Last fall, the Northern New York Community Foundation continued a wonderful program to encourage young people to become more engaged in the neighborhoods in which they live.

For the fourth time, the NNYCF kicked off its Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge to seventh- and eighth-graders in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. This allows students to compete for the chance to present a check to a designated charity.

Students were asked to complete an application in essay form. Twenty winners would be chosen from the seventh- and eighth-graders participated. They’ll each give a check for $500 to a charity of their choice.

On Thursday, the NNYCF announced that the winners of the Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge had been selected. According to a news release, the program committee received and reviewed 144 entries from students who recommended 79 different organizations.

The following students designated $500 each to specific organizations:

Jefferson County

n Caleb Hale from Case Middle School chose Disabled Persons Action Organization in Watertown

n Riley Burns from Case Middle School chose Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library in Watertown

n Destiny Gist from General Brown Central School in Brownville chose Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways in Watertown

n Anna Huizenga from Thousand Islands Middle School chose Hawn Memorial Library in Clayton

n River Costello from Alexandria Central School chose Hearts For Youth in Alexandria Bay

n Koel Everard from Carthage Central School chose Hospice of Jefferson County in Watertown

n Luke Charlton from Case Middle School chose JRC Foundation, Watertown in Watertown

n Michael Lumbis from Case Middle School chose Neighbors of Watertown

n Toryann McKinney from Case Middle School chose North Country Family Health Center

n Trey Ledoux from Immaculate Heart Central School chose Power Play Sports Foundation

n Londynn Lawhon from Thousand Islands Middle School in Clayton chose River Hospital in Alexandria Bay

n Alexsandra Blevins from South Jefferson Central School chose South Jeff Backpack Program in Adams

n Delaney Anderson from Carthage Central School chose Stage Notes in Watertown

n Grayson Feisthamel from Case Middle School chose Watertown Urban Mission in Watertown

n Jack Adams from Case Middle School chose SPCA of Jefferson County in Watertown

Lewis County

n Lillian Exford from Lowville Academy & Central School chose Hand-in-Hand Early Childhood Center in Lowville

n Chase Nakano from Lowville Academy and Central School chose Salvation Army Watertown Corps

St. Lawrence County

n Olivia White from Canton Central School chose Canton-Potsdam Hospital Foundation in Canton

n Vivian Coburn from Canton Central School chose Help Sami Kick Cancer Foundation in Canton

n Jazmine Carpenter from Morristown Central School chose Renewal House for Victims of Family Violence in Canton.

This program accomplishes two worthy goals.

The first one, frankly, is very easy for us to get behind. As a newspaper, we absolutely applaud any effort to promote projects entailing well-crafted writing among young people! Being able to choose just the right words to communicate effectively is an essential skill, and we commend the NNYCF for making this a part of the Community Spirit Youth Giving Challenge.

Secondly, this program entices students to consider what issues confront their communities and which organizations are addressing these needs. In so doing, it compels them to recognize the good work being done by specific groups.

We congratulate the students whose essays were selected. We also commend the NNYCF for offering this a terrific program that engages young people and benefits community organizations serving people in the north country. This is a winning formula, and we hope this tradition continues for years to come.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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