins. You can volunteer to help a neighbor do some yard work that can’t do on their own. Try the “1,2,3 let’s go” method. Motivation can be hard. We have to strike as soon as the thought enters our mind and not give it time to pass. When a thought to do something enters your mind, say “1,2,3 let’s go” and act on it immediately. Do something to keep your body moving and active for at least 20 minutes per day.


—Most people avoid feelings that are not pleasant. They push them away, numb them out, ignore them, or mask them with other things. When teens do this, those feelings get stronger and harder to deal with. Sometimes we tend to let them out in inappropriate ways. If we sit with those feelings, allow ourselves to experience them, and deal with them, they pass more quickly.  We get better at using our coping skills to deal with them too. All feelings are valid and healthily expressing them is good.  Sometimes a good cry, or even a yell to the Heavens is healthy and helps us move to something more productive.


—You are in charge of how spend your time as you age. You may not have total control yet, but you will feel much less stress if you begin to take control of what you can. Much of what causes us stress is being out of control. So use calendars, reminders in your phone, visual reminders like sticky notes, etc. to help. Create a schedule for you so you have a routine that makes things predictable. Stick to your schedule and budget your time like you would money. Time is an asset when we are trying to reduce stress, increase mental well-being, and feel in control.

—It is important that you have people in your life that will bring you or your teen up.  They need to increase their interpersonal communication skills to use with family, and with professionals such as teachers, clergy, neighbors, counselors, mentors, and others. Many of the young people today are struggling with bad decisions and need to make changes in their lives. This means adding new people to the ones they surround themselves with as well. They need a lot of informal pro-social, healthy support people in their lives and not just professionals. This is another time when being involved with groups, clubs, and teams can be a lot of help. Work can be a chance to increase this support network for some people, however, challenges are present everywhere, so be vigilant.



—A healthy lifestyle is key for everyone. Up your veggie intake. Drink more water, and decrease your caffeine and energy drink intake. Snack healthier. Gain strength and stretch. Keep active, remember to do something active at least 20 minutes daily.


—Listen to your body.  Check-in regularly. It is a great idea to use the reminders on smartwatches to take breaks to stretch, drink water, etc. Those moments are self-care gold. Recenter with quick breathing. Use the 4 square breathing. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts. 

Protect your peace. Turn your phone to silent or turn it off for a mental break. Take a social media holiday for 24-48 hours.

Use some simple grounding techniques to help get you focused in the present moment rather than regretting the past or worrying about the what-ifs of the future. Try the 5,4,3,2,1 grounding with the senses.

Michell Lovelady-Smith

Michell Lovelady-Smith

UMYH Clinical Supervisor

Chrismtas at UMYH

Parties, Presents, & the Magic of Christmas

The magic of a UMYH Christmas would not have been possible without everyone who came together for our young people to make sure they had a traditional holiday season, in their non-traditional circumstances. 

One young person in our residential program came to us less than a week before Christmas. When staff started distributing the gifts by name at the Christmas party, her head was hung low like she was trying not to watch. Since she had just arrived, she did not expect to receive anything. To her astonishment, I called her name. Her head popped up and she said “I HAVE PRESENTS?!” It was our first time seeing her smile since she arrived on campus. It is in the moments like that, I am humbled and honored to be able to share these special moments with our youth. 

Every young person in any one of our programs had a present (or 10), a stocking filled to the brim with treats, and a special meal. All of which were provided by our caring and supportive community. While there are too many to count, I want to thank the Women’s Club of Newburgh, The Turning Pointe, McCutchanville Community Church, and Sigma Group for everything they did this holiday season. 

One of the most exciting things for our residents this holiday season was getting a surprise on their doorstep every day for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. The 12 elves, who like to remain anonymous, could be seen running away in crazy outfits like a snowman costume. 




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.


Contact Us

(812) 479-7535

2521 N Burkhardt Rd

Evansville, IN 47715


Sign up for our Newsletter

Quick Links

About Us



Policies & Procedures


Connect With Us

© 2024 – United Methodist Youth Home. All rights reserved.

A 501(c)3 organization EIN 31-0951608

Get in Touch!