Are you or do you know a youth ages 12-19 who wants to make a huge impact in their community?
The Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) is a group made up of student representatives from all Otsego county high schools and adult advisors from the community. Members of YAC are empowered to be positive role models for other youth as philanthropists and volunteers, and they assess local youth needs, promote positive youth development, review grant applications and make recommendations to the Board of Directors of the Otsego Community Foundation on the distribution of grants that impact the youth of the county.
The Otsego Community Foundation initially created YAC in 1994 with a challenge grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation through the Michigan Community Foundation’s Youth Project. The purpose of the Youth Project was to encourage youth development in local communities throughout the state while strengthening community foundation leadership and grantmaking capacity. The OCF YAC was established to oversee a permanently endowed Youth Fund and to make grant recommendations to the Board of Directors. Since its inception, the Youth Fund has granted more then $45,000 to projects that impact the youth of our county.
The YAC meets monthly during the school year to learn and assess the needs of the youth in Otsego county. These dedicated students accomplished so much just last year. They continued working the first YAC proactive grant, spearheading a Cyberbullying Outreach Campaign. They participated in panel presentations in school, installed anti-bullying posters featuring students from the schools and filmed a cyberbullying commercial that’s playing at the Gaylord movie theater. They also attended training sessions, worked on fund development, were involved with community engagement and volunteerism, reviewed grant proposals, participated in site visits to grantee organizations, made grant recommendations and granted almost $6,000 to area nonprofits.
This coming year, one additional area they will work on is a mental health proactive grant, sharing six tips to help teens cope with stress. They will film a commercial to air on multiple platforms and design posters for the area schools.
Testimonials from current YAC members:
“YAC has given me a voice that I didn’t know I had. When I started with YAC, I didn’t speak up and was happy to just listen, but now I have the confidence to voice my opinion.” Emma Glasby, SMH Junior.
“The Youth Advisory Committee has inspired me to become a better person through my community. It shows us members how much our community needs our help.” Aidan Yaske, SMH Junior
“I love the opportunities YAC has given me to volunteer and make a difference in my community. YAC has taught me about the value of philanthropy and volunteering. It has helped me feel much more connected to my community.” Rebecca Reynolds, GHS Senior