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Investing in Indiana’s Youth: The Power of the Youth Worker Well-Being Grants

by Tami Silverman, President & CEO of Indiana Youth Institute 


Youth workers play critical roles in shaping the lives of Indiana’s children. Even as the landscape of youth work continues to evolve, these dedicated individuals continue to show up as mentors, educators, and advocates. Ensuring the best outcomes for our youth requires that we prioritize the well-being of those committing themselves to this vital work.

That is the goal of the Youth Worker Well-Being Project – a collaborative effort aimed at enhancing the lives of Indiana’s youth workers to enable them to better serve our youth. By focusing on improving diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB), as well as fostering trauma-informed workplaces, this initiative aims to create environments where youth workers feel valued, supported, and empowered.

The significance of this project cannot be overstated. When youth workers are well-supported and equipped with the resources they need, they can more effectively engage with young people, leading to better outcomes for all involved. With this in mind, the Youth Worker Well-Being Project is offering grants to youth-serving organizations in Indiana to pilot and implement strategies that promote DEIB and trauma-informed practices in their workplaces.


Youth-serving organizations may apply for either or both of the following:

  • Up to $20,000 for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives, and
  • Up to $10,000 for trauma-informed organization efforts.


Grant applications can be found here and are due on April 15, 2024.

One of the key focuses of these grants is supporting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in youth-serving organizations. While many organizations aspire to create more inclusive environments, they often struggle to translate these aspirations into tangible actions. The grants offer organizations the financial support and resources they need to turn their aspirations into reality. From training sessions to consulting services, organizations can apply for funds to help them build more inclusive workplaces where every youth worker feels valued and respected.

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) initiatives in the workplace offer multifaceted benefits demonstrated by research. A study published in the Harvard Business Review in 2021 found that companies with diverse leadership teams were 36% more likely to outperform their less diverse counterparts. Research conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2020 showed that organizations with greater ethnic and cultural diversity were 36% more likely to achieve above-average results. These examples underscore the tangible advantages of DEIB, extending beyond moral imperatives to concrete outcomes. By fostering diverse perspectives, promoting equitable opportunities, and cultivating an inclusive environment where all employees feel valued and supported, organizations not only enhance innovation and decision-making but also drive impact, success, and sustainable growth.

The new grants also aim to address the need for trauma-informed workplaces within youth-serving organizations. It’s no secret that youth work can be emotionally demanding, often exposing workers to high levels of stress and secondary trauma. By creating trauma-informed workplaces, organizations can better support their employees’ well-being and resilience, enabling them to provide more effective support to the youth they serve.

Creating a trauma-informed workplace offers an array of benefits for individuals and organizations. Employee well-being is improved through prioritization of recognizing and responding to the effects of trauma, fostering resilience, and healing. Productivity is increased and absenteeism and turnover are reduced.

Adopting a trauma-informed approach at work enhances employee morale by demonstrating the organization values individual experiences and fosters a positive work culture. These practices also promote empathy, understanding, and effective communication, thereby reducing conflict, misunderstanding, and workplace tension. Furthermore, trauma-informed workplaces emphasize collaboration, teamwork, and diversity, fostering a more equitable and supportive environment for all employees. These organizations exhibit enhanced resilience and are better equipped to navigate challenging situations and crises effectively, contributing to a positive reputation, and thus attracting top talent. In summary, prioritizing empathy, understanding, and support in the workplace not only benefits individual well-being but also contributes to organizational success and sustainability.

What sets both grants apart are their flexibility. Recognizing that every organization is unique, the Youth Worker Well-Being Project grants encourage organizations to tailor strategies to meet their specific needs and organizational aspirations. Whether an organization is just beginning its DEIB journey or seeking to enhance its trauma-informed practices, these grants provide the support and guidance needed to take meaningful steps forward.

The Youth Worker Well-Being Project is committed to ongoing support of the grantees and evaluation of their initiatives. Grantees will have access to technical assistance sessions, webinars, and office hours where they can receive guidance and support throughout the grant process. Additionally, the project will conduct evaluations to assess the impact of the grants and identify best practices for future initiatives, ensuring that the investments made today yield long-term benefits for Indiana’s youth workers and the youth they serve.

The Youth Worker Well-Being Project grants represent a unique opportunity for youth-serving organizations in Indiana to invest in their most valuable asset – their people. By prioritizing the well-being of youth workers and creating more inclusive and trauma-informed workplaces, these grants have the potential to transform the landscape of youth work in Indiana, leading to better outcomes for youth across the state. We urge all eligible organizations to take advantage of this opportunity and join us in building a brighter future for Indiana’s youth and those who serve them. Together, we are making a difference.