Home is where their hearts are.

And that’s why Frankenmuth Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is such a perfect fit for Olivia Perrou, Erich Laux and Halia Andrews.

“These kids love their hometown and have learned firsthand the importance of philanthropy and how they, as individuals and collectively, can make a difference in their community. That’s exactly what YAC is all about,” said Jonathan Webb, executive director of the Frankenmuth Community Foundation.

YAC is a Foundation program designed to encourage young people to become more involved in philanthropy and volunteerism. The group’s 15 Frankenmuth High School students meet monthly during the school year to review grant proposals submitted by students and educators that would benefit local youth.

Then YAC determines where the available money from the Frankenmuth Youth Advisory Council Endowment fund will be best used. The Frankenmuth Community Foundation’s Board of Governors has final approval of all grant distributions.

Youth Advisory Council members are chosen as incoming freshmen based on applications they submit as eighth-graders. Now Frankenmuth High School seniors, Perrou, Laux and Andrews have each served in YAC for four years.

The students have funded a variety of projects including grants for the Frankenmuth schools, special programming, and James E. Wickson District Library.

“I’ve learned from YAC the value of putting in time in the community, to not only help others but to widen and advance my view on the world,” said Perrou, 17, who serves as YAC president. “I don’t think I will ever stop helping others.”

Perrou plans to attend Calvin College to study nursing in hopes of eventually becoming a traveling nurse. Her favorite experience with YAC was a grant that provided busing so List Elementary School fourth-graders could read with residents at Independence Village of Frankenmuth.

“Two totally different generations were able to connect, and it was very rewarding to have a small part in making that happen,” Perrou said.

Laux, YAC’s treasurer for two years, plans to attend the University of Southern California to pursue degrees in mechanical engineering and German. His favorite YAC grant was for FHS robotics equipment because he could see how it helped get students involved and excited about research.

“No matter the scale of what we do, YAC always has a positive impact on our community and those in it,” said Laux, 18.

Andrews, 17, said her years volunteering with YAC taught her the importance of giving back to her community whether that was through Christmas caroling, planting trees for Earth Day or approving grants throughout the year.

Her favorite grant was approving funds for the Frankenmuth High School Seagles Robotics team.

“They were in need of camera equipment, which I was able to test firsthand during my freshman year. I really enjoyed seeing our grant’s effects and the benefit it brought to the students involved,” said Andrews, who plans to pursue biomedical engineering after graduation.

“YAC also strengthened my leadership and communication skills by working together with the group in each decision and activity,” she said.

Bonnie VanVoorhees, FCF board member and new YAC advisor, loves working with the youth group.

“This is my first year working with the YAC group as their advisor, and I am continually amazed at their leadership and community spirit,” VanVoorhees said.

The Frankenmuth Community Foundation is currently conducting its Annual Appeal, called “Giving 150% to Our Community”. From now through Jan. 15, 2019, every dollar donated by individuals (non-corporate) to one of its Endowed Funds or Scholarship Funds will receive an additional 50% matching donation from the Frankenmuth Community Foundation, up to a maximum donation match of $5,000, Webb said.

For more information on funds and online donations visit www.frankenmuthfoundation.org, or simply mail your donation to Frankenmuth Community Foundation, P.O. Box 386, Frankenmuth, MI 48734. Be sure to specify which fund(s) you would like to support with your donation.

Forest Erich Laux
Snow Halia Andrews
Mountains Olivia Perrou

Making a positive impact in the Frankenmuth area!

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