Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is Truman Heartland Community Foundation’s “school of philanthropy.” YAC was designed to empower local high school students to become tomorrow's leaders by impacting their communities today.

Through YAC, students gain a greater understanding of some of the pressing issues affecting their communities, learn about and participate in the foundation’s grant-making process, and give back through volunteering and community service projects. YAC fosters collaboration and cooperation and teaches these future community leaders how to work effectively with a diverse range of students from schools throughout the area.

Students stand in front of van full of donated items
Fill Those Trucks Food Drive

The students' most recent service project was their annual food drive. YAC students were up early on a brisk Saturday morning. It may have been chilly, but the spirit of generosity quickly warmed them as they collected nonperishable food and household items from patrons shopping at one of the four participating Hy-Vee stores in the area. Their efforts were met with an overwhelmingly positive response from the community, who generously donated thousands of items. From toilet paper and toothpaste to spaghetti and cereals, shoppers were generous with their kind words and smiles, too. The items collected were distributed to individuals and families in need through Raytown Emergency Assistance Program (REAP), Community Services League, and Lee’s Summit Social Services. This food drive is always a feel-good event, as both the YAC students and their adult volunteers get the opportunity to see first-hand the positive impact they can have on the lives of their neighbors.

Five young people at the bowling ally
Strike in the Night 2023

Another exciting activity for these student leaders is the Youth Advisory Council’s Annual Fundraiser, Strike in the Night - Cosmic Caring Changing the Universe. This highly anticipated bowling event will take place on the evening of Saturday, April 27. It's sure to be a night full of trivia, games, food, and, of course, cosmic bowling. The proceeds from this family-friendly event will go to the YAC endowment fund, which will provide additional funds to be distributed during the foundation’s grant process later this year. The event promises to be a fun-filled evening for all. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for those who want to get involved.

Student holding "Thank You Sponsors" sign.

Youth philanthropy is a vital part of any community, yet it is often overlooked in favor of more competitive high school activities. If you know of a student who has a big heart, likes giving back, and wants to meet students from other schools in a cooperative setting, YAC may be the perfect fit! Colleges and employers like to see extracurricular activities on student resumes and applications. YAC is the ideal way to show personal drive and community commitment. Have your student reach out to the YAC Team Leader at their school, visit our website at, or reach out to Diana Castillo, Director of Grants and Donor Services, who leads the program at (816) 912-4184 or for more information. We are always looking to recruit interested high school students in the area!

YAC offers a unique platform for young people to make a positive impact. Led by Truman Heartland, this community-focused program nurtures the next generation of philanthropic leaders. It's inspiring to see our YAC students actively participating in their community. I truly believe that due to their experiences with YAC and the mission of THCF, these exceptional students will remain dedicated to improving the places where they live, work, and serve throughout adulthood.

Young ladies using their arms to spell out Y-A-C