CIRCLEVILLE — Some Pickaway County teens are getting up close and personal with problems and needs and are working to tackle them.
The Youth Advisory Council, which consists of students from all four Pickaway County school districts, come together and discuss what needs they see in the community and develop grants and service projects aimed at tackling those problems.
The Youth Advisory Council is sponsored by the Pickaway County Community Foundation and was created to teach students the importance of philanthropy and giving back to the community.
“We are learning that philanthropy is not just the giving of money but time, talent and treasure as well,” Samuel Arledge, a Westfall High School student, said.
“Each are important key factors that increase the well-being of humankind throughout the community.”
The group meets on a monthly basis at the Pickaway County Community Foundation. Recently, seven students and two advisors attended the annual Youth Grant Making and Leadership conference at Central Michigan University.
The students participated in three sessions and learned about leadership and how to become a leader in their community.
“I learned that leadership is knowing that people should work together to solve issues and utilize their difference as strengths and not tools of divisiveness,” Rachel Thompson, a student at Logan Elm High School, said.
Jan Shannon, executive director for the foundation, said the program is geared toward students who don’t have traditional leadership roles on the football or debate teams, for instance, but still need access to those opportunities to develop their individual leadership skills.
“We want more of the kids that aren’t those captains but the ones that have the potential but they’re not a sports player and maybe they’re not the captain of the team but they need that opportunity to enhance those skills in a form for them to excel,” she said.
Shannon said the program historically has been provided by different organizations and ended about 18 months ago before restarting recently.
“We’re starting it back up with a different focus,” she said. “It’s more focused on freshmen versus older students so they can get more acclimated and grow with it through their high school years.”
Shannon said more than 30 students showed up at the most recent meeting. However, because of vacations, they aren’t sure how many will remain involved.
“We’re hoping to keep it up into the 25 to 30 student range at least. That would be great,” she said.