Students will invest financially in Athens by helping non-profit organizations | News

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The City of Athens and the Dekko Foundation put money in the hands of high school students and empower them to invest it to improve their community. Students, who are members of the Athens Mayor’s Youth Commission, accept proposals for community grants from non-profit organizations with a program, project or event that will benefit Athens. The students plan to award scholarships ranging from $100 to $1,000.

Each year, the Youth Commission receives funding from various entities such as the Dekko Foundation to run the community grant program. This year, the Dekko Foundation supported the program with $1,300 from a grant and a donation of $4,000. The students will decide on the amount of the donation to allocate based on the proposals.

As part of the process, students set priorities and accept grant proposals from nonprofit organizations. The students, who are in grades 10 to 12, review and score the proposals and debate which ones should receive funding. Last year, for example, the Youth Commission funded several initiatives, including hospital equipment, after-school tutoring, teen enrichment and the renovation of Merchants Alley.

“These youth commissioners are passionate about the efforts they want to support, and they will argue and defend their position and work towards a compromise so that the group as a whole can make a decision,” said the Mayor of Athens, Ronnie Marks. “It’s really fun to watch their process, but more importantly it reassures me to see their passion for Athens and what they think will make us a vibrant community.”

The priorities of the Youth Commission this year are:

• Education

• Health care

• Recreation

• Special events

• Environment

• Small business

• Arts

• Help people in need

“It means a lot that my community trusts its young people to distribute the money appropriately,” said Youth Commissioner Claudia Henson. “Their faith in our maturity helps us as students give back to the city that raised us.”

In addition to investing financially in the city, the program gives youth commissioners ways to give back. Agencies submitting proposals are asked to provide volunteer opportunities for Youth Commissioners. For example, in recent years, students have funded and volunteered with a teen program at the Family Resource Center and funded equipment needs for the Athens-Limestone Community Association, then volunteered at events. of the organization’s Black History Month. The ALCA oversees the Trinity/Fort Henderson Historic Site.

Youth Commissioner Marilyn Swint said that without the Youth Commission, “I would never have heard of Trinity School and its history. The Trinity School is such an important part of the history of Athens, and I’m so glad to know more about this history.

Youth Commission Mentor/Organizer Holly Hollman said raising community awareness for students like Swint is a critical part of the Youth Commission scholarship program.

“This community grants program opens the eyes of our youth commissioners to community needs, volunteer opportunities and organizations that are working tirelessly to improve Athens and can use their support,” Hollman said. “If we can inspire these students to love where they live, to volunteer, to share their talents and to be engaged citizens, we all benefit. »

Proposals from non-profit organizations will be accepted until April 21, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. Those interested in applying can go online at www.athensal.us or contact Hollman at [email protected]

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