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Youth Philanthropy Council awards $30K in grants to local nonprofits

Crystal Graham
Youth Philanthropy Council grant awards ceremony

The Youth Philanthropy Council of the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge awarded grants to 13 nonprofit organizations totaling $30,000 Tuesday night.

Twenty one students from local high schools make up the YPC. The students met monthly to learn about how nonprofits function and challenges in the community. The celebration was the culmination of a nine-month path for the students.

Priorities for the YOC included supporting programs and services that provide access to mental health resources, trauma counseling for elementary age children, and programs for residents who need help meeting their basic needs.

The local nonprofit organizations receiving grants were:

  • ARROW Project
  • Artis Transitions, Inc.
  • Blue Ridge CASA for Children
  • Creative Works Farms
  • Mental Health America of Augusta
  • New Directions Center
  • On the Road Collaborative
  • Sin Barreas
  • The Life Work Project
  • Valley Children’s Advocacy Center
  • Valley Hope Counseling Center
  • Valley Program for Aging Services

Fort Defiance senior John Emmett Souder got to see the impact of his efforts with the YPC.

“Today was really cool to see everybody be really happy with the final result,” Souder said. “It was cool to be able to present together and be able to put faces with the organizations that we heard so much about.”

Breya Smith, a Waynesboro High School senior who spent two years on the Youth Philanthropy Council, said the experience on YPC was rewarding.

“Coming in last year, I wasn’t sure what was going on, but it definitely brought a sense of community just within one room,” Smith said. “To be able to spread that out to other organizations was very impactful as well.”

Nonprofit leaders also voiced thanks for recognition and grants awarded by the YPC.

“It’s unfortunate that domestic violence and human trafficking is an ongoing problem,” said Claudia Lopez-Nunez, executive director at New Directions Center. “Knowing that the younger generation is seeing it as the problem it is, and want to do something about it to contribute, brings us hope for the future.”

Seeing young people fully invested in causes that matter to the community is why the Youth Philanthropy Council exists.

“Not only do we need to take care of the needs of today, we need people taking care of the future,” said Dan Layman, CEO of the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge. “This is one of the ways in which we are investing in how we care for our community in the future.”

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.