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Spring Grant Awards of the Youth Advisory Council!

Updated: 6 days ago

The Sturgis and Constantine Youth Advisory Council (YAC) program serves as a vital platform for high school students in Sturgis and Constantine to cultivate their leadership abilities within the community. Actively engaged in the Community Foundation's initiatives, YAC members gain firsthand experience in evaluating grant proposals that directly address the concerns of local youth. In a recent meeting, the Sturgis and Constantine YAC convened to review grant applications for the spring cycle, meticulously considering each proposal before selecting deserving recipients for funding. This process not only empowers YAC members to effect positive change within their community but also strengthens their leadership skills and dedication to meeting the needs of their peers.

Sturgis YAC Recipients

Sturgis High School

SHS Big Buddy Program

The Sturgis High School Big Buddy Program has been awarded a grant by the Sturgis YAC, ensuring its continued efforts in promoting mentorship and support between high school students (Bigs) and elementary students (Littles) in the district. The Big Buddy Program benefits the Littles by giving them mentors and role models and provides growth opportunities and leadership skills for the Bigs. Impressively, many matches between Littles and Bigs last for years, and some former Littles have returned as Bigs, driven by a desire to contribute to their community. This program supports academic and personal growth and nurtures a sense of responsibility and empathy among participants, creating a lasting impact on both the Littles and Bigs involved.

Youth For Christ of Southwest Michigan

Gym Beam Pads

Youth For Christ received funding to back their Gym Beam Pads project to improve the safety of local students at the Campus Life Youth Center. The lack of padding on the gym's I-beams poses a safety risk for the many students who visit each year. The grant will purchase 6-foot tall, 2-inch thick padding for each I-beam, ensuring the safety of every teenager at the facility. This initiative benefits students participating in Campus Life events and extends its impact to other local youth, including Sturgis High School gym classes and extracurricular activities.

Sturgis Downtown Development Authority

Movies on North

The Sturgis Downtown Development Authority has been granted funds to support the "Movies on North" events to promote community engagement. With the increasing popularity of online movie streaming, concerns have risen about potential social isolation, limiting chances for residents to connect and share knowledge. To address this, "Movies on North" will host free outdoor movie screenings monthly from May to September. These events provide entertainment and encourage neighbors from diverse backgrounds to come together and engage.

Constantine YAC Recipients

Eastside Elementary

Enhancing Learning Through Play by Meeting Sensory Needs

With support from the Constantine YAC, Eastside Elementary has received funding for its project, "Enhancing Learning Through Play by Meeting Sensory Needs." The school is focusing on meeting the sensory needs of its Young Five students by purchasing various items to enhance emotional regulation, sensory exploration, creativity, and social skills. Through collaboration with professionals and extensive research, the school has identified the necessary tools to support students' sensory, social, and creative play needs. The acquired items will include a calming tent for a designated calm-down corner, a kitchen play area, a selection of toys and fidgets for sensory-rich experiences, calming light covers, and tools to assist students in regulating their emotions during times of heightened feelings.

Eastside Elementary

Classroom Headphones

Eastside Elementary has received funding for its Classroom Headphones project. This project aims to fulfill the need for over-the-ear headphones in classrooms, specifically to ease the financial burden on families. Presently, the school lacks the resources to provide headphones for students to use with their Chromebooks during technology sessions, which are vital for accessing personalized language and math support tailored to each student's requirements. Acknowledging the significance of headphones in enhancing learning experiences, Eastside Elementary has requested families to supply headphones for their children. However, the school understands this may create a financial challenge for some families. The grant will be used to purchase headphones for classroom use, ensuring equal access to essential educational tools for all students.

Riverside Elementary

Community Picnic

Riverside Elementary has received a grant to support the Community Picnic event. The event's purpose is to strengthen family bonds and increase community involvement by organizing a fun-filled picnic for students and their families. The grant from Constantine YAC will cover expenses for activities like inflatables, games, prizes, food, and snacks, making it easier to host the event. Riverside Elementary ensures that all families can join the picnic without financial constraints by providing these resources. The picnic, held during school hours, encourages parents, siblings, and grandparents to participate, creating a space to celebrate community, family, and joy.

Constantine Middle School

CMS Physical Education - Disc Golf Equipment

With support from Constantine YAC, the Constantine Middle School (CMS) Physical Education program is introducing Disc Golf as an alternative to traditional sports like football, volleyball, and basketball. CMS is looking to purchase 1-2 Disc Golf portable goals with the grant, allowing students in grades 6-8 to participate in this enjoyable outdoor activity. This initiative highlights the importance of outdoor recreation, diverse physical activities in the curriculum, and promoting health and wellness among students.

Eastside Elementary, Riverside Elementary, & Constantine High School

Celebrating Women in Sports - Shoes for Students

Constantine Schools has received funds to support its Celebrating Women in Sports program. The grant will provide athletic shoes for elementary students, nurturing connection and engagement from Young 5's to 5th grade. The program focuses on honoring women's achievements in sports while promoting literacy, diversity, and inclusion. Each elementary class will receive age-appropriate books showcasing women in sports. Female student-athletes from Constantine High School will present and read during March Reading Month. Additionally, the program fulfills a practical need by donating 20 pairs of athletic shoes to the elementary Physical Education department, ensuring all students have suitable footwear for physical activities.


The Sturgis Area Community Foundation is a $30M foundation committed to serving the charitable needs of our community and enriching the quality of life for all people in the Sturgis area. Through philanthropic services, strategic investments, and community leadership, the Sturgis Area Community Foundation helps people support the causes they care about now and for generations.

For more information on grants or donor services, email

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