The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

May 17, 2012

Philanthropy board awards grants from the Ashtabula Foundation

ORWELL — Grand Valley High School has always worked very hard to encourage its students to become involved in giving back to the community and this year is no exception. GVHS is home to a very unique and generous organization, the Grand Valley Youth Philanthropy Board. The Philanthropy Board is a student-run non-profit organization consisting of a handful of juniors and seniors who are dedicated to helping their community prosper. Founded during the 2010-2011 school year, the board works cooperatively with its parent organization, the Ashtabula Foundation. The board receives a $5,000 grant from the Ashtabula Foundation and with the approval of the foundation, distributes the money to other Grand Valley non-profit organizations as they best see fit.

The board began its second year with a bang. In order to increase awareness, the Philanthropy Board sent out applications in the winter season to any credible non-profit organizations in the area, as well as put an ad in the paper to get groups that qualified to apply.

After the board received a handful of applicants, the students: seniors, Bailey Holmes, Kyle Hodge and Emily Nye, and juniors, Brady Nye, Christina Godfrey, Kristen Ellsworth and Nate Wengerd, went to work on the decision process. After reviewing the applications, the board arranged interviews with each organization. During these interviews, the members on the board went to each applying organization and asked them to explain how the money would be used and how exactly the money would benefit the Grand Valley community.

In April, upon the completion of the interviews, the Philanthropy Board gathered to discuss and to deliberate. The group then voted on which organization they thought deserved the grant money most. This past May 4, the board trekked across Grand Valley and distributed the checks to the recipients.

This year the Grand Valley Youth Philanthropy Board distributed $5,000 to four extremely worthy organizations. One of the grant winning organizations was the Conversation Station, located in Orwell. The Conversation Station is an organization that offers a place for school- aged children to gather, learn and have fun. This year, the Conversation Station also offers a special program they call “The CREW.” The CREW is a group dedicated to helping better the community in any way possible. The group is made up of school aged children that volunteer to organize, help run and clean up after many community activities. The money given to The CREW will be used to purchase supplies and apparel that will give them the ability to take on more community service projects.

“We were so excited to receive the money,” said Patty Hosler, The CREW organizer and Conversation Station volunteer. “The CREW can’t wait to get their shirts and are waiting to order their supplies. The money will be put to great use not only to us, but it will also really benefit the community in many ways. You’re really getting two for the bang of your buck!”

For their great efforts, the Conversation Station received $1,500 to help the growth and continuation of The CREW.

In addition to the Conversation Station, the board also gave money to three other worthy non-profits in Grand Valley. Country Neighbor, located in Orwell, received $2,500 toward the purchase of a new van. The Grand Valley Public Library was granted $250 for new materials and the Grand Valley Ruritans received $750 to put toward yearly events including their annual flower sale and Halloween party.

With its second year coming to an end, the Grand Valley Youth Philanthropy Board is already looking for ways to continue helping. Whether it be helping the library to pick their book selections for this year or volunteering with Country Neighbor, the board understands the importance of giving back and is ready to do it in any way that they can.