Schimmel Receives 2023 Indiana Community Impact and Youth Empowerment Award

COACH Kids Executive Director Katie Schimmel received the 2023 Indiana Community Impact and Youth Empowerment Award at the Indiana Youth Services Association for her work with the youth in Clinton County.

Katie Schimmel receives the 2023 Indiana Community Impact and Youth Empowerment Award at the Golden Gala.
– Photo courtesy of COACH Kids

As she was being introduced at the Golden Gala, the reasoning behind her nomination and eventual selection as the recipient of the award was highlighted. According to the gala hosts, the award recognizes an Indiana youth worker or business that has made a significant impact on the lives of the youth in a community, and Schimmel was described as exceeding the expectations and helping the Clinton County youth thrive through mentorship.

The hosts expressed that Schimmel’s energy and passion for youth mentoring was evident from the first day that she was announced as the new Executive Director of COACH Kids in 2022, and she demonstrates genuine empathy for the mentees of the program, takes great responsibility in her work and offers all she can to enrich the lives of at-promise youth in Clinton County.

The hosts stated that under her direction, COACH Kids has grown the staple programs that impact the youth, such as the Community HOPE program, a community-based mentoring program, the Local Heroes program, a school-based mentoring program, and the Friends for Life program, a mentoring program focused on helping high school students prosper into their futures as they prepare to enter adulthood.

The hosts also highlighted the organization’s partnership with community-based mental health programs to increase awareness and produce calls-to-action for the community to better address potentially difficult topics. Schimmel was also applauded for her use of social media to encourage participation in the programs while also addressing substance abuse, recovery, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, mental health issues and homelessness to better open conversations on how to continue impacting the youth in Clinton County.

One of the biggest reasons behind Schimmel’s receipt of the award was her launching of mentor training sessions that routinely address subjects such as the 40 developmental assets in youth, adverse childhood experiences, culture, diversity and inclusion, such as working with LGBTQ youth and Spanish-speaking youth, as well as mandated reporting.

Schimmel was honored for her work with mentor trainings and focus on raising awareness for youth in Clinton County.
– Photo courtesy of Indiana Youth Services Association

Schimmel expressed that she was not expecting to receive an award for her work this year, but the honor of receiving the Indiana Community Impact and Youth Empowerment Award has helped ignite her passion even further as she further realized the impact that the programs were making on the youth in Clinton County.

“I absolutely was not expecting it,” Schimmel said. “I am so incredibly honored to be awarded that award. It is something that honestly, I don’t even know has really sank in yet, but it excites me because it really just encourages me and makes me want to do even more.”

Schimmel released her thoughts the following morning after receiving the award, stating that joining the COACH Kids team was not a career change for her, but rather, becoming the Executive Director was a means for her to follow her passion and infuse her ideas with the existing programs to continue the mission of COACH Kids.

“I am not even sure where to begin,” Schimmel said. “Joining COACH Kids of Clinton County wasn’t just a ‘job’ change for me, it was following a passion deep in my heart. I have overcome so many obstacles, and (the awards ceremony) was a reminder that even though I have faced obstacles, I’m doing exactly what I should be doing.”

Schimmel stated that the event was a means for her to hear the impact stories from across the state and to network with other community leaders working with youth in other counties and the surrounding area. Schimmel expressed that the receipt of the award would not have been possible without the constant support she receives from those around her who believe in her and uplift her efforts at every turn.

“I am honored to receive this award,” Schimmel said. “I continue to count my blessings each day, but my support system is my biggest blessing of all.”

Schimmel concluded by reiterating her appreciation for the honor and stating that she was proud to

Schimmel stated that there is only more to come at COACH Kids.
– Photo courtesy of COACH Kids

represent the Clinton County community at the Golden Gala, and she hopes that the programs at COACH Kids continue to impact the lives of youth in Clinton County.

“I think that it is so exciting that someone from our county was able to receive this award and represent the county in that capacity,” Schimmel said. “It was definitely unexpected, and it was exciting, and I’m just really, really honored to be able to get it.”

Before joining COACH Kids in September 2022, Schimmel worked in human resources and was born and raised in the funeral industry where she worked alongside her father. Her previous work allowed for her to gain experience in the industries, but she expressed that the experiences led to her forming increased compassion for people, especially those undergoing hardships. When Schimmel discovered the application for the Executive Director position, she felt that the organization was more of a calling than a career, and the receipt of the award at the Golden Gala was further proof that COACH Kids remains as her primary passion.