Youth who are active in making our community a better place are invited to be nominated for a special award established by the Scott County Youth Grantmaking Council (?YGC?), a program of the Scott County Community Foundation.

The Helping Hand Award is open to all youth in grades K-12 who reside in Scott County. Anyone in the community can nominate a student by submitting a letter of recommendation. The youth will then be contacted to submit a list of their activities, including the hours spent on the activities, a description of what they do, and any honors or awards they have received. The YGC members are especially interested in youth who have done something special to set themselves apart from other youth. All nominees will be evaluated on a blind application process.

All nominated youth will be invited to the YGC?s annual dinner, held in early June. There, all nominees will be honored, and the winner will be announced, receiving a cash prize.

Last year?s recipient was Ashley Martin, who was a student at Vienna-Finley Elementary School. In addition to her church and school activities, she most notably started Ashley?s Coat Drive, with donations benefiting the Clearinghouse.

It is estimated that 55 percent of youth ages 12 to 18 volunteer in the United States each year, which is nearly twice the adult volunteering rate of 29 percent. Youth contribute more than 1.3 billion hours of community service each year, with a typical youth volunteering 29 hours per year.

?Oftentimes, people think of somebody wealthy like Bill Gates when they think of a philanthropist,? said Community Foundation Executive Director Jaime Toppe. ?We are teaching these youth that anyone of any age and any means can give their time, talent and treasure to make a difference in society. Youth who volunteer are more likely to do well in school, graduate, and be philanthropic so it?s important that we encourage volunteerism at a young age. Through this award, we can honor those who are going above and beyond to make our community better.?

To submit a letter of recommendation for a deserving youth, please email to info@www.scottcountyfoundation.org or mail to the Scott County Youth Grantmaking Council at PO Box 25; Scottsburg, IN 47170. Please include why you think the youth is deserving, as well as their grade in school and age. The deadline for nominations will be April 8, 2015.

The mission of the YGC is to improve the lives of children in Scott County by providing them a voice through philanthropy. About 46 youth comprise the YGC, and they learn about philanthropy through fundraising, grantmaking, community service and leadership activities.

You may call Jaime Toppe with any questions at 752-2057.