ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced impactful Youth Engagement Programming (YEP!) Grants during a rally at the People Tree in Columbia. These grants promote youth activities and engagement in Howard County through free, accessible, and supportive programming developed by nonprofit and community organizations. Pictures from the rally can be found here.

I remain committed to working alongside our young people to create a safe community where everyone is welcomed, supported, and encouraged to be their best self. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, young people in Howard County need greater access to safe and engaging environments where they can recreate and interact with each other in a positive way. The YEP! program will provide new opportunities for youth to participate in activities and programs outside of school hours.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

Recipients may use this funding to expand current successful programs that their organization is already offering. If grant funding is used to support and expand existing programming, the proposal should demonstrate how this grant funding will contribute to increasing youth engagement in Howard County. Grant applications that focus on social-emotional learning, mental health and wellness, and community partnerships with local organizations and institutions will be favorably considered. Grants will be awarded for a period of eighteen months, and the average award will range from $10,000-$50,000.

“Engagement is vital to the growth of our young people and our community,” said Dr. Daria Willis, President, Howard Community College. “I look forward to the new possibilities that will be realized through the YEP! Program. Grants provide funding to make transformation possible.”

“Our young people must be at the forefront of the conversations and the decisions that impact them,” said Erika Strauss Chavarria, Executive Director, Columbia Community Care.

The YEP! Grant application period runs from March 1, 2023 to May 31, 2023. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis while funds are available. For more information on the program and how to apply, please click here.

As today’s youth become increasingly overwhelmed with emotional insecurities, physical changes, and social challenges, it is vital that we offer them the opportunities, resources, and tools required to address these challenges. By fostering their self-awareness, problem-solving, critical thinking, and leadership skills, we provide our youth with the foundation required to truly become the promise of our future.

Marlene M. Jackson, Ed.D.
Founder and CEO, Biz Kidz Academy

“Giving back to our Youth in the community I grew up in through our foundation reminds me of my favorite quote by Maya Angelou, ‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style,’” said Andrea Moore, The Pearl Foundation, Inc.

“As a community, it is our responsibility to support the growth and development of our young people. By curating spaces that offer a wide range of opportunities and experiences, we can help them discover their passions, build relationships with others, and prepare for success in all areas of life” said Amonee Read, St. John Baptist Church.

“Since 2019, VolunTeens remained dedicated to helping high school students to find ways to serve the community while exploring their interests,” said Tuscan Mulinazzi, Student President of VolunTeens. “We have many upcoming programs and events, and we thank Dr. Ball for his steadfast leadership and support.”

YEP! grants promote youth activities and engagement in Howard County through free, accessible, and supportive programming developed by nonprofit and community organizations. The goal of these grants is to provide community organizations with the resources to develop programs for young people in Howard County that are offered outside of traditional school hours. 

“As a student in Howard County, I am excited to see our county leaders implementing programs that are essential and will undoubtedly positively impact the youth of the community,” said Gabrielle Demuren, a Junior at River Hill High School and student member of the Howard County Recreation & Parks Board. “Students need an escape and when resources are allotted to initiatives like these, we recognize, participate and it inevitably becomes one we can rely on, which then makes it a success.”

“Happiness fuels the spirit and all the youth in Howard County deserve to experience that happiness,” said Koryn Sanders, a Junior at Wilde Lake High School. “That happiness can be reached through youth programs."

“Within society today there are many opportunities for the youth to participate in, it's a matter of getting it out there and known as well as accessible,” said Gabrielle Oshadiya, a Junior at Wilde Lake High School.

“In order to allow kids to take full advantage of extracurricular activities, they need proper funding and transportation to function,” said Alyson Abel, a Junior at Wilde Lake High School. “We need to improve the systems that we have in place already in addition to other extra programs.”

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