In July, the Youth Advisory Committee of the Otsego Community Foundation received a grant to continue their Cyberbully Outreach Program. The $2,500 grant from the Michigan Community Foundation Youth Project (MCFYP) will help purchase books from local independent bookstore Saturn Booksellers that focus on cyberbullying. YAC member Hayden Denoyer helped research both fiction and non-fiction titles that will be donated to Otsego county school libraries and the Otsego County Library. In addition, all area elementary classrooms grades 1-3 will receive a copy of Troll Stinks, the story of two billy goats who find their farmer’s cell phone and use it to cyberbully a troll.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the MCFYP Committee has launched the COVID-19 Grant Program. With the cancellation of the 2020 Youth Grantmakers Summer Leadership Conference, the MCFYP Committee wanted to redirect the funding that was earmarked for the conference to youth in need during this critical time. There was $30,000 available in grant funding through the MCFYP Endowment. Grants were awarded to YACs that needed additional funding to support youth in their communities who have been affected by the pandemic.

The Cyberbully Outreach Program is the first proactive grant that the Youth Advisory Committee has undertaken following the last youth needs survey that they administered to Otsego county youth. The survey showed cyberbullying and the negative effect that social media has on the mental health of youth is a major concern. Within the last year, YAC has held school outreach presentations, donated posters on cyberbullying to schools and had a public service commercial playing at the local movie theater featuring YAC members. The ability to donate the books is another crucial opportunity to educate youth on the subject of cyberbullying.

If you would like to help the Youth Advisory Committee in their mission, please donate.