A new group of high school students is encouraging youth leadership and community involvement in philanthropy.
Tiffin Charitable Foundation has started Youth Advisory Council, which is made up of 12 juniors and seniors from area high schools. The council is to visit organizations and then help administer grants in the spring.
"Their counselors at their schools made recommendations (about who should participate) to us," said Jodie Reinbolt, administrator of Tiffin Charitable Foundation.
Reinbolt estimated the foundation's board was interested in the idea for the past year, and the foundation is using a model from Erie County.
"We visited with the people in Erie County, and they helped us a lot," she said.
Reinbolt said the group is going to meet Tuesday mornings once a month and plans to visit a charitable organization during each meeting over the next five months.
The group's first agency visit was to Court Appointed Special Advocates Nov. 15.
"It went really very well," said Debbie Gerschutz, the council's adviser.
Reinbolt said Tiffin Charitable Foundation provided grant money to CASA several months ago to purchase a fingerprinting machine it is able to use for its volunteers. The machine also is able to be used for people who walk in for a small fee, she said.
"Some of (the students) got fingerprinted," she said.
Reinbolt said they were amazed at the number of volunteers it takes for CASA to keep operating, and she thinks they learned a lot.
"The kids asked a lot of questions," she said.
Reinbolt said officials want the students to learn about philanthropy in the community, learn about what the needs are in Seneca County and learn what kinds of organizations exist to help meet the needs. They also want them to be given the opportunity to provide advice on grants.
The youths are to give that consulation when White Family Charitable Fund of Tiffin Charitable Foundation turns over $9,000 in April. The foundation has had some interest from other foundations in the county that might like to put money into the pool and allow the students to do granting on their behalf, too, Reinbolt said.
As students visit the organizations, they are asking organizations to submit applications if they have needs.
Organizations are to apply to the group, with March 31 as the deadline. Students are going to make recommendations about which organizations should receive funds, and the foundation board is to approve their recommendations.
"They can pick grants that will benefit the youth of Seneca County, but they don't have to," Reinbolt said.
Reinbolt said she hopes to make Youth Advisory Council an ongoing project. Juniors are to continue in the program next year, and a new group of juniors is to join it.
Gerschutz said officials are hoping to encourage students to go back and share their experiences with their high school peers.
"We'd like it to grow," she said.