Impact Stories

A Heart for Children Leads to Continued Support for Henry County Youth

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Elsie Kline was a force for good in Henry County. Her story is a testament to the transformative power of one person’s passionate heart.

Elsie’s vision was to connect children with mentors, offering guidance, support, and a sense of belonging. In 1990, she planted the seeds of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Henry County, nurturing it from a budding idea into a vibrant program.

She spent much of her time and energy ensuring that kids in our community had strong mentoring relationships with caring adults. Her dedication was her driving force allowing for the program to match over 60 children with mentors, fostering friendships and opportunities beyond measure.

At the time a group of compassionate citizens had formed the Child Abuse Council. Through this connection, even more children were included in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters Program has evolved into what is now known as Believe and Achieve Mentoring (BAM).

Travis Cornett has been volunteering his time as a mentor with BAM for five years now. Feeling drawn to volunteer locally, he saw the need at BAM and thought it would be a good fit for him. And he was right.

Travis expressed gratitude for the program and the leadership, “It’s a great group of people at BAM. They’re supportive of the children and the volunteers. I can’t say enough about the organization and the leadership.”

Through the Lunch Buddy Program, Travis has mentored two students, one now in middle school, and one in elementary school. At first, he wasn’t sure if 30 minutes would be enough time to connect. He shared, “But now I see how impactful that bit of time is. The conversations I’ve had with the kids are meaningful, and I can sense that they really look forward to that time and enjoy being with me. It’s great to see the excitement on their faces when I show up. I’ve loved building relationships with them.”

Thanks to Elsie’s tireless efforts to create and sustain a strong program to support Henry County youth, mentors like Travis can make a lasting difference in the lives of young students.

But Elsie’s impact didn’t end there.

In 2003, when the community mourned her loss, they found a way to carry on her heart for Henry County’s Youth. Her friends Barbara Lacy, Olene Veach, Susan Stamper, and Craig Bailey created the Elsie Kline Memorial Donor Advised Fund. “We decided we needed to do something to honor her,” Olene stated. “Her biggest passion was helping kids. We wanted to do something that would help kids in all kinds of ways, to fill needs and provide for activities.”

Their hope for the fund is to see it provide resources and opportunities for kids in the community, just as Elsie would have done.

And it has already begun to make an impact! With grants serving children with special needs, providing educational opportunities, and drug prevention programs, Elsie’s fund is reaching children in the community.

The most recent grant was given to help two students from the New Castle Career Center attend an Education Careers Conference, opening doors to new possibilities in their chosen field.

Elsie Kline may be gone, but her impact is far from over. Through this fund, her spirit and dedication live on, shaping brighter futures for the children of Henry County, one opportunity at a time.


Establishing a Donor Advised Fund provides a personal account to use for your charitable giving.

How does it work?          

  • You select a name for your fund.
  • Establish your Donor Advised Fund with a minimum of $25,000.
  • Don’t worry about identifying your charitable beneficiary immediately, instead, recommend grants when you decide on an eligible nonprofit.
  • Gifts are invested and stewarded to provide annual grant dollars for your charitable giving.