WILKES-BARRE — The Luzerne Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee recently held a virtual meeting to determine which of the 10 deserving charities should receive funding.

The committee said not even the COVID-19 pandemic could squelch the enthusiasm of the Youth Advisory Committee consisting of 30 high school students from 10 Luzerne County high schools.

After rigorous discussion, and a fair and objective voting process, the students awarded the following grants:

  • The Wright Center for Community Health – Stratus Video Language App
  • The Family Service Association of NEPA ~ Help Line/211 Service
  • EPCAMR — Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation — for the purchase of a drone to assist with watershed mapping

What is YAC?

The Luzerne Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee — “YAC” — is a student-driven, 9-month program that teaches responsible philanthropy to students in grades 9-12.

Since its inception seven years ago, YAC students have awarded nearly $112,000 to deserving area charities.

How does it work?

YAC members learn the fundamentals of philanthropy through a one meeting a month program that coincides with the academic year.

This year, 20 non-profits were invited to present their organization’s mission at a YAC nonprofit forum where members asked direct questions.

The group narrowed the field to 10 non-profits; site visits occurred, then discussions ensued regarding each request.

The students quickly learned that the needs are many, and there are not always enough available dollars to award.

The grant recipients received check via mail, in place of hosting an annual awards banquet.

“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. said Charles Barber, Luzerne Foundation President/CEO. “We look forward to expanding our program for 2020-2021. This expansion will help to build stronger knowledge of the community and help to shape our future board members and community leaders.”

YAC is recruiting students for the 2020-2021 academic year. Visit http://www.luzfdn.org/youth-advisory-committee-yac/to download an application.