As spring fully blooms, I am reminded of the promise of young people as I see them plan for prom, summer jobs, and graduation. So many hopes and dreams are on the precipice of reality. And thus, the Community Foundation plays an important role by investing in young lives. We have opened over 2,400 Kickstart to Career savings accounts and, last year, we awarded scholarships to more than 350 students and funded more than $1.8 million in education-related grants.
I am troubled when I hear the derogatory term “snowflake” to describe youth as lazy, protected, and entitled. What I see here in Newaygo County are hardworking kids—children that need our loving guidance and just enough freedom to develop their own minds and sense of self. Our young citizens will be the leaders of the future and the workforce to keep our economy growing. They will guide family values. I hope they will also be able to break the cycle of contempt for our fellow people and find real solutions to long-term problems.
If you need an example of the tenacity, creativity, and leadership of young people, take a look at our Youth Advisory Committee. They engage in grantmaking, leadership, volunteerism, and building friendships across school boundaries, socioeconomic status, and geography. The world today is a complicated place with criticism often overriding compassion, but I am heartened to see these students’ commitment to making the world around them better.
We’re proud to partner with you to help young people through opportunities like Kickstart to Career, scholarships, and more. Kids are doing so much more than we realize in sometimes very challenging circumstances. Hope shines eternal!