From Special Reports

In the fall of 2015, the Coweta Community Foundation launched its first Community Service Team for local freshmen and sophomores. Members of the team met monthly to study local nonprofits and learn more about how they operate, and at the end of the year, they chose to give a grant to the Community Welcome House.

Building on its successful first year, the group added even more members for the 2016-2017 school year, and they awarded their second grant, this time to the Coweta Organization for Riding, Rehabilitation and Learning (CORRAL).

This fall, the third group of community-minded high school students, the biggest yet, was selected. Members include Jay Channell, Cade Barker, Sam Huynh, Ashley Stephens, Jessie Himes, Sara Ashley Estes, Bailey Barnett, Michaela Fuller, Elizabeth Alexander, Michelle McGrath, Jena Patel, Gracie Martin, Mary Patten Poulakos, Lili Clark, Samantha Morrison, Mary Nichols Lollis, Amanda Bridges, Lela Daniell, Gracie Bolton, Katelyn McMath, Ashlyn Carney, Sarah Warburton, Emily Bowers, Mia Fisher, Gracie Armour, Chloe Epstein, Jakob Kerr, Tyiena Stafford and Alani Wight.

These students are already busy learning about the world of Coweta nonprofits and will again be awarding a grant before the end of the school year.

The objectives of the Community Service Team are to:

• Build awareness of local nonprofits among high school students.
• Provide an opportunity for active participation in local nonprofit organizations.
• Train young teens to serve as auxiliary board members of local nonprofits during their junior and senior years.
• Bring new ideas and youthful energy to local nonprofit agencies.
• Provide an opportunity for the team to research and select one local nonprofit to receive a grant for a special project or program.

Membership is determined through an application and interview process among high school students. They attend monthly meetings during which they are introduced to the various nonprofit organizations serving Coweta citizens, and they also participate in two workdays with a nonprofit agency. At the end of the student’s two-year participation, nonprofits may invite the participant to serve as an auxiliary member of the Board of Directors. In addition, a standout team member each year is awarded a $500 scholarship from the Coweta Community Foundation.

The Community Service Team leaders include Foundation board members Cynthia Bennett, director of programs for the Newnan-Coweta Chamber and a retired Coweta County educator; Deidre Bembry, a local State Farm insurance agent; and Michael Nix, local government liaison with the Office of the Governor in Atlanta.

“Our Community Service Team has far surpassed our expectations for this group of young leaders, and we’re extremely excited about our third group of students we’ve just welcomed this fall,” said Ginger Queener, chair of the Coweta Community Foundation. “We’ve had some incredible feedback about these youth and look forward to seeing what our new class will accomplish.”

The Coweta Community Foundation is a publicly supported 501(c)3 organization that helps focus local philanthropy on the community’s changing needs. The Foundation manages individual gifts and bequests as an endowed pool of assets, distributing grants to a wide variety of organizations that enhance and support the quality of life in Coweta County, while maintaining the charitable intent of the donors. For more information, call the Foundation at 770-253-1833.

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Pictured above is the 2017-2018 Community Service Team: (Front row, from left) Jay Channell, Cade Barker, Sam Huynh, Ashley Stephens and Jessie Himes. (Middle row, from left) Sara Ashley Estes, Bailey Barnett, Michaela Fuller, Elizabeth Alexander, Michelle McGrath, Jena Patel, Gracie Martin, Mary Patten Poulakos, Lili Clark and Michael Nix. (Back row, from left) Cynthia Bennett, Samantha Morrison, Mary Nichols Lollis, Amanda Bridges, Lela Daniell, Gracie Bolton, Katelyn McMath, Ashlyn Carney, Sarah Warburton, Emily Bowers and Mia Fisher. Not pictured are Gracie Armour, Chloe Epstein, Jakob Kerr, Tyiena Stafford and Alani Wight.