New United Way of Hastings Junior Board run by HHS students
The United Way of Hastings - Junior Board members, made up of high school students, were out and about Sunday, Oct. 26, giving back to the community by raking leaves for people in Hastings.
Nine students raked for four hours. In that time, they helped at six homes and bagged more than 80 bags of leaves. Among the homes was that of Evonne Pollard, the wife of the late Andrew Pollard. The Junior Board stopped there to help the Pollards in their loss.
The students worked under the direction of Tiffany Peine, Joy Johnson and Wade Beyer, all of whom serve on the United Way of Hastings Board of Directors.
The Junior Board is a new addition to the UWH. Just launched in August, it’s a first step in the UWH’s new three-year focus on youth. The focus is a result of a community poll that showed 90 to 95 percent of respondents thought the number one issue in Hastings has to do with youth in some way or another.
“We wanted to get them involved, give them leadership and mentoring abilities and spread the word about what we do,” Beyer said, “and then also get their perspective, see what the kids need so we can better serve them in the community.”
Youth at the high school were invited to apply for a spot on the Junior Board, and there are now about half a dozen regular members and about 15 others who have helped out at events.
“These kids, they just want to give back to the community,” Peine said.
The Junior Board runs parallel to the UWH board, Beyer said. The youth get to make their own decisions on fundraisers, marketing events and other activities.
“They’re focusing on getting money for scholarships over the next few years,” Beyer said.
He added that the youth also are driven to serve people in the community.
So far, the students have operated a photo booth at the high school during homecoming to raise awareness of what they’re doing. From that event, there were more than 40 freshman students who expressed some sort of interest in getting involved, Peine said.
Students on the Junior Board have also met with high school administrators to talk to them about what the United Way of Hastings is doing, they’ve done radio spots and are hoping to spread more information through Hastings Community TV, Beyer said. The leaf raking service was the group’s most recent activity, done as a way to give back to UWH donors and people in need. All of it was thought up by the students.
“Hopefully it’ll continue to grow and be one of the leading scholarship programs,” he said, “and hopefully it will help us solve many of the issues we have with youth in the community.”
So far, the students seem to be on their way to making that goal a reality.
“The first group we got has really taken the ball and run with it,” Beyer said. “Frankly, I’m impressed with what they’ve done already. It’s fun to watch.”
For more about the Junior Board, go to www.unitedwayofhastings.org/jrboardofdirectors.html.