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AAACF Update: Week of 5/18-22/2020 - Local Youth Are Hope for Our Future

Although their rites of passage and other school activities have been impacted by the pandemic, young people are showing their resilience and creativity as they adjust to a new reality and continue working toward their goals. We are encouraged by a future generation of Washtenaw County leaders. We share as illustration two existing programs that continue to evolve and demonstrate the potential of our young people.

Community Scholarship Program

Thanks to many dedicated volunteers with expertise in education serving on our Scholarship Committee, a new cohort of 12 promising students were recently selected for our Community Scholarship Program (CSP) and participated in an orientation—virtually—last Saturday. The dozen new CSP scholars come from households and high schools across Washtenaw County and the majority plan to study in Michigan. Since CSP launched in 2016, the program has now awarded more than $1 million to 50 students, with flexible awards of up to $20,000 total for each scholar across up to five years.

Local data continues to inform every aspect of the program. CSP focuses on “leveling the playing field” for youth who are first-generation, students of color or Pell-eligible. To encourage degree attainment, the program provides multi-year awards and dedicated college success coaches who help students to successfully navigate their educational journeys.

The two CSP college success coaches have experience in admissions and financial aid and a passion for helping young people to achieve their full potential. Kendra Agee and Marshall Averill will work with the new cohort throughout this summer as the students prepare for beginning their college studies this fall, just as they continue to advise advanced CSP students who are persisting and excelling in an evolving academic environment.

Kendra Agee has both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Oakland University, where she also worked in their Pre-College Programs Office. Kendra has spent her career promoting education and career planning, including serving as a youth coordinator for the New Beginnings Ypsilanti Christian Center. Marshall Averill brings his background in financial empowerment and stability, including positions at Americorps and the United Way of Washtenaw County, to his work with CSP students. Marshall holds a BS from Eastern Michigan University, where he also worked in the Admissions Office.

Youth Council

Youth Council Zoom MeetingJust as the CSP orientation was virtual, so was the final meeting of the 2019-20 Youth Council. This year’s membership, the 30th cohort since its founding, oversaw the exciting expansion of Youth Council membership county-wide. AAACF’s high school student grantmaking and leadership committee wants to see the geographic diversity of its membership increase in the coming academic year. Online applications for 10 new positions beginning in the next academic year are now available through September.

The nine graduating seniors from Youth Council will be celebrated in future updates to our web page. Their year-end celebration will also be virtual this year, as we pay tribute to these students, who will undoubtedly continue to value community engagement as they embark on new pursuits beyond high school. We know from 30 years of our Youth Council that these amazing young people remain devoted to philanthropy and service throughout their lives.

Even as traditions have changed this year, we take comfort in the continuation of activities such as awarding scholarships to promising students and graduating Youth Council members who have helped further the work of local nonprofits serving young people. May we all take hope in the promise and potential of our youth!

As the dedicated endowment for Washtenaw County, AAACF is committed to recovery and support for the post-pandemic future!

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