Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is a unique leadership program that provides Sturgis High School students with a hands-on opportunity to participate in the Community Foundation's work. Council members serve as advisors, making recommendations about grantmaking, programs, and initiatives that serve the needs of local you and teens. Youth Advisory Council accepts grant proposals twice each year in March and October. Recently, YAC selected its Fall 2022 grant recipients. Read on to learn more about these grant award winners and the vital work they do for our community's youth.
Sturgis High School - Sturgis Success Program
The primary goal of the Sturgis Success program is to help students find a way to go to college. They believe that every Sturgis High School graduate should have the opportunity to attend and complete post-secondary education with as little debt as possible. Applying for colleges and scholarships takes planning and follow-through, and Sturgis Success would like to be available to help and guide any student through the process.
Their mission is to create and sustain a college-going culture in the Sturgis schools and the Sturgis community and to help move students from "enabled to empowered to employed."
Regardless of a student's college/school plans, the Sturgis Success Coordinator will meet with all Sturgis High School seniors to ask them about their goals for the future. At that time, if needed, the coordinator will help them fill out the FAFSA, apply for scholarships, and send college applications. However, determining the best financial choice for each student is crucial. The goal is to remove barriers so more students can access further education after high school.
The Sturgis Area Community Foundation and the Youth Advisory Council have been strong and loyal advocates for the Sturgis Success program throughout the years.
Sturgis Downtown Development Authority - Downtown Christmas Tree
The Sturgis Downtown Development Authority received a grant to purchase a 22-foot Christmas tree for the community to enjoy at Free Church Park. The tree was the star at the Christmas event "Dashing through Downtown," which impacted the entire community.
Highlights of the event included appearances from Santa, vendors, food trucks, and a showing of How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the Strand Theater.
Sturgis Middle School - LEGO Club
YAC is funding the newly formed LEGO Club at Sturgis Middle School by purchasing LEGO part packs and specific LEGO kits. With part packs and kits available, club members can build larger, better, and more detailed projects. The club believes building with LEGOs provides a universal language for members as they work together to create bigger builds. Eventually, they would like to submit their ideas or creations to a LEGO convention.
This project benefits local teens by teaching teamwork, collaboration, creativity, and diversity. The club will also be a safe place for students to go after school, allowing them to build stronger relationships with their peers.
Sturgis Neighborhood Program - Teaming Up with the Trades:
The Sturgis Neighborhood Program (SNP) and the Sturgis CTE Constructions Trades class received funds to provide work-appropriate outdoor gear. Outdoor wear with program branding serves as a safety purpose for the group and brings a sense of team building for students that work together from different high schools such as Sturgis, Centreville, Colon, and White Pigeon. Being a part of a larger community and on a level playing field with their fellow CTE builders regardless of 'home' high school is a goal of the program.
SHS Social Justice Club - MLK Jr. & Hispanic Business Documentary Events
With the help of a YAC grant, the Social Justice Club will be sponsoring three different projects this year. The first is the MLK Jr. Day event, which began last year and will continue in a larger format this year. The club will add a film portion to the art, writing, and speaking program. Secondly, the Social Justice Club has been working on a documentary celebrating the successes of Hispanic business owners in Sturgis. The film will be shown at a celebration, including food and music. Lastly, the club will host a "Love is Love" event to support diversity in relationships. Some funds will be spent on supplies to help advertise the events, food, and music.