View All Posts

Sep 10

Youth Scholarship Program

Posted on September 10, 2020 at 1:41 PM by Jessica Abrahams

Author: Dan Gorman, Youth Scholarship Board Member

Greetings readers, I want to thank the Parks and Recreation Department for giving me this opportunity to tell you all about our Committee and to seek your support and help for over 700 kids in the Community.  I want to speak about the Youth Activity Scholarship Fund, an independent part of the Owatonna Park and Recreation Department. The Fund was set up 22 years ago by some very concerned and caring people who saw a need to help some youngsters participate in all that the Park & Rec offers.  The fund would solicit money, so that if a needy child, age 4yrs to 14 yrs, or a participant in the therapeutic recreation program, who couldn't afford the fee to participate in any activity, let's say T-ball or soccer or any of the  20 activities offered by Park & Rec, it would step in and pay some of the fee so the child would only have to pay a portion and then take part in the activity.  This is all done through a confidential application process. After all that's all kids want to do, is play.

These forward-thinking people formed a Committee to grow this fund, year after year, with donated dollars for the youth who needed assistance.  The fund is currently in its 22nd year and last year (2019), it handled over 700 applications from youth who needed help on fees.  
While we are talking about 2019, I want to tell you that the total dollars the Committee raised was about $20,000 dollars. It takes approximately that much to handle the need nowadays. 

How does the Committee raise this kind of money?  First of all, the Committee, consisting of 4 community members, and 2 P&R Board members is all volunteer. Caring, leading and giving individuals who give of their time and energy to help the kids. There is no taxpayer money given to the Fund. It is all donations from many sources.  As you can imagine raising and spending that kind of dollar amount each year is a challenge. We do have some very generous donors each year that help as they can. We also have fundraisers making a few dollars here and there. A couple of our biggest and most generous are the Mike Hansen Washerboard Tourney held annually and Corky's Early Bird softball tourney. However, this year the softball tourney was cancelled and the Hansen Tourney is held in the Spring so it's fate is still in question for 2021, so our funds received from them will be greatly reduced. We have had some other events where we have picked up a few dollars here and there.  Another source of income we receive occasionally is from  Employee Club groups, Corporations, some of the Clubs and Associations gambling funds, Organizations and Small businesses. They all care about the kids and want to help.  We occasionally get Memorials honoring someone who has passed away and Honorariums recognizing someone for being or doing something wonderful. Thank You.

We have had donations as small as $5, up to $5,000. We get many donations from individuals, just like you and me, who may have a giving spirit and can spare some money to pass along to help the kids this Fall/Winter and next year when activities begin to return to a somewhat normal routine.  The Youth Activity Scholarship Fund is asking for your help now and in the future. Can we count on you, your group, your business, your kind heart?  I hope so, but more importantly the Kids hope so.

Thank you for listening and hearing our story and for any way you can help us out. Stay Safe and Healthy.  Bless you all. 

Owatonna Park and Rec Youth Activity Scholarship Committee Members:

  • Sue Schroeder
  • Linda Coleman
  • Sean Hughes
  • Dan Gorman
  • Angie Malo
  • Greg Posch
  • Tim Truelson
  • Nikki Callahan

To help the KIDS please send or call a donation into the Park & Rec office:

Park & Recreation Department

%Youth Activity Scholarship Fund

540 West Hills Circle

Owatonna, MN 55060

(checks made payable to Youth Activity Scholarship Fund)  We are a registered 501 c3 entity.

If you prefer to help and donate via a credit/debit card please call the Parks and Recreation Office at 507-444-4321.