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Celebrating This Year’s YAC Graduates

YAC Senior BanquetOn May 9th, Truman Heartland’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) senior members and their parents joined Foundation staff and Board members to celebrate their impending graduation and share memories from their time on the council. 

“This year’s group of teens were very, very enthusiastic,” said Henri Goettel, YAC’s adult facilitator.

In addition to reviewing 24 grant applications, awarding 16 grants to youth-serving nonprofits, collecting 40,000 items for area food pantries and raising $3,700 for the YAC endowment fund, this year’s YAC members logged more than 1,000 total hours volunteering.

As Henri presented senior gifts and awards, each student spoke of the value of their experience in our “school of philanthropy.” 

“Youth Advisory Council has really inspired me to go out and help my community,” said Angelica Johnson, a graduate from Truman High School, who will be studying public policy at the University of Chicago.

Many students reflected on the grants review process and enjoyed the opportunity to learn about nonprofits in Eastern Jackson County. They also shared the value of the friendships they’ve formed, working with students not only from their same high school but throughout the region. 

“It’s really amazing to be with so many like-minded students,” said Lucy Langford, a graduate from Center Place Restoration High School, who will be studying biology at Park University. 

The evening culminated with Bryanna Counts, a graduate of Van Horn High School, receiving both the Henri E. Goettel Youth in Philanthropy Award and the Elizabeth Hill McClure Scholarship. Bryanna has been an active YAC member since 2015 and plans to study biology and political science at the University of Missouri.

“It’s a really good hope for the future,” said Lucy, “to know that there are so many students ready to go out and serve our community.”

Bryanna Counts YAC Senior Banquet

Truman Heartland’s Youth Advisory Council engages 190 students annually from 13 high schools in Eastern Jackson County. YAC students gain hands-on experience in fundraising, grantmaking and volunteering. Learn more about Youth Advisory Council at 

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