The Youth Advisory Council, a component group of the Hot Springs Area Community Foundation, will begin its virtual monthly meetings at 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20.
The group of students in grades 9-12 from area high schools and home-schoolers meet monthly during the school year and become involved by learning the art of responsible grantmaking.
"We had a great virtual turnout last year and I hope to see it continue this year," Brad Burleson, lead adviser for the YAC group, said in a news release.
"With students who are involved in other activities, meeting virtual made it easy for them to attend our meetings as most have smartphones, tablets, or laptops and can stop what they're doing and jump on a call. Our virtual meetings will last about 30 minutes. We will be meeting with area nonprofits each month to learn about services and programs offered. When we meet in person, our meetings are typically an hour as we allow time for snacks and ice breakers. This allows the kids from different districts to know each other and build relationships. We hope to see a decline in COVID numbers and bring back in-person meetings at the start of 2022," Burleson said.
In March 2022, the students will review online grant applications associated with youth-related projects and activities and make decisions for the awards to be given at an awards ceremony in the spring of 2022.
This past April the YAC group awarded $11,750 to 13 groups and agencies. Funds for the grants to be awarded come from the earnings of their endowment fund, the Hot Springs Youth Advisory Council Endowment, created over 20 years ago through a grant from the Kellogg Foundation and contributions from many caring individuals and businesses in our community.
In addition, the students will host a virtual "No Show" reception on the National Day of Giving on Tuesday, Nov. 30, for their parents, grandparents, and local donors, presenting the groups' history of grantmaking and the impact the group would like to continue to make in our community.
Local youths who are interested in participating in the program can email Burleson by Sept. 13 at [email protected] or text or call 501-944-2530.
Other advisers who assist with the group are Kerry Lockwood Owen, Dea Ann Richard and Sus Wright. Call Joyce Whitfield, Hot Springs Area Community Foundation executive director, 501-620-4008, or email [email protected] for more information.