Empowering Worcester County Youth through Leadership Opportunities
Throughout Massachusetts and across the Country, youth are engaging with each other and their communities in different and new ways that broaden their philanthropic understanding. With a firm belief in the knowledge that it is society’s job to empower and educate future generations, the Foundation created our own Youth for Community Improvement (YCI) program in 1999. Now in its 17th year, the program is built on the idea that learning about philanthropy and grant making is effective in developing future community leaders and additionally, provides the opportunity to strengthen such life skills as responsibility, problem solving, interpersonal communications and commitment.
YCI empowers youth to have a stronger sense of confidence in themselves as leaders. Their thoughts, perspectives and opinions matter and their voices make a difference. Since its inception, more than 180 teens from across central Massachusetts have come together to make informed, well-reasoned and hard-fought decisions for area nonprofits.
The students in this year’s program represent a wide variety of towns in central Massachusetts, with participants from area high schools including Doherty, North, Burncoat, Saint John’s, Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science and Auburn, Berlin, Boylston and Shrewsbury high schools. Halfway through the program, this energetic group has learned about the nonprofit landscape in Worcester County and has come together as a team to make decisions around their funding priorities. It has been exciting to see them developing their own personal philanthropic views and how they wish to impact their community.
We’re proud that YCI is the only non-school-led youth grant making committee in Worcester County. If you’d like to find out more about Youth for Community Improvement program, click here.