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St. Paul Catholic School Students Utilize Community Foundation Youth Grant to Assist Seniors

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April 28, 2017
St. Paul Catholic School participated in the Community Foundation of Grant County 2017 Youth Grant program. The goal of the youth grant program is to teach kids how to be philanthropic in their community. The program breaks the concept of philanthropic giving into three sections. The first is for students to complete a unit on Philanthropy to help them understand what it means to give back. The second part has the students apply the learning to their school by identifying a need and utilizing approved grant funds to fulfill the need. The students then apply what they have learned beyond their school by using the remainder of the grant funds to address a need in their community that they have identified.
Students in 6th grade at St. Paul Catholic School learned the concept of philanthropy and service-learning through the use of the Learning to Give website unit titled, A Plethora of Philanthropy. As part of this unit, students wrote down what they knew about philanthropy. The class brainstormed what they could do to promote or provide philanthropy in our community and what that would look like. This was followed by a discussion of the term “community” and its meaning. As part of the discussion, they talked about the ways they have helped our community, telling whether it was through time, talent, or treasure. Some examples of philanthropy that students gave were donating items or money, singing for others, helping elders in different ways and serving lunch to those in need.
To apply the philanthropy unit, 6th grade teacher Mrs. Sherri Strickland challenged the students to think of how they could use their talents or time to aid people in the community. The students reviewed a variety of ideas and selected to focus on finding ways to improve the quality of life for senior citizens throughout the Marion/Grant County community. This winter the class organized a schoolwide collection of hygiene items for Cambridge Square residents. Cambridge Square is a senior living community in north Marion. The students then visited the apartment community and worked together with the residents to make bags of the hygiene items and enjoy snack and fellowship. The sixth grade will get together again in early May to play games with the residents. The students have enjoyed our time with the residents, knowing that some residents do not have family or friends visiting them.
After visiting Cambridge Square, the sixth grade students identified assisting more seniors in the area as the community need they wanted to address with the community portion of the Youth Grant. Mrs. Liz Wright, Executive Director of the Marion-Grant County Senior Center, was invited to visit with students about how this organization serves the community. Students learned that their programs include serving lunch daily, games, recreational activities and health screenings. Wright shared that funding these important programs for seniors in the community is a challenge as the funds to run the programs come from donations or grants. The Senior Center serves many senior citizens each day, improving their quality of life by providing them with food and fellowship. The students determined that providing the community portion of the Youth Grant as a monetary donation to the Marion-Grant County Senior Center would help to address a community need. Wright said that the funds will be used to purchase food supplies so the Senior Center can serve lunch to the community. To further apply their learning, the students in 5th and 6th grade have decided to visit the Senior Center at the end of May to help serve lunch and play games.
Students were also asked to identify needs at the school that funds from the Youth Grant program could be applied toward. They identified the need of new items for the Physical Education Department. Items chosen were new scooters and basketballs to replace those items in poor condition. The students researched these items to find the best deal, both in price and quality of the items. These new items will be used by all students at the school as part of their physical education class.
The Youth Grant program offered through the Community Foundation of Grant County has provided a hands-on way for the students to learn what it means to be philanthropic and the different ways you can do so within your community. They were honored to be able to apply their learning to help fulfill needs within their community by giving of both their time to serve others and funds to provide needed items.
St. Paul Catholic School is a preschool through sixth grade academic community that provides students with opportunities to develop their faith, confidence and self-reliance while preparing them academically and spiritually for life’s challenges. For more information about St. Paul Catholic School, visit or call our School Office at 765-662-2883.
Kelly Scher, Development Director, (765) 662-2883