A group of leadership students provided local organizations grant money to help those in need.

Aspiring leaders at Banks High School are learning not only the importance of community give-back, but also the logistical side of being able to help others.

COURTESY PHOTO: JACOB PENCE, BANKS PRINCIPAL - Students from Banks High School's Community-101 program presented the grant money to representatives from MV Advancements and the Wheel to Walk Foundation.In the high school's leadership class, a program called Community 101, or C-101, allows students to work together to provide grants to nonprofits of their choosing, learning the process over the course of the school year.

"It educates students on business and grant-making and communication," said junior and C-101 student Gracie Nelson. "What we do is we donate money to (nonprofit) organizations, and these organizations typically better our community."

With funding from different sponsors each year — this year, the PGE Foundation — the C-101 students are able to grant $5,000 to one or more organizations that match the goals of the mission statement written by the students at the beginning of the school year, Nelson said.

Last year, the mission statement was "to serve the underserved," and the Banks group chose to grant the money to Adelante Mujeres, a nonprofit organization based in Forest Grove that focuses on educating and empowering low-income Latinas and their families.

This year, the mission statement is to "equip the differently-abled members of our community with essential life-skills through education and enrichment so that they may lead fulfilling lives."

The C-101 students chose MV Advancements and the Wheel to Walk Foundation, two nonprofits that work to better the lives of those with disabilities, Nelson said.

"I think we perfectly chose the organizations that best reflected our mission statement," Nelson said. "We wanted to include a wide range of community members who need extra assistance. And I noticed that we chose organizations that served a wide range of people. Wheel to Walk, they serve children, and then MV Advancements, they work with adults, so I'm proud to have funded organizations that will be helping multiple generations."

On Monday, May 14, during the Banks School District's board meeting, the C-101 students presented the grants to the two organizations: $1,500 to MV Advancements and $3,500 to the Wheel to Walk Foundation.

By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
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