“Through YIP, I have realized that even the slightest things that are done show that the community does care about everyone. I have broken out of my shell and become much more optimistic towards life.”~YIP Volunteer
Shaping the leaders of tomorrow by energizing students to serve their community today is the core of the YIP (Youth in Philanthropy) experience. Developed and funded by the George Foundation and in partnership with Fort Bend Forward, the YIP program allows high school students to experience an eight month, hands-on journey in volunteerism. Dee Koch, Director of Community Engagement for the George Foundation, says, “We hope to give the YIP team members an introduction to the nonprofit sector serving Fort Bend County, and provide an experience that engages them in thinking about how they can give a hand up in their community. Many of our team members return to the nonprofits for which they volunteered to take advantage of continuing the volunteer experience.”
“I loved how diverse my YIP team was. I think it’s funny how many people’s lives overlap. One of the coolest things I learned as a team member was patience. I realized that if I was more patient, I could learn from others a new perspective in any situation.”~YIP Volunteer
This year the YIP program had nearly 900 applicants. 190 of those youth have been selected to participate in the program. Twenty-three different area high schools are represented. They are from different demographics, different backgrounds, and foster different interests. They will be divided into seven teams, and they will learn how to work together to complete a volunteer program.
“One of the best benefits of volunteering is the overall impact on the community. Volunteers are often the catalyst for community action. Volunteering in YIP allowed me to connect to my community and make it a better place for all of us to live.”~YIP Volunteer
Team members will contribute over 3,500 hours to our local nonprofit sector. The George Foundation underwrites all expenses so the students participate for free, donating their time and effort. These amazing students will assist more than twenty-eight nonprofits. In the past, students have volunteered at the library, the Fort Bend County Women’s Center, museums, and public parks. They will see the full range of non-profit opportunities in our community.
“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t judge someone on how they appear because you never know what they could be going through. A kind word or compliment could affect someone’s day in a good way. I’m going to start making some changes in my life. I will have more appreciation for my parents, the freedom I have and the things provided to me.”~YIP Volunteer
YIP culminates in an annual luncheon in April, where student scholarships are awarded based on volunteerism. Dee says, “Our first year we gave away $46,000, then $90,000 the following year, then over $100,000, and last year over $152,000. We hope to beat that this year! We will be looking for sponsors to name a scholarship or attend our luncheon. Our youth have made such a large investment in our community, so our community comes together to make an investment in our youth.”
“Philanthropy and volunteerism go hand-in-hand,” adds Dee. “In March our students evaluate their volunteer experience based on metrics including how clear the nonprofit’s mission was and whether the tasks completed contributed to that mission. We use those evaluations to award grant money to the nonprofits…and the feedback helps them better prepare for the next generation of volunteers!”
This story brought to you by Classic Chevrolet Sugar Land. Dee says, “I want to extend a huge thank you to Classic Chevy. Their commitment to this community is evident. They are an exemplary example of community support and a great role model for our YIP volunteers.”
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