Davis Education Foundation wins overall Best of State awardJun 06, 2022 11:43AM ● By Becky Ginos
FARMINGTON—The Davis Education Foundation works tirelessly to remove barriers to learning for students experiencing homelessness or other economic disadvantages. Now the Foundation has been recognized for its work with the overall Best of State award in Community Development at the Best of State awards banquet held last week at the Salt Palace.
“We’re honored and thrilled that our work has been recognized,” said Davis Education Foundation Executive Director Jodi Lunt. “They selected a group of charitable organizations that were making a difference for marginalized, underrepresented populations who are working to move the needle. The best nonprofits working with youth experiencing homelessness to communicate the reality of students in this silent, pervasive problem in the state teens face. Young people are often invisible.”
In an effort to bring the situation to light the Foundation created the video “Give Hope.” “We wanted to show a day in the life of a teen facing housing insecurity and what they might do,” said Lunt. “Hundreds and hundreds of community organizations used the video as a springboard for service projects and acted upon it.”
It’s exciting to see that it ignited communities to do incredible work, she said. “It’s powerful when we work together the impact we can have to give hope tomorrow for a better future and a stronger generation to follow.”
The video has directly assisted in raising more than $2 million for teen centers in the Davis School District. “As we began the process we knew teens needed drop-in resources and wrap around services and asked ‘what does that look like?’” Lunt said. “A teen might not look the same as an adult in homelessness.”
Lunt said the depiction in the video came from stories teens told them. “We wanted people to see, feel and experience a day in the life of a teen with housing insecurity and realize they’re like our own children, and show the obstacles and barriers they’re up against every day. That’s what motivated us to create the video.”
More than 1,200 children in the district are experiencing homelessness, she said. “It is a silent, pervasive problem even in Davis County. We invite the community to engage with us in this cause to provide hope to this very vulnerable population.”
It doesn’t just have to be housing, said Lunt. “There are 14,000 children who are economically disadvantaged or in some kind of insecurity with food, etc. We are trying to address that to help them in reaching their maximum capacity and success.”
The Foundation first received a Best of State medal for Community Communications in the division of Community Development and was then selected as the overall winner from 38 other medalists in the same category.
“We’re just ecstatic,” said Lunt. “We’re humbled and honored that the work of not only our organization was recognized but that the community took up our invitation and acted on it. We’re just honored to be a part of this great work. It’s a privilege to serve these young people to give them a safer, more inclusive place to live and bring them hope to make their futures brighter. There’s still more work to be done.” l