Huron County's Youth Advisory Committee is creating a culture of leadership development for youth in the area and is demonstrating how rewarding it is when students give back to their community. We think it is important for youth to have a strong voice in our community and YAC has been one of those voices for more than 19 years now.
Youth Advisory Committee, or YAC for short, is a group of students from high schools throughout Huron County who are responsible for reviewing funding requests and recommending grants for programs that benefit area youth. YAC members meet once a month during the school year for grant making and learning about community needs and philanthropy.
YAC works on a number of projects throughout the year. Grant cycle projects are both proactive and reactive. Proactive grants are sourced by going out into the community and finding organizations with needs and reactive grants are sourced by organizations coming to YAC with needs for funding. Awareness projects are another project YAC works on. These projects are determined by performing a needs assessment.
Needs assessments are typically a 3 step process. The first step is to conduct a survey that asks area students what they think the biggest issues facing our communities are. The survey also asks 7th, 9th, and 11th grade students their opinions on issues impacting classmates. "Allowing our YAC students to administer the anonymous surveys to their peers gives us a unique perspective into these students' lives," says Mackenzie Price Sundblad, HCCF Executive Director, "it's important to us to give our students a voice. Next, YAC identifies the top three needs from the survey. The top 3 needs identified in 2018 were gossip/rumors, drug and alcohol use, and texting and driving. From there, YAC identifies and accepts grant applications in the spring and fall for programs addressing one of those top three needs.
There are two awareness projects ongoing for 2018 based on the recent needs assessment; the Huron County CAN Council's Children's Wellness Adventure project, and Huron County Families Against Narcotic's project to prevent substance abuse in area schools.
Other projects YAC puts together are for fund development which allows them to provide money for grants. Last year the YAC kids saved coins from their piggy banks and raised $1,000 for their fund, they also sent out letters to community members for 2018 and raised $2,685 for their fund.
Some of the good YAC has a hand in are in supporting Youth For Christ, Mental Health Matters & THRIVE through Scheurer Hospital, and Fleece & Thank You (a nonprofit that disperses handmade fleece blankets and words of encouragement to area youth receiving treatment in hospitals and treatment centers.
YAC is a partner of the Huron County Community Foundation. HCCF supports a broad range of philanthropic interests in Huron County, facilitates partnerships, like YAC, in identifying and addressing community challenges and opportunities, and manages permanent endowments and charitable gifts for donors. These programs and endeavors allow HCCF to address constantly changing community needs while fulfilling donor intent. To learn more about HCCF visit huroncountycommunityfoundation.org.
Are you a student? Do you want to get involved with the Huron County YAC?
New member recruitment typically takes place in the spring. 8th-12th graders are eligible to apply. Check with your YAC students at school for the recruitment process, school guidance counselor, or contact Mackenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for a fun way to support YAC? Consider renting these Human Hamster Balls for your next event!
Further Education for Students in Huron County
Have you heard about the College Access Network? It's is a collaborative effort between K-12 education, post-secondary institutions, local businesses, and community organizations to enhance the college going culture in our community. The goal is to align existing programs, organizations, and people working to further their education (any type of meaningful post-high school credentials).
Keep a look out for more in the coming months as they embrace a new coordinator, form action teams throughout the county, and create on online presence. For more information about the College Access Network and information about furthering your education check with you school advisor or guidance counselor who is being kept up to date on the progress of the network.