Local HS Senior William Snead Reports on Youth in Philanthropy Experience
Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) is a program where students from fifteen area high schools work together to evaluate grant proposals from nonprofit organizations. Through site visits, debates, and presentations, we ultimately agree upon a program to fund with a $10,000 grant. In YIP, I gained specific skills like learning how to evaluate proposals and how to navigate the world of nonprofits, and life skills such as public speaking and leadership. I became aware of social issues affecting my community. I was able to access different perspectives and truly get a feel for the opportunities -- or lack of opportunities -- in my area for those in need. YIP is significant to me because it introduced me to organizations focused on issues important to me, such as mental health and homeless teenagers, and it showed me that I can make a lasting impact on people’s lives through my decisions.
Last year we had eleven organizations apply for the YIP grant. Over the summer, seniors in the program narrowed the applications down to four programs. The four organizations that made the “final cut” in 2018 were Mary Washington Healthcare with their Grief Support Services project for children, the Central Rappahannock Regional Library with their Library on the Go program, FailSafe ERA and their project Changing the Next Generation: Children and Youth Affected by Incarceration, and Healthy Families Rappahannock Area’s Program for Teen Parents. Healthy Families sought funding for supplies teen parents need such as diapers, formula, wipes, and baby food. Central Rappahannock Regional Library asked for funding for books for the mobile Library on the Go. Mary Washington Healthcare requested support to expand their youth grief support services into ten new middle and elementary schools in Caroline and Spotsylvania County. FailSafe ERA requested funding to create a new program that aims to deter criminal activity and provide guidance and direction to youth with incarcerated parents.
By December of last year, after four site visits, numerous discussions, logic models, and evaluations of each program, we decided to recommend fully funding FailSafe ERA’s project with the $7,195 grant they had requested and also partially funding Mary Washington Healthcare’s Grief Support Services for children with all remaining funds. FailSafe ERA’s project ended up on top in most of the YIP participants minds. The program is new to our area and has the ability to deeply affect the lives of a large number of children and teens because it teaches skills to help these children avoid following in their incarcerated parents’ footsteps. During our site visit to FailSafe ERA’s office, they convincingly shared the true need for their program in America today -- another reason we chose them to be the 2018 YIP grant recipients.