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Youth Advisory Council Grants Selected

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is a unique leadership program that provides Sturgis high school students a hands-on opportunity to participate in the Community Foundation's work as advisors to grantmaking, programs, and initiatives serving the needs of local youth and teens.

Youth Advisory Council accepts grant proposals twice each year in March and October. Recently, YAC selected its fall 2020 grant recipients. Read on to learn more about these grant award winners and the important work they do for our community's youth.

St. Joseph County employers have asked schools to focus more on teaching students employability skills. CTE is responding with more resources to help make this happen. Using funding from their YAC grant, CTE will implement the Conover Program, one of the best known web-based assessment and training systems available to students online.

The program will specifically teach “soft skills” that will enable St. Joseph County students to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people, including communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and organizational skills.

The Sturgis eCademy is an alternative high school program for Sturgis students who may struggle to find success in the traditional school environment. YAC grant funds will support initiatives aimed at reducing school dropouts and improving the educational outcomes of eCademy students. The elements of the program are backed by extensive research and utilize the “The Circle of Courage®", a model of positive youth development that is based on the universal principle that to be emotionally healthy, all youth need "a sense of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity." be emotionally healthy, all youth need “a sense of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity.”

Adolescent Recovery Court (ARC) is a pilot program that will launch in January 2021. This specialized program within the St. Joseph County criminal justice system will seek to address the underlying problem(s) that may lead to certain offenses involving juveniles.

YAC funds will be used to purchase software for a youth assessment screening tool that will help identify the underlying needs of local youth entering the Adolescent Recovery Court.

The assessment will help determine the risk factors, needs, and protective factors for these youth and better equip professionals in connecting them to the support or programs they may need. Funding will also be used to provide essential training for those persons to run the assessments.

Sturgis Neighborhood Program (SNP) will use YAC grant funds to purchase supplies, including cold-weather gear and equipment for Sturgis CTE Building Trades class students who have partnered with SNP and are currently in the process of building a new single-family home on South Maple Street in Sturgis.

Using YAC funds, Camp Fort Hill plans to enhance day camp facilities and equipment. This includes a plan to purchase additional sporting equipment for the use of day camp participants. Day Camp provides campers the chance to swim, boat and play waterfront games on Lake Tamarack, study local plants and animals, test skills on the climbing wall and challenge courses, hike the trails, create arts and crafts, and practice their outdoor skills with fishing and archery.

As a leader and resource for local philanthropy, the Sturgis Area Community Foundation works closely with non-profits and charitable agencies every year to fuel positive change where we live. Our grantmaking framework is the vehicle that provides funding to nonprofits, empowering the people and organizations that best understand how to serve their communities with the resources they need to create impact. These investments are powered by the generosity of donors who have entrusted the Foundation to meet our community’s needs. If you have questions about grants or would like to know more about our work, please contact our office at

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