Young community activists mark the end of another successful year

HANCOCK COUNTY — As the school year recently ended, so did the year for Y-GIVE, the youth council facilitated by the Community Foundation of Hancock County.

The youth council consists of 16 high school students in any school year, including four students from different grades from each of the county’s public high schools.

Y-GIVE stands for giving, investing, volunteering and youth involvement.

The group meets monthly while school is in session to serve the community in a number of ways. This year’s projects included trimming trees and bushes at Beckenholdt Park and serving at local nursing and nursing homes.

Members also donated $1,000 to Greenfield Head Start and successfully sought a $500 grant for Regreening Greenfield.

Before school let out this year, they met one last time to share lunch and reflect on all they had learned throughout the year.

Community foundation president Mary Gibble said the Y-GIVE board was first formed in 2011 and has been teaching young people the value of community service ever since.

“We really did this with the intention of engaging young people in philanthropy and teaching them what philanthropy is all about,” she said.

The Youth Council is also designed to instill a collective sense of place for high school students in Hancock County.

“We recognized that a lot of young people just didn’t feel like they lived in Hancock County, and Hancock County is a pretty fantastic place,” Gibble said.

“This group is about contributing to the community and making it a better place, but you have to know your home before you can make it a better place,” she said.

In addition to community service, the youth council also helps the community foundation’s effort to provide elementary schools in the county with brochures containing coloring sheets, crossword puzzles and trivia about what makes Hancock County such a special place to live.

Janet White, the recently retired education officer for the Community Foundation of Hancock County, said leading the Y-GIVE board was one of her most cherished memories of serving the foundation over the past six years.

“It’s all about giving them the opportunity to learn about giving back, learn about the county and learn ways they can give back to their county. I hope they will come back after they leave for whatever college or work they choose to do and start giving of their time and treasure,” she said.

“Wherever they land, they will have had an experience that instilled in them the values ​​that Y-GIVE teaches, which is really about giving of yourself and investing in your community,” Gibble added. “We’re teaching best practices on how to do that — get involved and make your community the best place it can be.”

Y-GIVE marked the end of another successful year and will resume at the beginning of the next school year when a new group of students will join the current students on the council.

Last year’s board members included: Maddi Bowman; Tucker Brown; Jackson Clark; Moses Haynes; Josie Kinnaman; Griffin Lawrence; Aaron Lee; Kaitlyn Lowes; Vivian Miller; Saydie Miller; Maya Morales; Misha Patel; Luke Shelton; Isabella Sotelo; Tyler Tharp and Christian Whisman.

Graduating seniors included: Lawrence from Eastern Hancock High School; Lee of Greenfield-Central High School; Patel and Shelton of Mt. Vernon High School; and Miller of New Palestine High School.

Shelley Swift is a journalist who works for the Daily Reporter.