Leadership students decide which nonprofit missions address important community issues

COURTESY PHOTO - Banks High School leadership class students gathered Monday evening, May 8, to hand over money to representatives of the Forest Grove-based nonprofit Adelante Mujeres. Banks High School leadership class students gave thousands of dollars to Forest Grove's Adelante Mujeres and the Beaverton Literary Council Monday evening, May 8.

Carmax and the Trail Blazers Foundation provided the funds through Community 101 grants, a program that empowers students to give grants to local non-profits actively working to address issues in the community that students find important.

Adelenate Mujeres received $2,000 to fund their leadership summer training for incoming Latina students in their Chicas Youth Development program. The Beaverton Literacy Council received a $3,000 grant to provide adult instruction in English as a Second Language and provide a scholarship for economically disadvantaged immigrant children.

The students at Banks High School contacted local non-profits whose work "intend[s] to address the hostility that stems from sexism and racism within our community and surrounding areas by supporting organizations that combat these issues through education, outreach, and activism."

As a group, the students reviewed nonprofit grant applications and interviewed local nonprofit leaders to determine recipients.

Marissa Dotson, a 16-year-old sophomore, was moved by the community impact Adelante Mujeres is making.

"What impressed me was how quickly their program was spreading," Dotson said. "It wasn't just staying in Forest Grove — they were reaching out to schools so quickly, and so many of the girls who went through the program have been coming back."

The students drafted their mission statement in part as a response not only to tensions they saw in their community, but in the country as a whole.

"It was a topic we had never really addressed during our past involvement with Community 101," said 18-year-old senior Lucy Plews, who led the group of students through the process. "Living in a more remote community, you get stuck in traditions and how things have always been, and certain things that aren't as acceptable today in a more urban society are still acceptable here."

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