Service-Learning Grants Available to Tri-State Student Groups

By Laura Ferguson

Over the last 29 years, Youth Resources has given away over $757,000 in grant funding for youth-led service projects in our community through our Make A Difference Grants program. In the last 10 years, 6,838 students involved in MAD Grant projects have served 49,233 hours in our community, impacting more than 50,000 people.

MAD Grants empower youth to respond to community needs and design service projects to positively impact the problems they see in their community.

The core concept is based on the research-proven Youth As Resources and Service Learning models, which combine service objectives and learning objectives with the intent that the activity changes both the recipient and the youth participating in the project.

This is accomplished by combining service projects with structured opportunities that link the project to self-reflection, self-discovery and the acquisition and comprehension of values, skills and knowledge. Outcomes of these youth-led projects include developing young people’s brainstorming, planning, budgeting, communication, team-building, grant-writing, evaluation and leadership skills while improving self-esteem and having fun!

• Make A Difference Grant awards range from $100-$750.
• All grant project ideas must originate from the youth and their interests.
• Youth must be at the center of the planning, preparation, and the implementation of the project.
• Projects must address a real community need and provide a service to others in the community.
• The grant projects must take place during the school year.

You qualify for a grant if you are a school, church, club, nonprofit or individual student that has backing from a registered 501(c)3 organization. The youth who write the grant and plan and implement the service project should be in grades K-12.

Grants are screened by high school members of Youth Resources’ Teen Advisory Council who are mentored by members of YR’s board of directors and staff. These student leaders take their job very seriously and look critically at each application to ensure youth participation as well as community need.

This year, grant applications for fall projects are due on September 16 and grant applications for spring projects are due on January 13. Please contact Jessica Fehrenbacher with questions about the Make A Difference Grants program.

Laura Ferguson is the Executive Director at Youth Resources.