Wanna Make a Difference?
Youth Venture can help anyone foster change
Published October 21, 2011
Impoverished girls in South Africa don’t have to fret about college applications. They also don’t get any of the benefits that come with a college education.
Audrey Kelly, a 2011 Garfield graduate who now goes to Whitman College, founded an organization to change that. With a grant from nonprofit organization Youth Venture, the Seattle South African Scholarship Fund (SSASF) provides underprivileged South African girls with a full-ride scholarship to university.
A nation-wide organization, Youth Venture made Kelly’s dreams and the dreams of girls in South Africa possible. However, SSASF goes above and beyond the typical Youth Venture team. Kelly went to Youth Venture with not only a vision, but a plan of action as well.
Youth Venture works with a wide variety of inspired youth, from underprivileged teenagers to motivated college students. “They have a model: pick your passion and pick an issue,” says Jessica Markowitz, a Garfield junior, who founded Richard’s Rwanda IMPUHWE, another group promoting social change in Africa. Youth Venture’s program works with youth who want to be changemakers but aren’t sure how to turn words into actions, providing them with the structure necessary to effect change.
SSASF received a $1000 grant from Youth Venture to supplement their already-existing program. According to Kelly, this money helped, but Youth Venture’s volunteer assistance was the most helpful. Before the partnership with Youth Venture, SSASF wasn’t a dependable organization, but with their assistance in creating a financial plan, they were able to become a sustainable organization.
Both Richard’s Rwanda IMPUHWE and Garfield’s Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) have had relationships with Youth Venture. Both Garfield clubs went to Youth Venture with a very defined and organized structure, vision, and plan.
Richard’s Rwanda had been in existence for several years, but received a $1000 grant from Youth Venture to continue their workings. Through Youth Venture, Markowitz and her team have been referred to other passionate youth groups that work in the same domain, have participated in seminars on how to run non-profit organizations, and have developed other strategies for success.
CORE, however, has been disappointed by the program’s workings; after being told they would receive a grant, the group never heard from YV again.
“Our application has just been sitting in limbo since early 2011,” explains CORE board member Axel Rosencrantz.
Andrea Wenet, the executive director of Seattle’s Youth Venture branch, promised that she would personally work with Youth Venture’s main office in order to send CORE their funds.
Youth Venture’s target audience is kids who know they want to change the world, but aren’t sure how. Anyone who has an interest in creating social change can work with Youth Venture, so while SSASF, CORE and Richard’s Rwanda IMPUHWE are the cream of the crop, all Garfield students and other interested high school students have the opportunity to be able to make a difference.
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