The Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley seeks to empower high school students from throughout Aurora, the TriCities, and Kendall County with an interest in becoming the next generation of community leaders. By going “beyond the bake sale”, youth will have an opportunity to truly impact their community. With the support of Community Foundation staff and mentors from the community, youth will have the opportunity to review and ultimately decide on the funding of grant proposals from area not-for-profits serving youth in our community.
Freshmen through senior year high school students from a high school or homeschool co-op located within our service area may apply to participate in the YEP Program.
We consider the goals and structure of YEP to be a unique program for our area. It is our goal that youth who participate in this program will develop increased leadership skills and have an increased understanding of what it means to be an active citizen.
YEP will meet regularly throughout the year, with monthly meetings from October through April and opportunities for summer engagement and teambuilding. These monthly meetings will provide various opportunities for youth to serve on committees and actively participate in developing fundraising campaigns, selecting speakers, marketing the program, and designing applications for the grantmaking program, etc. Students will be provided with education and training, including interactions with mentors and local community leaders from our service area’s nonprofit sector. These experiences will empower students to further develop and utilize their leadership and decision-making skills as a team to work towards common goals. Due to COVID-19, meetings will be held via Zoom for the 2020-21 year unless otherwise stated.
- Greater understanding of the issues faced by peers
- Opportunities to engage in active citizenship
- Stronger connection to the local community
- Strengthened core values, such as service
- Reinforced mindset of gratitude
- Enhanced personal communication, leadership and decision-making skills
- Exposure to areas of social interest
- An environment that requires using teamwork to address community challenges
All eligible students wishing to be considered for the YEP Program must complete an online application. A total of up to 25 students will be selected from a diverse representation of schools and backgrounds to provide the most enriching experience possible.
Please Note: Online applications require the signature of the applicant and/or a parent or guardian to be considered complete. If selected, students will receive several forms that require the signatures of students and/or parents in order to participate (see next question).
Selected YEP applicants will be asked to participate in an interview (by phone and/or in person) with Community Foundation staff and/or board members. The interview is designed to clarify any questions that the student may have about the program and make sure he/she is aware of the commitment that is required.
The students who are selected to be members of the YEP program will be notified in writing by email by April 30, 2019. A formal letter will be sent to the student’s address provided on the application with forms that need to be completed and returned at Orientation. In addition, a complete calendar of events will be provided for the summer months and upcoming school year.
Please Note: Online applications require the signature of the applicant and/or a parent or guardian to be considered complete: (1) Student Contract; (2) Parent/Legal Guardian Release/Consent to Participate; (3) Parent/Legal Guardian Medical Release; and, (4) Parent/Legal Guardian Photo/Communications Release.
All YEP members and their parent/guardian will be expected to attend an orientation at the beginning of the program year. Program dates and topics will be reviewed. Youth and their parents/guardians will have an opportunity to ask questions and meet one another. Community Foundation leadership and staff and board members as well as mentors from the community will also be in attendance.
Forms that will be required include:
(1) Student Contract;
(2) Parent/Legal Guardian Release/Consent to Participate;
(3) Parent/Legal Guardian Medical Release; and,
(4) Parent/Legal Guardian Photo/Communications Release.
Under current COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, any in-person YEP meetings or events will take place outdoors in a physically distanced setting. Masks will be required. Students or parents with concerns about meeting in person may contact Cathy Schwieger at email@example.com or 331-208-9426.
Youth will be expected to participate in all meetings, with a maximum of two absences throughout the year. If he/she misses more than two meetings, the young person may be asked to withdraw from the program.
Youth will be asked to participate in at least one fundraising project and one service project throughout the year. These projects will be further defined by the youth. If the young person is not able to participate, other options may be considered.
Youth in the program are expected to be respectful of their peers, Community Foundation staff, and mentors, at all times. If there is a behavioral issue, the youth will be given a warning and his/her parent/guardian will be contacted. If there is not a change in the youth’s behavior, he/she may be asked to leave the program.
In addition, it is recommended, but optional, for all YEP members to participate in a pre- and post-survey to evaluate the effectiveness of the program, which will be administered in at the first and final meetings of the program year. The Community Foundation is working jointly with Aurora University to administer and analyze the data from these surveys in an effort to make sure the program is having a positive impact on the young people in the program.
The program will consist of pre-scheduled monthly meetings during August 2019-April 2020. Two of these meetings, Kickoff in September 2019, and Allocation in April 2020, will be held on a Saturday for three hours, but all other meetings, August, October, November, December, January, February, and March will be held on a weeknight for two hours. Lunch will be served during the Saturday meetings and refreshments will be served at all other meetings.
All meetings will be held at a central location in our service area, in Aurora, Illinois. The location will be announced in April 2019.
The Community Foundation of The Fox River Valley plans to promote YEP program activities by pitching ideas to local media and posting on the Foundation’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. For this reason, parents or legal guardians are required to give permission for photographs to be taken and news items released. The YEP application includes a release form for this purpose, and thus is incomplete without a signature of a parent or legal guardian.
By signing the YEP application, the student recognizes the significant time commitment required for YEP participation. This time commitment to the program is critical to the success of the YEP goals and is also spelled out in the student contract and reviewed at orientation. If a student has to miss a monthly meeting, then he/she is required to contact the YEP Coordinator (Cathy Schwieger, firstname.lastname@example.org or 331-208-9426). While we understand the scheduled sessions will sometimes conflict with other activities, if a YEP member misses more than two meetings throughout the year, he/she may be asked to withdraw from the program. We encourage students to carefully evaluate the time the YEP Program requires and whether their schedule can accommodate.
Absolutely! YEP members can request documentation of community hours after each session.
School districts will be encouraged to distribute YEP information to their students to raise awareness about the program.
Due to current COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, business meetings will be conducted via Zoom until further notice. For any other physically distanced meeting or event, transportation is the responsibility of parents/legal guardians and students. It is also the responsibility of parents/legal guardians to plan and coordinate any appropriate carpools.
Yes, the calendar for the program year can be viewed and downloaded from the main YEP web page.