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Twenty-nine Fox Valley Area High Schoolers Raise $25K to Distribute to Various Non-Profits

Photo: Jay Kelly PR

No, not all kids are lazy and stare at screens all day. Some raise tens of thousands of dollars and distribute that money to various youth-centered non-profits in their own backyard!

Kudos to the kids of the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley’s Youth Engagement in Philanthropy (YEP) program! Twenty-nine kids from 12 Fox Valley area high schools raised $25,000 and distributed that money organizations helping kids around the local area.

These teenage philanthropists used “Giving Tuesday” campaigns, restaurant fund raisers and other grassroots methods to raise the money over the course of several months. They raked in about $12,500 which was matched by the Dunham Fund! They then opened up an application process for charities to claim the money. Various committees narrowed down the field and the entire group met in April to choose the final list of recipients.

Here are the charities that received the grant money:

CASA Kane County, which advocates for the best interest of children in abuse, neglect and private guardianship cases within Kane County’s juvenile court system. YEP’s grant will fund gift cards, suitcases and other incidentals for youth in need. casakanecounty.org
Conservation Foundation in Naperville, the not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and restoring open space, protecting rivers and watersheds, with a focus in DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will Counties. YEP dollars will help fund a new pollinator garden at Dickson-Murst Farm. theconservationfoundation.org
Equine Dreams in Newark, which provides Equine-assisted activities at no charge to children and adults with special needs. YEP funds will go toward construction of a new circular training horse pen. equinedreams.org
Hesed House in Aurora, the second-largest homeless shelter in the State of Illinois, and the largest shelter outside of the city of Chicago. YEP funds will support the shelter’s Move Out Assistance Project. hesedhouse.org
Marquee Youth Stage in St. Charles, broadens the reach and impact of theater so that students of all abilities, ethnicities, skills and economic backgrounds may benefit. The YEP grant will help fund opportunities for teens through Marquee’s Project Reach: Leadership in Arts program. marqueeyouth.org
TriCity Family Services in Geneva, which strengthens the mental health of Fox Valley communities by providing quality mental health services that are accessible and affordable. The YEP grant will support TriCity’s Family-Based Treatment for Eating Disorders program. tricityfamilyservices.org
YMCA, to support the Safe n Sound Aurora campaign, which helps working parents by offering their children care before and after school in spaces where kids are safe and have fun. ymcachicago.org/safensound

It wasn’t all about money, either! The students also self-coordinated a variety of hands-on community service projects during the year, including an essential garden cleanup at the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry, a crayon recycling project for SCARCE and assisting at Charity Blooms Fall Fest, to name a few.

Following is the full list of the 2021-22 YEP Members, a diverse group of Fox Valley youth who can proudly claim that their ideas and hard work helped support, impact and inspire countless other youth in their communities:
Mariella Acevedo, senior, West Aurora High School, from Aurora;
Marianna Alcantar, senior, Rosary High School, from Aurora;
Bethany Anderson, sophomore, Homeschool, from Oswego;
Quinn Butler, senior, West Aurora High School, from North Aurora;
Alexis Cruz, senior, East Aurora High School, from Aurora;
Tolulope Dada, senior, West Aurora High School, from Aurora;
Jackson Dowell, senior, Waubonsie Valley High School, from Aurora;
Elliot Egan, sophomore, Geneva High School, from Geneva;
Gabriel Escobedo, junior, West Aurora High School, from Aurora;
Sofiya Fatima, senior, Oswego East High School, from Naperville;
Eliza Garcia, senior, Oswego East High School, from Aurora;
incoming chair Katelin Hong, sophomore, Oswego East High School, from Oswego;
Danny Jankowski, junior, Marmion Academy, from Oswego;
Shinah Kamwaka, senior, Kaneland High School, from Elburn;
Nalani Lopez, sophomore, Oswego East High School, from Oswego;
Athena Ly, senior, West Aurora High School, from Aurora;
Maxine Mikkelson, junior, Newark Community High School, from Newark;
Reagan Mikkelson, junior, Newark Community High School, from Newark;
Alena Mohsinuddin, junior, Oswego East High School, from Aurora;
Isabelle Muniz, freshman, Yorkville High School, from Oswego;
Lauren Paschoud, junior, Rosary High School, from Geneva;
Molly Regan, senior, Rosary High School, from Geneva;
Maximus Sambucetti, senior, West Aurora High School, from Aurora;
Trisha Shukla, junior, Oswego East High School, from Aurora;
Tatum Smith, sophomore, St. Charles East High School, from St. Charles;
outgoing chair Julia Tippett, senior, Rosary High School, from St. Charles;
Abigail Vagnoni, senior, Rosary High School, from Aurora;
Shemaiah Wesby, sophomore, Oswego East High School, from Oswego;
Morgan Witte, senior Rosary High School, from Aurora.



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