West Grand High School students become philanthropists of the future
The West Grand High School chapter of El Pomar Youth in Community Service (EPYCS) began its second year teaching local youth the laudable qualities of philanthropy.
Since 1991, EPYCS has been a leadership experience that teaches high school students the importance of community service and the nonprofit sector while empowering them to make an impact on Colorado communities through grant making.
This year’s West Grand group includes Rebecca Almgren, Kimberly Bumgarner, Cory Burr, Brittney Edmondson, Renea Ellison, Kelsey Frank, Sky Handyside, Rose Hargadine, Kecia Hedgecoke, Luke Moses, Madeline Roller, Rebecca Roller, Morgan Sanford, Eric Scholl, Katherine Schonlau, Stephanie Stubbs and Chris Zagone.
Many were in the group last year, and there are five new members this year. Five are seniors, seven are juniors and the rest are underclassmen. Colleen Bonds is the club’s new sponsor.
“It’s a really good group,” she said. “They’re good kids ” and they are hard-working kids.”
Members gain awareness of their community, learn fundraising skills, community impact and grant making first-hand. They also experience leadership through the group’s many activities.
The next event is today, Oct. 2, when the group is scheduled to host a visit from El Pomar “Fellow” Jason Owen from Colorado Springs. After a brief history of the group, Owen will speak to West Grand’s EPYCS about student community-impact activity opportunities.
Then the group will be off and running to put on its first community-impact event, a districtwide food drive for the Mountain Family Center. Brown grocery bags will be placed in each classroom in the entire West Grand School District for food donations through Nov. 8. For the activity, the high school will be hosting a competition to see which class can bring in the most.
Then, EPYCS members from West Grand are gearing up to man the concession stand during West Grand High’s Homecoming Oct. 12 as part of its fundraising efforts. After that, the group is scheduled to visit the Penrose House in Colorado Springs Oct. 23, built by Spencer and Julie Penrose who founded El Pomar in 1937; visit four schools from the region including Summit High School Dec. 6, experience a grant-making workshop at Eagle Valley High Feb. 7, 2008; work a hospital auxiliary dinner Feb. 9, 2008; and will travel to Glenwood Springs April 23, 2008, for grant presentations.
Through a collaborative effort among the El Pomar Foundation and more than 140 high schools across the state, EPYCS groups take on the role of mini-foundations. El Pomar Foundation provides a $7,500 matching grant to each school group that successfully raises funds amounting to $500 or more.
West Grand High School has been involved with EPYCS for the past two years and has granted a total of $8,500 to state and local non-profit organizations. Those organizations that benefited from the group’s inaugural year included: Grand Council on Aging ($1,125), Colorado Blind Athletes ($1,000), Shining Stars ($2,500), Forward Motion ($2,000) and the West Grand Elementary reading program received $375.
Recruitment is open to any high school student and takes place usually in August of each year. For more information visit https://epycs.elpomar.org.
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