OAKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Some might think teenagers are too busy with their own social life to give back to the community, but one group is dispelling that rumor. A group of local teens from five middle schools and high schools are awarding a non-profit six thousand dollars. They are part of Jumpstart Our Youth, a student-driven philanthropy program.
Seven non-profits spoke to more than 200 students at Messalonskee High School and in ten minutes told them why they should receive the grant.
Waterville High School senior Sandra LaVerdiere said, "The hardest part is picking from all these non-profit organizations that we have throughout these three towns that we have been working with."
The students asked each presenter questions on where the grant money would go and how it would benefit the local community.
Waterville High School junior Destiny Petit said, "You would want to know what they are going to use the money for and you will want it to be closer to home so it's more personable."
The presenters appreciated the questions.
Executive Director Tom Peaco with Make-A-Wish Maine said, "That's how non-profits are going to sustain themselves, if people are in the mindset of thinking of others and giving to help other people. So we are thrilled obviously with the support that we receive, but also what this is teaching young people."
This is the program's fifth year and engages approximately 4,000 students across the state in charitable giving. Between the grants awarded and student volunteer time the group has put nearly 1 million dollars into Maine communities.
The ballots will be counted within the next couple of day. Once a winner is chosen they will be presented with a large check at the Winslow Auditorium.