A clean-cut comedy duo will liven up this year’s YW8 fundraiser dinner.
YW8 — a local nonprofit that works with area schools to teach students about risk avoidance and abstinence — will hold its annual fundraiser dinner at 6:30 p.m., March 8, at the Ardmore Convention Center. Tickets are $50 and include dinner. Madison Dial, the new executive director of YW8, said comedy duo Bean & Bailey, who appeared on the TV show America’s Got Talent, will perform this year.
“In the past, we’ve just had local speakers,” YW8 Executive Director Madison Dial said. “This year, we’re bringing in a comedy duo.”
Dial described the duo’s humor as family-friendly, and said a lot of their routine is derived from their day-to-day family lives. The dinner will also feature a student speaker who will give personal testimony about how the YW8 program has helped them.
“YW8 does risk avoidance,” Dial said. “So, that’s everything from abstinence to drug and alcohol avoidance, to setting healthy boundaries and recognizing healthy relationships. That’s not just romantic relationships, but also with friends.”
The program focuses on students from sixth to ninth grade. Dial said she’d love to expand the program to older grades as well, but they focus on that group of teens because of the rapid changes in their lives.
“We hope with our ninth graders to give them one last push as they’re entering high school because they’re getting more freedoms, interacting with much older kids, and soon they’ll be driving,” Dial said.   
Dial took over as director in September. She earned her bachelor’s degree in public affairs and administration and her master’s in public administration from The University of Oklahoma and worked for former Lt. Governor Todd Lamb. This year, the program expanded to Ringling Schools.
Dial said the program’s curriculum has remained largely unchanged from year to year, with a few exceptions. For example, the program now addresses vaping among students, an issue that’s blossomed within the last few years.
“That’s something we’ve tried to incorporate,” Dial said. “We try to stay one step ahead. Kids are smart.”
The program no longer receives state funding, which made up a significant portion of their budget. Dial said the State Health Department’s Title VI funding guidelines changed last year, which meant YW8 would need to change their curriculum drastically to continue receiving it.
“It was actually a decision on our part not to apply,” Dial said. “They put some mandates on the money, we did not want to change who we were.”
She said local foundations have helped fund the organization through the year.
“We are gaining support locally,” Dial said. “We have had support in the past, so we are falling back on foundations. We are hoping to continue serving the schools we’re serving, but if we don’t have the money then we can’t do that.”