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Illinois announces new FFA grants to promote mental health


Sixteen FFA chapters across Illinois are receiving 1-thousand dollars in funding through the new “Bend, Don’t Break” grant program.

Mindy Bunselmeyer, executive director of the Illinois FFA Center, says promoting mental health is the goal…
“To encourage farmers and our friends in the ag industry to understand and be looking for signs about mental health issues and concerns,” she says, “but also know and find out where those resources are. So a fantastic opportunity for our FFA chapters.”

Bunselmeyer tells Brownfield the chapters plan to host a variety of events…
“Some of them are simply a meal, just having that opportunity to connect; another one is doing “Farm Nights Under the Lights” and it’s a 5K.” She says, “Another FFA chapter is renting out an entire movie theater and they’re going to have some movies that are focusing on and bringing greater awareness to mental health.”

She says the program helps chapters fill a key component of FFA…
“Lots of FFA chapters do a lot of community service activities all throughout the year,” she says, ”and they do some really amazing things, but this grant specifically is asking them to reflect and look at their own community and see where those needs are to bridge the gaps in mental health.”

The “Bend, Don’t Break” program announced Thursday is a partnership between the Illinois Foundation FFA, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and SIU School of Medicine’s Farm Family Resource Initiative.

Illinois announces new FFA grants to promote mental health