Athens, OH – Students today – especially those growing up in Appalachian communities – need to have 21st century skills like leadership, communication, and problem-solving to find success in this rapidly evolving world.
Luckily for Appalachian students, not only in Ohio but across the entire region, the iBELIEVE Foundation helps students develop these skills through annual summer camps and school-year programming throughout their high school careers. And contributions like those from AT&T Ohio make that summer camp programming possible.
A recent $15,000 contribution from AT&T Ohio helped support 2017 summer camp programming for high school students in Appalachian Ohio.
Last night, student officers of the new iBELIEVE University student organization were joined by State Representative Jay Edwards at Ohio University. A strong supporter of iBELIEVE’s mission of student leadership, Representative Edwards received an update on the expansion of iBELIEVE programming and met with students.
“As a former Appalachian student myself, I know how important the support of local communities is to ensuring our students have the skills necessary to contribute to these communities,” said Jay Edwards, state representative for the 94th Ohio House District. “The work the iBELIEVE Foundation does for our region’s youth with the support of partners like the AT&T Foundation is a testament to what is possible when we work together.”
The iBELIEVE Foundation works with students in over 150 high schools throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky, to increase the college-going rate of Appalachian students, which is historically much lower than in other parts of the U.S. The iBELIEVE Foundation hopes to retain these students in local communities following their graduation from college.
"We are extremely grateful to the AT&T Foundation for their continued commitment to the iBELIEVE Foundation,” said Patrick Klein, founder and executive director of the iBELIEVE Foundation. “The dollars they have invested in this region will positively impact the futures of these student leaders. This experience will truly shape generations of Appalachian students and families."
Students that participate in iBELIEVE Foundation summer camps and other programming develop a stronger sense of their personal strengths and weaknesses to be better students, leaders, and citizens. Through the program, participants develop the network necessary to help them achieve their goals, creating more opportunities for current and future Appalachian students.
“We’re excited to partner with the iBELIEVE Foundation to empower youth throughout Appalachian Ohio communities,” said BJ Smith, director of external affairs for AT&T Ohio. “Year after year we see the growth in each student who participates in the iBELIEVE Foundation’s programming and AT&T Ohio is proud to be a part of making that possible.”
Building upon its past work, iBELIEVE University has recently launched at three regional campuses including Ohio University, The Ohio State University, and West Virginia University. A student organization, iBELIEVE University will develop a network of passionate, influential students dedicated to advocating for issues affecting Appalachia. iBELIEVE University will be an extension of the organization’s student-leader networks developed at the high school level and will invite other students interested in Appalachia to participate.
Gifts to the iBELIEVE Foundation are tax deductible and can be made in many ways, including cash, bequests, and life insurance. To support leadership opportunities for Appalachian students, please designate your gift to the iBELIEVE Foundation and mail to the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, PO Box 456, Nelsonville, OH 45764. Donations can also be made online at www.AppalachianOhio.org by designating the iBELIEVE Foundation Fund. For more information on how you can make a difference in the lives of Appalachian Ohioans, please call the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio at 740.753.1111 or visit www.AppalachianOhio.org.
About the iBELIEVE Foundation Fund
The iBELIEVE Foundation Fund was established to provide leadership, communication, and problem solving skills to Appalachian youth and young adults along with other in-need individuals so that they could become successful future leaders in their schools and most importantly their communities. More information can be found at www.theibelievefoundation.com
About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. The company’s signature philanthropic initiative, AT&T Aspire, drives innovation in education to promote student success in school and beyond. With a financial commitment of $400 million since 2008, AT&T is leveraging technology, relationships and social innovation to help all students make their biggest dreams a reality.
About the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio
The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) is a regional community foundation serving the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio. A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Foundation creates opportunities for Appalachian Ohio’s citizens and communities by inspiring and supporting philanthropy. For more information about FAO, visit www.AppalachianOhio.org.