As a project in the Landmark Education SELP Program, Hamilton Simons-Jones took on having a fundraiser dinner for the Gulfsouth Youth Action Fund be an extraordinary event. Based in New Orleans, the GYAF is a youth-led philanthropy initiative developed to empower them to make strategic investments in their peers and their community. Hamilton’s work culminated in a dinner held this spring on May 31. Here’s a report from the event.
Youth Change Campaign Culminates with Food, Fun and Philanthropy
The atmosphere was electricâ€” akin to a modernâ€“day presidential rally. This event, however, was focused on change in the New Orleans community, not Americaâ€™s political scene. And the stars were middle and high school age youth from different cultural, religious, racial and socioâ€“economic backgrounds, not presidential hopefuls. The one commonality the national and local events shared, however, is change. The young leaders and philanthropists gathered on Saturday, May 31 at Xavier University of Louisiana for the Youth Change Campaign Awards Dinner to proclaim to all that would listen that youth can change the world.
The Gulfsouth Youth Action Fundâ€™s (GYAF) Youth Advisory Board hosted the inaugural Youth Change Campaign Awards Dinner honoring outstanding middle and high school students and featured the “Change Maker Awards,” which highlighted individual youth who have shown exemplary leadership in projects related to the recovery of this region.
The Youth Change Campaign is comprised of a Coin Collection Drive and an Awards Dinner designed to raise funds to support youthâ€“led and youthâ€“driven initiatives that demonstrate the power of youth motivated to create change in the Greater New Orleans community.
The 2008 Youth Change Campaign Coin Collection Drive kickedâ€“off March 31 and ended May 31 at the Awards Dinner.
Members of the GYAFâ€“s Youth Advisory Board added to the $10,000 in funding they have already awarded to area youthâ€“led organizationsâ€“including Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, the Warren Easton Fundamental Senior High Schoolâ€™s Interact Club and the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Associationâ€“by giving away an additional $2,500 during the event.
Kayla Allain was selected as the â€˜Change Maker of the Yearâ€™ â€“ she received $2,000 to be awarded to Kids for Community. The runner-up, Patrick Dale, received $500 to be awarded to Youth Rebuilding New Orleans
The 2009 Youth Change Campaign has already begun – Contact them at (504) 529-1922 extension 106 for more information on how to get involved, or visit the GYAC website.