What is YAC?
The Youth Advisory Council is a committee of the Barry Community Foundation. The Council, made up of youth representatives from Barry County, involves young people in solving problems affecting their peers. Members of YAC help set policy and guide distribution from their endowment income by giving grants to promising youth projects in Barry County.
In 1996, the directors of the Barry Community Foundation created the Youth Advisory Council, in response to a statewide challenge issued by the WK-Kellogg Foundation. To meet the requirements of the Challenge, a new fund was created to address youth issues. The YAC was established to make grant recommendations to the Foundation Board of Directors for expenditure of these funds. YAC first granted funds in winter, 1998.
What is the Barry Community Foundation?
The Barry Community Foundation roots trace back to 1962, when the Thornapple Foundation was formed to improve the quality of life of Barry County residents. In July of 1995, the Thornapple Foundation became the Barry Community Foundation to provide an opportunity for a public-supported community endowment. The Foundation receives and manages contributions from thousands of citizens and organizations that are committed to the future of Barry County. The Foundation reflects the collective vision of our County residents and provides an opportunity for contribution to community through gifts of many sizes and types.
What do members do?
Members of the YAC meet monthly during the school year to make project decisions or to learn more about youth issues in Barry County. The YAC periodically assesses the needs of youth in Barry County in order to guide their grant making. The YAC is also very active in the community, participating in various community service projects. YAC members also work to develop their own community activities designed to benefit youth. The average time commitment is roughly 2 to 8 hours per month.
- Attend all meetings.
- Extensive reading of grant proposal information.
- Be prepared to recommend funding for grants.
- Know YAC Purpose and the Barry Community
Through a recent Developmental Assets Study conducted in Barry County, the YAC has identified the following as concerns of youth:
- 70% of the youth surveyed felt that his or her parent(s) do not communicate positively, and the youth are not willing to seek parent(s) advice and counsel.
- Only 24% of the youth surveyed felt that the adults in the community value youth.
- Only 16% of the young people surveyed spend three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or others arts.
- 72% of the youth surveyed felt that their parent(s) and other adults do not model positive, responsible behavior.
- Only 24% of the youth surveyed reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.
- 63% of the youth surveyed do not have knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.
YAC, using guidelines established based on needs assessment data, grants toward youth related programs in which youth are involved. Since creation in 1996, YAC has granted over $160,000 to youth-related programs:
- $10,000 to the Barry County F.I.A. to pay for activities and opportunities to foster children and their families that might not be affordable to them.
- $6,000 to Freeport Skate Park to provide a designated area in Freeport for local bikers, roller bladders, and skateboarders.
- $800 to Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) to pay for a speaker to come and do a program against destructive decisions at a school assembly.
- $20,100 to Dispute Resolution Services of Gryphon Place to establish a peer mediation program in Barry County Schools.
- $2,000 to the Thornapple Arts Council to fund a jazz band festival and have the bands work with the professionals from the Paul Keller Orchestra.
- $100 to Northeastern Elementary School for two clocks and indoor/outdoor thermometers to be placed outside each wing of the school.
- $300 to Page Elementary School to fund new books for their library.
- $2,000 to the Maple Valley Junior/Senior High School to fund the Alumni Organization’s building and maintaining a baseball/softball facility and purchasing a batting cage.