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Infant Through Youth Foundation
call 260-2047, to have inquiries directed to the right person

Infant Through Youth Foundation
Covers a Lot of Ground

By Carrie Switzer

Shannon Scherer

When A Grand County kid needs something, the Infant Through Youth Foundation is often there, and has been since its inception in 1997.

Begun then by Mary Mullen McGann, the Foundation was created to assist foster families and children, helping stabilize homes with financial assistance, helping to license foster homes and advocating youth programs of all kinds. Now in its seventh year, McGann has reduced her role as the chair of the Foundation, handing the reins to Shannon Scherer. Still, McGann waits in the wings to offer the counsel her years of experience and knowledge enable her to share.

“The Foundation started as a recruiter for foster care, because the money people received to take care of children wasn’t enough,” Scherer said. “We fund everything from tutoring to sports to art classes. Now, we try to meet the financial and emotional needs of the youth in our community.”

This might mean coming up with the money to help repair a water heater for a family just scraping by, or buying sports shoes or clothing. The foundation is run by an eight-member board of directors, about four of who are particularly active, Scherer said. In addition, the Grand County Infant Through Youth Foundation oversees the Nancy Hauer Foundation, a special fund set aside to help women “achieve a dream.”

“This is what Nancy Hauer did, she helped women achieve their dream,” Scherer said. “It was important to her. This is whether someone was in an emergency or needed a jumpstart. That fund was started in December 2001.”

Last year the Infant Through Youth Foundation suffered a sort of “stand still” Scherer said, because many of the board members had pressing needs of their own. This year she hopes to jump-start the foundation with renewed energy.

“We’re looking for more board members because the board members are the ones who make this happen,” Scherer said. “People travel too much, or have too many kids – we need more help.”

Currently it is Suzanne Ossana, Deb Hren, Shannon Scherer and Mary McGann carrying most of the weight of the foundation. Grants are available through the Eccles Foundation and the Huntsman Corporation, but somebody needs to apply for them.

“That’s what we’re going to do this year,” Scherer said.

Shannon Scherer has been involved in the Infant Through Youth Foundation since 2000. She moved to Moab a year earlier. She grew up in Park City and had a successful career as a ski racer. She soon married Dr. Patrick Scherer and began a family of her own.

“I’m a mom, I was trying to figure out what I could do to use my time to help out somehow with other kids in the community,” she said. She considered Big Brothers/Big Sisters and other “hands-on” youth work, but when the opportunity to raise funds for the Infant Through Youth Foundation came up, Scherer knew that’s where she could be effective.

“I’m reading the statistics, I know the Mexican families in town – there are a lot of people who don’t have a voice,” Scherer said. “The Teen Center that’s being planned is something the Infant Through Youth Foundation wants to get involved in because that will give a voice to the very people we want to help.”
Kids ages 7 to 14 are at the highest risk, she said. Last year the Infant Through Youth Foundation helped 150 individuals in that age group.

“Next year we want to help 300,” she said. “Hopefully we hear how people we helped are doing, but it’s not required that they let us know or ever get back to us.”

There is an application process to receive help – or funds – from the Infant Through Youth Foundation, but it’s pretty informal and approval is solely at the discretion of the Foundation’s board of directors. There is a similar process available to those who need help through the Nancy Hauer Foundation.

To obtain more information about becoming a board member for the Infant Through youth Foundation, obtaining a grant or applying for help to the Nancy Hauer Foundation may call Shannon Scherer at 260-2047, and she will be able to direct inquiries to the right person.

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