Dec. 4 , 2006

Making a difference: new youth group works to build Delano

By Kelsey Linden
Staff Writer

Saving the community one step at a time, newly-established YAR (Youth as Resources) works to fund and restore Delano’s community.

After being approached to lead the organization early this fall, Nathan Kennedy introduced the program to the student body at Delano High School. The work has only just begun.

YAR different than YAC

Not to be confused with YAC (Youth Advisory Council) YAR receives funding. YAR was given an available grant of $10,000 from The Initiative Foundation, and YAR works much like a scholarship program, where people can apply for grants, but it also promotes leadership and community growth. The grants generally ranges from $100-$1,000.

Junior, Leah Nygard nodded as she said, “we get a lot more done. There is more of a purpose for YAR.”

Samantha Drusch agreed, and added, “I think we can make a bigger difference with this.”

Currently, YAR students are working to develop a presentation about their sponsorship program to introduce to businesses within the Delano community.

YAR will only allow 20 people to join. To become a part of the program, adults and students must fill out an application.

A program for adults, too

Even though this is a youth-oriented establishment, adults are encouraged to participate. Kennedy hopes that the program will attract all types of people.

Currently, participating adults consist of Leo Bauman, Kris Larson, Sam Nelson, and Alex Roster.

Student participation is key. YAR must have 51 percent student participants. The program is designed to promote leadership.

When asked what he looked for in YAR students, Kennedy responded, “Solid leadership skills are nice, but we also want to seek out those who typically would not see themselves as leaders.”

Kennedy believes YAR is a way for students to enrich their unknown leadership skills.

Currently, YAR consists of mostly juniors, but the students currently involved hope to build the program and pass it on to younger grades.

Anne Stafford describes YAR, as “A team that’s promoting the community to establish groups so that they help people.”

Nygard said, “Right now, we’re really young. We’re starting to learn how to work together.”

As a group, the students and adults listen to an applicant’s presentation, vote, and decide whether a grant should be given. When voting, there has to majority of two-thirds in order for it to pass. Excluding Kennedy, all are required to vote.

Also DHS student, Laura Kant, insisted, “We all have to be on the same page. The majority has to agree. It’s more community than school.”

YAR meets every other Monday to organize and discuss new projects.

A different person is selected to direct and lead the meetings. He or she must connect with Kennedy and organize the meeting. At the meetings, the students go over what they have accomplished and what they hope to achieve.

Future projects include: putting together a youth center. YAR students discussed Delano’s need for a social, but safe gathering.

As a group, they feel that students would be less prone to get in trouble if students had a “safe place” to go after school functions.

They also hope to begin cleaning up the community, even if it means starting with the trash outside.

Why should people join YAR?

Winterhalter emphasized, “I joined because I wanted to be a part of a group, and I wanted to make a difference.“

Kennedy believes this is a program where much growth can be attained. “It’s what a community needs.”

Kant was optimistic as she discussed her view on YAR, “it’s really fun and it’s good training for future business.” She also hopes to “learn new things” and feels that this is a great program to prepare for college.

When asked about Kennedy, she said “He wants everyone to feel welcome. He wants people to get involved.”

Mia Winterhalter, also a junior, stated, “He likes doing stuff with the youth.”

YAR is about being a part of something in which both the student and the community reap the benefits.

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