State Farm Presents $10,000 Donation to Youth Leadership Workshop

Local business professionals and incoming high school seniors on Tuesday stand outside of Swint Hall at Wheeling Jesuit University, where The iBelieve Foundation is holding a summer leadership workshop this week. State Farm Insurance donated $10,000 to the program. Holding the check are Wheeling State Farm agent Laura Mull, right, and Marissa Phipps-Goolsby, iBELIEVE director of operations.

Local State Farm insurance agents presented a $10,000 check to a summer workshop program for high schoolers taking place this week at Wheeling Jesuit University.

State Farm made the donation Tuesday morning at Jesuit’s Swint Hall to support the iBELIEVE Foundation’s Summer Leadership Workshops. The money will directly fund 29 students from the Ohio Valley to attend the program.

After the presentation, incoming high school seniors involved in the workshop met with State Farm agents and other local business professionals as part of a networking session dubbed iCONNECT.

“They get to sit down and ask about our education, what our business is like, what we do, any advice we can give them going forward in life,” Wheeling State Farm agent Chad Broadwater said. “It’s a good way for them to interact with local business professionals and to get any kind of insight that they possibly can.”

The summer workshops held by iBELIEVE are designed to provide opportunities for students to develop leadership skills to prepare them for future education and jobs, according to the foundation’s site.

“They are developing high school kids from sophomores to seniors in being tomorrow’s leaders, putting them through leadership projects and networking with local business professionals, which is what we’re here to do today,” Broadwater said.

Workshops are held at various college campuses across Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee during the summer. This week’s workshop was the second to be held at Jesuit this summer, as a prior one was held the week of June 23.

Each workshop week includes a networking session that benefits both students and local community members, according to a press release from State Farm.

“The morning allows community members and donors the opportunity to see first-hand how impactful the summer workshop experience is, while allowing students the chance to network with business professionals,” the press release reads.

Marissa Phipps-Goolsby, iBELIEVE director of operations, said the donation will cover the cost of attendance for Ohio Valley high schoolers, which is about $350 per student on average. The summer program is free for every student accepted.

“These guys here are third-year students and that’s the really unique thing about our programs: it’s not a one and done opportunity, they get to come back for three years and they don’t pay a dime,” Phipps-Goolsby said.

Sate Farm has supported the Columbus-based iBELIEVE foundation for several years and expanded its support to West Virginia this year.

“I want to personally thank State Farm, who has been instrumental in the growth of our organization. From the beginning, they believed in our mission and went above and beyond to impact the youth in the Appalachian region,” said iBELIEVE Founder Patrick Klein. “We have been even more impressed with the local agents who have committed both fiscal support and time participating in our iCONNECT Day.”

According to its website, the iBELIEVE Foundation aims to give Appalachian youth opportunities to develop skills such as leadership, communication, and problem solving with the goal of increasing collegiate attendance and retention in the region.

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