What is YEP?
The Youth Empowerment Project of the Ozarks is a youth oriented and directed project of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the Rural Schools Partnership.
The mission of the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) is to empower youth to positively impact their community. This is accomplished through education, service, fundraising, and grantmaking. The Community Foundation of the Ozarks assists a network of Youth Empowerment Project chapters throughout the Missouri Ozarks.
The goal of the Youth Empowerment Project is to develop young philanthropists in the rural Ozarks. By teaching students the impact of community involvement for the greater good, we share a lesson that can be used in each student’s life.
There are several aspects of Youth Empowerment Projects, however the most involved element is to provide financial support for youth driven and youth oriented projects in each community. YEP students work together as young philanthropists to have a local, positive impact upon their community.
The YEP concept is based in the four tenets of education, service, fundraising, and grantmaking.
The Four Tenets of YEP
The Youth Empowerment Project is based on four tenets of community involvement. YEP chapters strive for excellence in YEP education, service, fundraising, and grantmaking.
YEP students educate the youth in their community about the importance of local, purposeful philanthropic involvement. YEP students involve themselves in their local communities in order to share the importance of youth involvement. YEP students enjoy serving on local committees and boards as active community members and philanthropists. YEP students work to become exemplary young citizens in their community.
YEP allows young people to fulfill a civic duty to their local community. The act of volunteerism in order to benefit our local citizens is a meaningful way to allow young people to witness the impact of service.
The youth of our communities bring with them a unique perspective about the needs of each place, and service to community allows YEP students to fulfill needs that are not currently being met in their hometown.
The Youth Empowerment Project fundraising concept is unique and meaningful. Students raise funds and then grant those funds in youth-oriented grantmaking rounds. This allows our local youth the opportunity to raise funds which do not directly benefit themselves and instead fills a local need for youth. Youth Empowerment Projects raise funds through a number of unique fundraisers as well as through CFO’s annual Give Ozarks Day.
YEP chapters are encouraged to provide small, youth-oriented grants to projects in the school or community. This process allows students make difficult grantmaking decisions that stress fiscal responsibility, the needs of a larger community and accountability. A review process ensures students follow up to make sure grants are used as intended.