The Huntington Foundation decided to create a youth board last year in an effort to obtain the perspective of students, believing the district’s teenagers could offer valuable insight into how the organization can keep making a positive difference in classrooms on every grade level.
The youth board initiative proved so successful that a second edition has been constituted and is ready to share the views of the young people the Huntington Foundation is committed to serving.
Seniors Nick Lanzisero, Kayla Ryan, Charlie Ehrman, Alexa Cassar and Katy Dara have volunteered to serve on the board of the organization that has done so much for the district since its founding 24 years ago.
Assistant Principals Gamal Smith and Joe DiTroia
at last year's gala. (Cliff Weissman photo.)
“The youth board has been such an asset to the Foundation on so many levels,” said Alice Marie Rorke, the Huntington Foundation’s president. “The students see things from a different perspective and their insight and vision helps us in planning and executing many different components of the foundation from the gala to the way we reach our donors and the way we look at grant applications.”
The teenagers are excited to be playing a role in the organization. “My mom has been on the HFEE board for a few years now so I have always been very familiar with the Foundation,” Ms. Ryan said. “When Mrs. Rorke approached me and asked me to be on the youth board the answer was an absolute no brainer. I love being involved as much as possible and think it’s awesome that I am able to serve on this board as a student. My favorite part of HFEE is that I get to help all the schools and not just focus on one.”
The Huntington Foundation has spent more than two decades raising funds and giving it all away through two grant programs that encourage innovative classroom practices. Enthusiastic parent volunteers who have committed countless hours of their time have made the Huntington Foundation for Excellence in Education the envy of many other districts.
“Serving on the HFEE youth board has been a wonderful opportunity,” said Mr. Ehrman, who is in his second year with the group. “I have been able to work closely with the other students to help HFEE. Looking behind the scenes, I see what hard work is put into giving grants to the school. Being the video producer, I was able to create a promotional video showing what HFEE is and the great things they provide the community with.”
Senior Joe Mangan is participating in a credit bearing full-year internship with the Foundation and is expected to play an important role in the organization’s efforts throughout the 2016/17 school year.
“Having an intern who is so dedicated and excited about the mission of the Foundation is a win-win situation,” Mrs. Rorke said.
Mr. Mangan will devote three or four hours each week to the Foundation, working on various projects and learning the ins and outs of the longtime non-profit organization. Members of the youth board will spend several hours each month focusing on HFEE business and play an important role in the group’s gala scheduled for March 2 at OHEKA castle.
“I am so proud of all of the kids for stepping up and volunteering for such a worthy organization and truly enjoy watching them evolve in their individual responsibilities to ensure the success of the Foundation,” Mrs. Rorke said.