Kornerstone receives last funding from Children's Trust Fund

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Teen parent advocacy organization to host 5K fundraiser Sept. 17

Kornerstone's Teen Parent program, which provides comprehensive advocacy and education for pregnant and parenting teens in Barry County, recently received its fifth and last year of funding from the Children's Trust Fund for fiscal year 2017 in the amount of $7,204.

The CTF provides funding for the organization to contract with public or private agencies and schools to establish community-based educational and service prevention programs designed to prevent or alleviate child abuse or neglect.

Funds support evidence-based and programs including parent education and support, safe crib/safe sleep, crisis nursery, fatherhood support, mentoring, home visitation, sexual abuse prevention, community collaboration around supporting children and families, and training.

Kornerstone first received funding from the CTF in 2013, in the form of the five-year grant, which helped provide funding for services but decreases each year. In addition, Kornerstone is required to match 75 percent of the original grant award through local donations and grants from other foundations.

To help, on Sept. 17, Kornerstone Cares for Kids will host its third annual 5K fundraiser at 9 a.m. at the Cassville Aquatic Center to help raise money for the matching portion of the CTF grant and continued operating expenses.

A registration form can be found on the agency's website at www.kornerstoneinc.org. Registration is $25. Participants who register before Aug. 30 will receive a free T-shirt. Deadline is 8:30 a.m. Sept. 17. The event will be timed by Ozark Racing Systems, a Springfield-based company.

Registration forms are also available at: Arvest Bank, Cassville Chamber of Commerce, Shell Knob Chamber of Commerce, Monett and Cassville YMCA, Fox Fitness in Shell Knob. Participants can also pay online or by mail with registration fee to Kornerstone, P.O. Box 396, Shell Knob, MO 65747.

Categories are ages 13-39, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60 and up. Family members of all ages are welcome.

The original grant from the Children's Trust Fund was $28,817. The first two years, grant funds remained the same, then decreased to approximately $21,000, $14,000, and in the fifth and last year, to $7,204, said Marlene Whitham, Kornerstone director.

On Aug. 4, Mercy Caritas made a donation of $14,000 to Kornerstone, which was very good timing with the CTF grant ending, considering it takes several grants to be able to continue providing advocacy services to Barry County teens, Whitham said.

"That's why we were extremely grateful to receive the money from Mercy," Whitham said, who handles grant writing, reporting and accounting, among other duties. "The CTF match required this year is $21,612. [With the $14,000 Mercy grant], the difference is $7,612. It would be great to raise a portion of those funds with our 5K fundraiser."

Mercy Caritas is a charitable outreach of Mercy, and is the original funder of Kornerstone's program, which began in 2006. Their donation will be used to help pay for supplies, a portion of doula advocates' salary, and transportation to and from prenatal visits, Whitham said.

The Kornerstone ministry, now 10 years in existence, helps teens on a practical, daily level with advocacy services, resources, breastfeeding and parenting education, and counseling, and although Whitham reports that teen pregnancies are currently showing a downward trend, she stressed that their services will always be needed in the community.

"Our numbers are down, and actually teen pregnancies are down nationwide and statewide as well," Whitham said. "But numbers can change. It's kind of a balancing act, and so we want to help where we're needed. The bulk of our services includes advocacy and resources for young teen parents. Teens are young and a high-risk population.

"We provide a lot of education, doula services, breastfeeding counseling and infant massage, but the advocacy and education covers a lot of ground. Sometimes, the breastfeeding counselors are on call 24/7. We have serviced over 230 teens since we started our program in 2006."

CTF, Missouri's foundation for child abuse and neglect prevention, strengthens families and prevents child abuse through grant distribution, education, awareness and partnerships. Established in 1983, CTF has awarded over $55 million in non-general revenue to date to support community-based programs statewide.

CTF receives funding through dedicated fees on marriage licenses and vital records, voluntary contributions designated on the Missouri State Income Tax Return, sales of the CTF prevent child abuse license plate, general donations, interest income for the Fund and a federal grant administered through the Administration for Children and Families.

For more information about Kornerstone's teen parent program, or to register for the 5K event, people may call 417-858-2887.

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