Teen Trust Board interviews new applicants

The current members of the Teen Trust Board are interviewing applicants for the 2012-2013 board this week. Applicants should be informed who is on next year’s board by graduation.

The Teen Trust Board is a diverse group of Black Hawk County high school students who decide how to distribute $10,000 to various local nonprofit organizations each year.

The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa added the Teen Trust Alumni project this year. Made up of all high school seniors, the alumni gave an additional $10,000 to Black Hawk nonprofit agencies.

CFHS senior Ryan Giarusso is the first student director of the Teen Trust Alumni Project: “I loved getting a hands-on experience and having the opportunity to get involved with the community in ways I never had before,” Giarusso said.

The alumni board  funded 10 different groups, including a group in Dunkerton that sews pillowcases for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and a town hall meeting concerning the prevention of youth alcohol abuse that should happen in the next few weeks.

Program director of the Community Foundation Carolynn Sween described how they try to keep Teen Trust as diverse as possible. “We always want to make sure that Teen Trust is as representative of the community as possible,” Sween said. The Teen Trust Board is diverse in schools, experiences, races and genders. The most important thing for applicants to become part of the next year’s board is for them to be ready to commit themselves to Teen Trust for a year and focus on learning about their community in a new way.

“I think that the thing that is so neat about Teen Trust is that the trustees give back to the community in multiple ways,” Sween said.

The Community Foundation defines philanthropy as giving time, talent and treasure. Teen Trust fulfills these through volunteering, offering ideas to those who come to Teen Trust for advice on  different issues and the money donations.

Teen Trust decides what agencies to fund through visits, interviews, community need assessments and talking to community advisors. “I think one of the things that really opens up students’ eyes is when they interview nonprofit organizations that want funding,” Sween said. Sween recalled many executive directors being nervous to talk with the high school students.
For the first few months of Teen Trust each year, the new board goes through training and education.

“It’s a great opportunity for kids to take responsibility for their community now,” Giarusso said.


(Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa photo)

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