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In the name of loving mankind: Students participate in local philanthropy

Rebecca Barnabi
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Philanthropy comes from the Greek word “philos,” which means loving, and “anthropos,” which means humankind.

The Youth Philanthropy Council is encouraging Augusta County Schools’ 5th grade students to donate to local charities.

“I think our job on this planet is to leave it better than we found it,” Burrows, Director of Educational Programs for the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, told 5th graders at Stuarts Draft Elementary School Monday afternoon.

The program, which began this summer, includes letters to parents of Augusta County Schools’ 5th graders explaining the program. Students receive booklets which define philanthropy and share a list of local nonprofits.

Each class is encouraged to invest $100 in a nonprofit, which members of the class vote on.

Burrows said 33 classes of students are participating in Augusta County.

“Your decisions have to go before all these leaders and bankers,” Burrows told the students Monday about the Community Foundation’s board approval of nonprofits.

She said the students will also have opportunities for field trips related to YPC during which they will perform service projects.

“It’s really important to me that when these kids think of philanthropy that it’s about service and community,” Burrows said.

Students are encouraged to understand that donating time or money does not mean you have to be wealthy. And they “know that this is being multiplied by the 32 other classes that are giving.” Philanthropy means love of mankind, not wealth.

The Community Foundation has held a similar program for high school students in Staunton, Augusta County and Waynesboro for 15 years. For fall 2023, two students from each of the area high schools, plus Stuart Hall School, participate in the program.

“I just recruit teenagers who want to make the world a better place,” Burrows said.

Monday morning, Burrows visited Hugh K. Cassell Elementary School and visited Clymore Elementary School two weeks ago.

Burrows said the reaction of students has included their sharing how they have previous volunteer experience with their churches or in other ways, and she said it is important for their peers to hear about volunteer opportunities in the community.

“Taking care of each other, that’s what it’s all about,” she said.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.