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  • Writer's pictureLynsey Krusie

'Amplify Youth' Philanthropy Program

In partnership with the West Liberty Youth Dream Catchers, we piloted a youth philanthropy program, Amplify Youth, over the fall semester.

West Liberty middle and high school students participated in the eight-week program to gain philanthropic skills, learn about key issues, and make a difference in the West Liberty community. Amplify Youth aims to engage and educate students, equipping them to become active participants in creating positive change in their community.

Through the program’s curriculum, students learned about local nonprofits and philanthropists, grantmaking, and serving the common good. Students also interviewed residents at Simpson Memorial Home in West Liberty about their life experiences and needs, allowing students to gain an understanding of conducting a needs-based assessment.

“It was a joy to teach students philanthropy basics and provide them the tools and knowledge to individually better their community. Empowering our youth to become philanthropic leaders not only benefits our community today but also lays a solid foundation for a more engaged generation in the future,” said Moriah Ellis, Community Initiatives Coordinator at the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine.

At the end of the course, Amplify Youth students invited local nonprofits to participate in a Shark Tank-style grant opportunity. After listening to presentations and assessing community needs, the students selected Latinos Unidos West Liberty as the recipient of a $5,000 grant to further their mission to promote Latin culture and civic spirit through scholarships and an annual festival.

"I enjoyed being in this program, as it enhanced my love of the community,” said Eric Yao, a junior at West Liberty High School. “Everyone has potential to make a difference. No one is limited.”

Funding for the Amplify Youth pilot program was provided jointly by the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine and the Iowa Council of Foundations.

L to R: Moriah Ellis, Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine; Luz Martinez, Latinos Unidos WestLiberty; Eric Yao, Aidan Santos, Adan Estrada, Rocio Sanchez Rosales, Daniela Montelongo, Vianney Hernandez, Paris Salais, Betsy Bejarano

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