Starke County Youth Club Federal Funding in Jeopardy


The main source of funding for the Starke County Youth Club is in jeopardy as members of Congress continue to squabble over a federal budget for the next fiscal year. Executive Director Irene Szakonyi says the House budget proposal slashes money used to provide services for 600 youngsters in grades K-12 in Starke County.

“The threat is our largest source of funding, which is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, will be eliminated, so we really are encouraging everyone to reach out to their legislators and talk to them about why children, youth in this country are important, why after school programs are important and to encourage them to keep funding for our kids and our communities,” said Szakonyi.

Szakonyi adds the Starke County Youth Club receives more than $300,000 in federal funding annually.

“What it boils down to is 600 families, 600 children who would not have the services for their kids to achieve academically, for them to develop into strong, healthy citizens, for them to have enriched lives,” said Szakonyi.

The Starke County Youth Club serves children in grades K-12 at four locations across the county.

“Students receive the opportunity to get academic support, help with their homework or individual tutoring. Enrichment activities like art, theater, music classes. Opportunities to cook and learn about their physical health and great hobbies. They’re building great relationships with adults who care, creating service learning projects to give back to the community and engaging with people in the community on a daily basis,” said Szakonyi.

Szakonyi encourages everyone to take a moment to let lawmakers know the programs offered by the Starke County Youth Club are important and should continue to be funded. Visit and find information on the right side of their home page, including a clickable link to send an email directly to your legislator.