PCC / News / March 29, 2013

Youth Action Grants ceremony honors students who make a difference

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Youth from the Deaf Blast and Ride project accept their check at the Youth Action Grants Ceremony on Wednesday, March 20.

Youth from the Deaf Blast and Ride project accept their check at the Youth Action Grants Ceremony on Wednesday, March 20.

The Youth Action Grants annual awards ceremony took place on Wednesday, March 20 at the Sylvania Campus. Representatives from PCC, including Dean of Instruction Jeff Triplet, students from the campus, Sociology Instructor Kim Smith, Board Member Jim Harper and Director of Government Relations Rob Wagner, participated alongside City Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Mayor’s Office Representative Chad Stover to honor the many youth who had written and received grants for a variety of projects.

The Youth Action Grants provide an opportunity for youth to write grants that develop programs or special events to help other Portland youth address initiatives set forth in the city of Portland’s Youth Bill of Rights. Initiatives addressed in program submissions for 2013 include voice, education, health, general well-being, community and recreation.

The Youth Action Grants Program offers numerous benefits to multiple stakeholders. In addition to the grant recipients and communities who engage in the proposed projects, students in PCC’s “Social Issues and Movements” course taught by Smith benefit by using the experience as a focal point in their class.

“The learning objectives for the project are to understand issues in our communities, identify and evaluate solutions, and allocate resources to help youth achieve their goals,” said Smith.

While the program received requests for 11 grants totaling $9,721, eight grants (created by 107 youth offering outreach to 6,354 youth) totaling $6,971 were awarded. You can view a complete listing of the programs selected to receive a grant - Youth Action Grants 2013 List.

Commissioner Fritz spoke about the importance of these types of programs, but that as budget cuts continue to become more severe, programs like the Youth Action Grants Program are in danger of being eliminated. That was the path the six-year program was headed towards this year until Smith was notified of the need for support in overseeing and executing the outreach and coordination of the program. She worked with Sylvania ASPCC leader Michelle Reers to find a solution.

Africa House Youth Council discusses the importance of their program at the Youth Action Grants Ceremony on Wednesday, March 20.

Africa House Youth Council discusses the importance of their program at the Youth Action Grants Ceremony on Wednesday, March 20.

ASPCC then took over outreach efforts, request-for-proposal development, creation and staffing of the grant writing workshops, and the awards ceremony planning.

The youth groups and their non-profit sponsors whose projects had been selected were presented with their checks at the ceremony after having a celebratory dinner together.  Mayrangela Cervantes, whose project is a Multicultural Fair in the Parkrose community, said her favorite part of the process was having everyone in their club share ideas and have a voice and have all the students in their high school club agree on one event to focus on.

For more information about the program, contact Kim Smith at kdsmith@pcc.edu.