- By Brandi Remington
- Around Town
Recently, Tompkins County high school students awarded nearly $32,000 to Tompkins County non-profits through the United Way of Tompkins County' Youth and Philanthropy (YAP) program. YAP is an annual United Way program which features a student-led grant fund, leadership training, and education on advocacy. This year's cohort was made up of fourteen students representing Dryden High School, Groton High School, Ithaca High School, Lansing High School, and the Lehman Alternative Community School. Funding for $25,000 of the awards is made possible through Triad Foundation, with an additional $6,937.50 provided by the "Moment of Movement" community fundraiser held earlier this year. (MoM also provided $12,592.50 for youth programming to the Friends of the Ithaca Youth Bureau and $6,500 for child care scholarships to the Child Development Council.) UWTC's Corporate Cornerstone Partners cover the operating expenses of the program.
After meeting weekly since October 8th, with only one, socially distanced, in-person session and the rest virtually, the students made their recommendations to UWTC's Student and Engagement and Executive Committees, which accepted their funding decisions unanimously. The students then held a virtual awards ceremony on December 3rd, taking turns announcing each award, explaining what the grant was for and why they felt it was important to the community. Representatives of each nonprofit grant recipient also attended and accepted the grant awards. Students noted their emphasis on community focused ideas, especially for programming directly serving those impacted by COVID-19.
United Way volunteer leader Myriah Marnell, of Tompkins Trust Company, highlighted the challenges faced by this year's cohort, "Even during a pandemic, the student participants worked together to make, intelligent, community focused decisions. They did so with maturity and teamwork, I am proud of their decisions."