United Way of McLean County has launched a new program intent on helping young people come up with solutions to community needs. (Photo courtesy United Way)
By Eric Stock
BLOOMINGTON - United Way of McLean County is shifting its focus in helping young people address community needs.
The group is launching Emerging Community Impact Partners, a group of 18 high school students in McLean County who will work on community service projects. Senior Director of Resource Development Gina Mandros said the program replaces Teens United for McLean County which helped develop four Born Learning Trails in the county.
"We're not chalking up born learning trails to a loss. Let's say one of the small teams comes up with wanting to install a born learning trail and gives us a good case for the need of that, we'd see that happening," Mandros said.
The students, with the help of adult mentors, will be divided into four groups, which will submit proposals on how to address community needs. The United Way will select a winning project in April and each student in that group will get a $1,000 scholarship from Heartland Bank.
"These kids are the ones who see problems for what they really are because they are interacting with their peers every day. So we expect really great things to come from the students that are involved in this. We think we've got a lot of great talent, they are motivated, they are excited and they are engaged," Mandros said.
The 2012-2013 McLean County Emerging Community Impact Partners:
Camira Ferguson, Bloomington High School
Michael Billington and Rayven Fischer, Central Catholic High School
Eric Tomlin, Tyler Schiffman and Diana Harris, Heyworth High School
Shane Bruning and Lauren Myers, LeRoy High School
Ben Leake and Ted Lingle, Lexington High School
Corinne Futch and Cassidy Nieves, Normal Community High School
Zach Tod and Kaydee Parker, Normal Community West High School
Jayden Horrer and Chase Thurman, Olympia High School
EJ Newble and Emily Tuttle, University High School
United Way adult mentors:
United Way staff members leading the program:
Gina Mandros, Senior Director of Resource Management
Julie Ornée, Community Impact Manager
Eric Stock can be reached at email@example.com.