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Record Eagle Forum: Youth service offers a glimmer of hope

posted April 27, 2016

Throughout generations, the question “what is wrong with youth today” has often been asked. While we certainly hear about challenges and issues facing our own youth community, as well as those across the world, here at the Community Foundation, we can appreciate that maybe there’s a different question to be asked.

For nearly our entire history (close to 25 years), we’ve been home to a Youth Endowment, dedicated to supporting youth programs and services and to a Youth Advisory Council comprised of high school students from across our region engaged in philanthropy and grant-making. These students are charged with the task of reviewing dozens of grant applications annually and recommending grants from our Youth Endowment. All told, hundreds of high school students have been engaged in YAC and together we’ve awarded more than $1.4 million in grants.

In addition to this history of engaging youth in philanthropy, on April 16 our YAC members took their experience one step further by organizing a YAC Give Back service project.

This service project — a food and clothing drive — was held as part of Global Youth Service Day which is a global effort to encourage youth to engage in efforts to help change the world in which they live through community service projects, service learning and other activities that benefit their communities. Activities are organized in more than 100 countries and engage millions of youth. Participating in GYSD allowed our own local youth to work for our communities and participate in a larger, philanthropic initiative with youth from all over the world.

Here in our communities, GYSD and the YAC Give Back service project meant more than 25 bags of clothing and more than 50 bags of food and toiletries for pantries across the region. It also meant that dozens of local youth partnered with 11 nonprofit, school, and community partners on a Saturday afternoon in April for nothing more than to do good for our communities.

I offer my thanks to Gina Limbocker, from the Community Foundation team, her YAC Liaison Committee, and the young people who turned out to be part of YAC Give Back and Global Youth Service Day. Thank you to community members who visited the drop off sites, brought food and clothing and supported the youth in their commitment to community service.

While the question of what is wrong with the youth of today will likely still be asked — and many of us will, at times, be compelled to ask it ourselves — here at the Community Foundation, we have the unique opportunity and privilege to experience, encourage and foster what is very right about the youth of today.

We encourage all of us to remember that it is on a day like April 16, when young people come together in service, in leadership and in philanthropy that we can be reminded that there truly is actually quite a lot right with our youth today.

Read Forum on Record-Eagle.com


Phil Ellis, Ph.D., Community Foundation Executive Director
e: plellis@gtrcf.org | p: 231-935-4066

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