COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine visited the the J. Ashburn Jr. Boys & Girls Club to highlight investments in his recently signed 2020-2021 state operating budget that focus on student wellness and success.

Through $675 million in budget funding, Governor DeWine's initiative will provide schools with resources to address the social and emotional needs of their students. The funding stream, which is allocated to schools based on poverty level, has eleven eligible categories of uses, including:

Mental health services;

Services for homeless youth;

Services for youth involved in child welfare;

Community liaisons;

Physical health care services;

Mentoring programs;

Family engagement and support services;

City Connects programming;

Professional development regarding cultural competence;

Professional development regarding the provision of trauma informed care; and

Before and after-school programming

"As I travel the state, I often hear from teachers about students who are struggling with poverty, parental addiction, or even the pressures of social media," said Governor DeWine. "Kids of today are facing unprecedented challenges at home that come with them into the classroom. With this funding, students will receive the wraparound supports they need, so that teachers and administrators can put their focus into academics."

During today's event, Boys & Girls Club Ohio Alliance Executive Director Adam Shank, Columbus City Schools Deputy Superintendent Dr. John Stanford, Highland Elementary School Principal Dr. Elizabeth McNally, and Dr. Mary Kay Irwin, Director of School Health Services at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, also discussed the possibilities that come with these investments.

"The Governor has put forth a plan that should serve as a national model," said Boys & Girls Club Ohio Alliance Executive Director Adam Shank. "Out-of-school time is critical to the safety and development of Ohio's youth and the Boys & Girls Clubs have a proven track record of partnering with schools in these areas. Clubs should serve as a priority resource to help bridge the gap between school and home, ensuring kids have access to programs that focus on their well-being while challenging them to achieve in school, develop a strong moral compass, and make healthy lifestyle choices."

"We have students who come to us from all types of backgrounds with a wide breadth of life experiences. Yet, each of our students deserves every opportunity to succeed in the classroom and in life," said Columbus City Schools Deputy Superintendent Dr. John Stanford. "This work cannot be done in isolation nor without the appropriate resources. Thanks to Governor DeWine’s investments in wraparound supports, our students will be better supported and better equipped to pursue their dreams and look forward to a bright future."

"Our partnerships and community support have helped our learners achieve at increasingly higher levels," said Highland Elementary School Principal Dr. Elizabeth McNally. "As a school leader, I am excited that Governor DeWine has made the commitment to invest in our students and provide them with the resources they need to be successful."

These investments were prioritized as part of Governor DeWine’s Children’s Initiative, which he developed to elevate the importance of children’s programming in Ohio and drive improvements within the many state programs that serve children.