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Reading – The Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) of Berks County Community Foundation distributed $17,000 in grants to seven nonprofit agencies for programs that prevent and reduce bullying among youth in Berks County.
Started in 1998, the Youth Advisory Committee teaches teenagers about philanthropy, and helps them understand community issues that affect them. Each year, YAC members experience the impact of charitable giving first hand by evaluating issues that affect youth and by providing grants from the Youth Fund of Berks County Community Foundation to organizations that address those issues.
YAC has distributed $213,817 in grants from the Youth Fund to 53 nonprofit organizations since its inception.
“The Youth Advisory Committee has brought me closer to my community,” said Gabby Dzuiba, YAC member and recent graduate of Wilson High School. “I’ve been given the chance to work with many local non-profit organizations and help them fund programs that benefit the youth of Berks County.”
This year, the group was passionate about promoting an anti-bullying lifestyle. The teens evaluated nine proposals, visited the requesting organizations to learn more, and recommended the programs to fund to the Community Foundation board of directors.
YAC recommended grants to the following agencies:
• Twin Valley Middle School received $2,000 for its “Raider Pride Student Advocacy Program,” an anti-bullying program designed to improve the school’s climate. On Raider Pride Unity Day a student leadership training program will be held for students, with an evening session for parents. Students will learn about respect, while parents will receive information about their child’s social and emotional learning needs.
• Studio B received $2,000 to fund “Free To be Me 2.0, ” a two-part workshop for high school students and children ages 7 -11. Created in collaboration with the Boyertown Area School District, the program involves a variety of creative, art-related opportunities designed to increase self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-confidence.
• First Tee of Lehigh Valley at Reading/Berks received $2,000 for its “First Tee Affiliate Program at Reading/Berks.” The grant will pay for golf equipment and local training sites for the program. First Tee golf instructors are trained to use golf as a vehicle to promote honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, confidence, perseverance, sportsmanship, courtesy and judgment among players.
• Berks County Intermediate Unit/Berks County Transition Coordinating Council received $5,000 to fund a “Youth Leadership Training Program,” which is a two day training opportunity for young adult leaders with disabilities. Developed by the National Youth Leadership Network, the day- long program trains young adults with disabilities to present meaningful and empowering messages to their young peers with disabilities.
• The Growing Center received $2,450 to fund “Horticultural Therapy,” a program that uses physical and psychological approaches to improve the mental, physical and spiritual aspects of a person’s life. The program is conducted in a natural, non-threatening environment, such as a garden or a greenhouse. Its objective is to teach consideration, cooperation, and respect for others.
• Brandywine Heights Intermediate School received $550 to fund the “Become A Brandywine Heights Bucket Filler” program. The program uses the book, Growing Up With a Bucket Full of Happiness: Three Rules for A Happier Life, by Carol McCloud, to help students learn how to treat each other with respect and communicate in a constructive manner. This, in turn, will help create a positive environment without bullying or negative interactions.
• Berks County Community Television (BCTV) received $3,000 to fund “Film Camp,” a two week camp for 7th and 8th graders, who will produce a series of public service announcements and short documentary videos about bullying and its ramifications.
“The Youth Advisory Committee members are enthusiastic about each grant they recommend not only because they make life better for children in Berks County, but also because the grants can have a tremendous impact today and in the future,” said Sarah MacAusland, Youth Advisory Committee advisor.
To learn more, including how to make a donation to the Youth Fund, go to www.bccf.org or contact Sarah MacAusland, communication officer and YAC advisor, at 610.685.2223.
Berks County Community Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that serves as a civic leader for our region by developing, managing and distributing funds to meet existing and emerging community needs. More information is available at www.bccf.org.