Mission: The mission of Elk Hill Farm is to enable children and families to transform overwhelming challenges into successful futures.
Community Need: Over 85% of the youth Elk Hill serves come from economically disadvantaged homes; nearly half are in foster care and virtually all have an emotional, behavioral, or developmental disability. Mental health is one of the key determinants of a child’s academic and social success. In Virginia, research indicates that 14% of children are struggling with mental health issues. Despite these high rates, 4 out of 5 children ages 6-17 who have mental health problems do not receive any help. Graduation rates for disadvantaged populations, such as those in foster care, stands at 54% as opposed to 79% for the general population. Those who manage to stay in school, struggle both academically and behaviorally, and nearly half are suspended/expelled by the time they reach high school. In high school, the suspension/expulsion rate leaps to 73%, compared to 1 3% for other students. In the Staunton area, there are few schools that offer workforce programming for students with behavioral, emotional, and developmental challenges.
Primary Activities: Elk Hill is dedicated to helping children manage mental and behavior disorders that can affect learning, social development, and lifetime outcomes through specialized education, community based services and residential treatment programs. Their work includes Residential Services (four group homes that provide 24-hour therapeutic treatment, structured support and life skills training), Specialized Schools (three schools, including their newest location in Staunton, that provide therapeutic and individualized education), and Community-Based Services (educational and mental health services for children and families).
Constituents Served: Elk Hill serves youth ages 4-18 in Central Virginia. However, all youth throughout the state who are in need of emotional, mental, behavioral, and educational support are eligible for their services. Last fiscal year Elk Hill served 617 youth ages: 0-12 (175) and 13-18 (442).
Program Details: Elk Hill’s Education for Employment (EFE) program is offered to 9-12th graders throughout the school year and serves approximately 25 underprivileged youth from Staunton. They receive at least 50 minutes per day on career exploration and readiness. The goals of the EFE program are for students to develop and learn employment readiness skills; gain work experience through paid positions; and explore different career paths through:
- Online Career Readiness Program: Career Exploration and Work-Readiness software (WIN) that will aid in the development of career-minded youth and will support EFE curriculum.
- Industry and State Certifications: Students are prepared and get industry standard certification like; OSHA-10-hour (General Industry) and ServSafe Food Handler Training.
- Cool Jobs Initiative: Students explore different career paths by meeting with industry leaders, touring different company facilities, and on-site job shadowing.
- Workplace Readiness: Students develop the basic skills to securing a job such as; resume writing, interviewing, networking, and on-site job experience.
Amount Requested: $10,000
Operating Budget: $10,482,457