THCF's Youth Advisory Council

Truman Heartland Community Foundation

Initiatives & Impact

Youth Advisory Council

Empowering Students to Change Their Communities Through Philanthropy

Nearly 90 students from 12 high schools in Eastern Jackson County are making a difference in the community through the Youth Advisory Council.

Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is represented by the following area high schools and welcomes participation from other metro school districts: Blue Springs, Blue Springs South, Fort Osage, Grain Valley, Lee’s Summit, Lee’s Summit North, Lee’s Summit West, Raytown, Raytown South, Truman, Van Horn and William Chrisman.

YAC Recruitment

Are you a high school student who wants to make a difference in your community? Would you rather collaborate than compete? Do you want to get involved with other likeminded students? If so, consider joining Youth Advisory Council!

Please contact Diana Castillo at or 816-912-4184 if you would like more information about YAC. 

Perks of Being a YAC Member

  1. Review Grant Proposals: YAC members provide valuable insight to the Truman Heartland grants committee. Each year, a team of YAC students review grant proposals from local youth-serving nonprofits and make on-site visits.
  2. Practice Philanthropy: In addition to making recommendations to the Truman Heartland grants committee, YAC awards grants to local nonprofits from their own endowment fund.
  3. Plan and Organize a Fundraiser: Each year, YAC plans and organizes a fundraiser for their endowment fund, which helps support grants given to projects that help area youth. The 2022 fundraiser, Wheels & Reels, will be held on Saturday, April 30th at William Chrisman High School in Independence. 
  4. Community Service: Throughout the year, YAC members have opportunities to volunteer with local nonprofits. In addition to serving their communities, students gain hands-on experience by working with potential and/or current grant recipients and become inspired to pursue their own philanthropic goals.
  5. Leadership Opportunities: In addition to being a part of the council itself, YAC members can become a part of the leadership team. Leadership team members organize team meetings, service opportunities and set the direction of key YAC initiatives, giving each student excellent leadership experience.
  6. Scholarships: Each year, graduating YAC seniors are eligible for two scholarship awards, the Henri E. Goettel Youth in Philanthropy Award and the Elizabeth Hill McClure Scholarship Award.

Blue Springs High School Team Leaders

Chloe Petersen
Sophia Zarrillo

Blue Springs South High School Team Leaders

Bradley Danley
Hope Swartz

Fort Osage High School Team Leaders

Evan Funk
Kayla Roberts
Brett Wininger

Grain Valley High School

Jake Collins
John "Jack" Martin

Lee's Summit High School Team Leaders

Grace Davis

Lee's Summit North High School Team Leaders

Matthew Gerber
Cora Wills

Lee's Summit West High School Team Leaders

Sophia Knehans
Julianana Richardson

Raytown High School Team Leaders

Awah Asangwe
Billy Bettis
Dallas Frazier

Raytown South High School Team Leaders

Chinecherem Ihenacho
Jayme Thompson

Truman High School Team Leaders

Paige Gonzalez
Sydney Kennedy
Laura Knowles
Breana Smith
Samantha Stone

Van Horn High School Team Leaders

Nathanial Cupp
Keanu Sua

William Chrisman High School Team Leaders

Autumn Handley
Rebecca Stutzman

How Can I Help Fund YAC?

2 Ways to Support YAC:

  1. Give to the Foundation Fan Club to help support the expenses of the YAC program.
  2. Support the Youth Advisory Council’s Annual Endowment Fundraiser. This fundraiser supports the YAC endowment fund, which helps fund projects aiding our area youth, such as providing meals in the summer for children who normally rely on school lunches to feed them.

I cherish every moment I had, especially the opportunities to go out into my community and make a difference. I wish this wasn’t my last year in this wonderful program, but I’m grateful for the time I had.”

Holly Sullivan, YAC Team Leader

Have an idea for a youth-serving program? Apply for a Community Grant 


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