SCCF’s youth philanthropy group, FIST, wrapped up their January 2020 meeting to the sound of cheers from 5th-grade students learning about philanthropy. FIST (Forever Improving Steuben County Together) is a group of 8th-12th grade students from Hamilton, Angola, and Fremont schools. They meet monthly to organize service projects. They also provide grant funding to inspire the youth of Steuben County to give their time, talent, and treasure back to the community.
FIST focused on a new initiative to teach younger students throughout the county about philanthropy. They also had grant dollars attached to the learning process. From September through January, FIST visited 5th-grade students at the six schools in Fremont, Angola, and Hamilton. They talked to the students about nonprofits and ways they could help their community. This was part of a program they call FLIP, which stands for Future Leaders in Philanthropy. FIST members then provided a $250 grant that the students could direct to a nonprofit of their choice. Students also brainstormed ways they could make a difference without grant money, such as shoveling sidewalks in winter and helping a neighbor take out the trash. In return for their hard work to understand philanthropy, each school’s 5th-grade class received a $250 grant to use for field trips, projects, or other needs. In total, FIST was able to share the fundamentals of philanthropy with almost 240 5th grade students in Steuben County.
Morgan Stuckey is a sophomore from Hamilton and serves as the FIST PR Officer. She shared, “I like FLIP because it teaches the kids what it’s like to make an impact in the community. That is the goal that we want to achieve.”
The nonprofits chosen throughout the year to receive these grants include:
- Steuben County Cancer Association
- Turning Point Homeless Shelter
- Camp Watcha-Wanna-Do
- Cahoots Coffee Café
- Angola Kids League
- Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana.
FIST thanked the middle and elementary schools for accommodating the FLIP program. Additionally, they thanked the SCCF board for their investment in FIST. They also thanked the administration and teachers from Hamilton, MSD of Steuben County, and Fremont who support FIST.