Announcing 2019 In Youth We Trust Grant Awards

April 22, 2019

In Youth We Trust Council is made up of high-school-aged youth from across Northern Illinois. The program engages young people in community service and philanthropy. IYWT gives the council members resources and opportunities to help solve problems affecting their peers and their quality of life. The IYWT Grant Program distributes up to $25,000 a year to youth-led projects in the region. IYWT Council Members set grant policy, review youth-inspired service project proposals, and recommend proposals for funding to CFNIL’s Board of Directors.

The 2019 IYWT Grant Cycle was the most competitive to date with 15 groups from across northern Illinois submitting proposals. This month, the Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois approved nine grants totaling $23,675 which were recommended by the IYWT Council. The nine projects, each addressing a unique youth issue or opportunity, are described below.

On April 22 the IYWT Council will host a reception ceremony to formally present the awards to all nine recipient groups and celebrate the good work that will be accomplished in our community for youth, by youth.

2019 IYWT Grant Awards:

Fighting For A Voice
Aquin High School

The project “Fighting For A Voice” proposes to put on a dramatic play, “Fighting for Myself” that addresses the very real stresses on today’s teenage girls such as pressure to be thin, to be popular, to have sex, to do drugs, etc. Though focusing on young women’s issues, this play offers a measure of hope and is vital to everyone.

Inspire: The Beth Heuer Musical
Auburn Capstone English

Auburn CAPA students wrote a musical about CAPA Creative and Performing Arts Director and role model, Beth Heuer. Beth is a strong woman who has overcome many of life’s most difficult obstacles and achieved great successes in the end. The goal is to stage this show and share her story to inspire others who are going through a rough time to push and be greater than their hardships. This project will also serve as a fundraiser for the Creative and Performing Arts program at Auburn High School. At each show there will be a silent auction, and/or a raffle. Profits given to the CAPA program will go towards equipment such as new instruments, a better sound system, dance shoes, tools, and much more.

Bring Your “A” Game
Boys and Girls Club of Rockford

The program is developed to address violence and gang involvement in the community among males. Youth in the program have been learning about substance abuse prevention, gang prevention, academic study techniques and employment skills. The group project is to create a basketball league to give youth an opportunity to engage in a fun activity. Based on the responses from a focus group, the youth need a mentor/coach to engage with them in an activity in which they want to participate. The goal of the program is to have youth from different areas of the city to engage with each other in a non-threatening manner and a safe atmosphere. Coaches/Mentors will guide the team in basketball strategies and will also assist youth in how to make positive life choices. As a Coach/Mentor youth will gain trust with an adult in which they can identify with who could help them in other parts of their life where they do not have a trusted adult.

Queer Prom 2019
DiversCity Youth Group

An inclusive dance (safe space) for queer youth and their allies in order to create a prom for LGBTQ+ youth who otherwise would not get that high school experience. We planned it in early June to celebrate the end of the school year and LGBTQ Pride Month. We want to throw a prom with no ticket sales or admission cost to help eliminate barriers for teens to attend.

Reading Is So Much Fun
GiGi’s Playhouse

This project will continue a summer book club at GiGi’s Playhouse, which was very successful last year. Last year all the book club kids clapped at the end. I was inspired to create a book club though Girl Scouts. I got the idea to do the book and the club from my high school I went to last year, where I volunteered in a program to help younger kids read. I really wanted to help kids. We have youth volunteers helping youth with disabilities to reach their fullest potential. Last summer’s project really paved the way for this year.

Veteran Documentaries 2019
Harlem Veteran Project

As more and more kids get interested in the Harlem Veteran Project, and we get more experienced and professional, we are in need of more and better camera equipment. Recording the raw footage of these veterans is one of the most important aspects of our documentaries. We need to make sure that is looks nice. Editing takes months to learn and execute. In the end, it is all worth it. It is our civic duty to preserve the stories of our nation’s heroes, and that is what the Harlem Veteran Project is all about.

Picnic with a Purpose
Winnebago County CASA

Children who are being served by CASA are facing very difficult situations and can be in between homes and families. We want to provide them with a day that’s all about them. At the Picnic with a Purpose, the children will receive a yummy lunch and snacks, and a toiletry pack that is age appropriate and gender specific.

Charity Basketball Tournament
Youth Service Network (Parenthood Promise)

The Parenthood Promise Charity Basketball Tournament is a project that plans to raise funds to purchase school uniforms for homeless middle school students for Rockford Public School Families in Transition (FIT) program. The tournament will be held at Rockford’s Sports Factory.

Build Space Tooling Upgrade
Winnovation FIRST Robotics Team

The addition of a Desktop CBC Machine will bring the fabrication of key robot parts in house, meaning we would no longer need to request in-kind donations every year from our manufacturing sponsors. This would free up key sponsorship funds to reinvest in our community outreach efforts. This purchase would also not only increase the speed at we can manufacture and develop parts for robots, buts it would also give students hands on experience with modern technology and tools- which would help in creating career experience.