Murray State University, through the Pay It Forward grant program, announced its Fall 2011 student-selected grant awards to local nonprofits. Students enrolled in YNL 351: Leadership and Support Systems in Youth and Human Services Organizations were charged with awarding a total of $2,000 to nonprofits that demonstrate innovation in volunteer leadership development. Over the course of the semester students worked on various nonprofit projects in the region, and through a peer-reviewed grant-making process, selected proposals for funding from the organizations represented in the projects.

Three agencies in the region received this funding. The Salvation Army of Hopkinsville was awarded $1,000 for a “Teen Angel” program developed by MSU student Felicia Shelton to provide holiday gifts for teenagers of needy families in Christian County.

The Kentucky State Police Association was awarded $500 to support two child-focused initiatives — “Shop with a Cop” clothing drive for needy children and “Trooper Island” camp for at-risk youth. This project was submitted by MSU student Ronald Cobb.

Additionally, Celebrate Recovery, a faith-based prison recovery ministry serving Lyon, Caldwell, Livingston and Trigg counties, was awarded $500 to support its mission. This project was organized by MSU student Tina Cochrum.

The Pay It Forward program, administered by the Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky Campus Compacts, addresses critical needs in communities through student-led grant making and volunteerism. Kentucky Campus Compact is a coalition of 21 Kentucky colleges including Murray State University. It was established in 2005 to increase campus-wide participation in public and community service and to integrate service learning as a valued element of undergraduate education. Student philanthropy allows college students who are enrolled in an academic course to award charitable dollars to worthy organizations with strong proposals that address immediate economic needs. A type of service learning, student philanthropy is becoming more popular with both faculty and students across the United States.

“Student philanthropy is a dynamic way for faculty to teach and students to learn, while also benefitting the community,” said Gina Winchester, executive director of the MSU office of regional outreach. “When students have to make tough decisions about which organizations receive funding, they develop important skills such as critical thinking, analysis, research, interviewing, and persuasive writing and speaking. They are learning lifelong skills in a real-world setting.”

 

Picture: Murray State University, through the Pay It Forward grant program, awarded a total of $2,000 to nonprofits that demonstrate innovation in volunteer leadership development. MSU students worked on various nonprofit projects in the region and selected proposals for funding. One of the agencies receiving the funds was the Salvation Army of Hopkinsville, which was awarded $1,000 for a “Teen Angel” program developed by MSU student Felicia Shelton to provide holiday gifts for teenagers of needy families in Christian County. Shown (from left) are Slone Cansler, director of Murray State’s Hopkinsville Regional Campus; Shelton; and Alisa Barton, representing the Salvation Army.

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