Youth-led philanthropy programs are making a difference across the country. Through YCI, we are seeing the dedication of young people demonstrated here and now.
Here in Central Mass, we are seeing YCI members carry their leadership skills beyond the program. They seek additional opportunities to use their voices and be agents of change. A few examples:
- A YCI alum independently raised funds, organized, and delivered a leadership training to share the skills she gained through the program with other young people;
- Several YCI members served as grant reviewers with the New England Environmental Grassroots Funds;
- In December, a YCI student will speak to the topic of youth philanthropy as part of a panel presentation organized by Philanthropy Massachusetts and Brandeis University;
- And most recently, our YCI Class of 2018, moved by the issue of homelessness in Worcester, but unable to address it with a grant, began meeting with officials and others explore other ways to make a difference.
As I walk past our board room during YCI meetings and overhear enthusiastic conversations, I am grateful that our young people are working so hard on something that matters so much: civic leadership. They are asking questions like, “How else can I make changes?” This commitment by young people gives me the greatest cause for hope. Supported by organizations like ours in their curiosity and courage, they are working together to make a difference.
Philanthropy, they are learning, is not reserved for the few. Progress is best made through collaboration. And knowing how to advocate and reach consensus are skills for a lifetime.