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Youth Advisory Committee Formed at The Luzerne Foundation Student Run Group to Research and Award Grants
What happens when you put a group of twenty-eight 9th-12thgraders from seven different schools together in a room? Noise? Lots of clicking and texting? A bit of trepidation, perhaps some boredom? Probably all of the above. But when those students are part of YAC, you will also see excitement, determination, curiosity, and collaboration. These students are there for a purpose.
YAC members are learning the fundamentals of philanthropy. Many have probably participated in fundraisers – a bake sale, dance marathon, car wash, etc. Thus, it may not be out of their comfort zone to solicit potential donors to raise approximately $15,000 to give away. It is the next step that provides a challenge.
How do you give that money away? Throughout the year-long program, “YACsters” complete community needs assessments, solicit grant applications and review them. Site visits occur, and reports are presented to the entire group so that votes may be taken on who should receive the grants. The students quickly understand that the needs are many, and there is not always enough to go around.
Twenty nonprofits were invited to present at a YAC nonprofit forum where members asked direct questions. The group narrowed the field to 12 nonprofits, site visits occurred then discussions ensued regarding each request. Finally, the field was narrowed to three and a final vote was taken. The grant recipients listed below were presented with checks at the YAC annual dinner.
The process is eye-opening for many of the students, but the satisfaction felt from knowing their efforts have made a difference in the community makes it all worthwhile.
This year YAC supported:
F.M. Kirby Center: $5,500 – Sensory Friendly Theater
PEC (PA Environ. Council) – $5,500 – Community Illegal Dumpsite Cleanup Program
Mom-n-PA Dental: $5,000 – Dental Program June 7&8 at Mohegan Sun Arena
Since the 2013/14 school year, YAC has supported 18 organizations with grants totaling $96,775.