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Seniors grateful to make impact on community

Seniors Clayton Furnish and Katie Huff enjoyed making an impact on the communities in which they live by serving on the Youth Philanthropy Council, a project of the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana to develop philanthropy and service among young people. Katie has served throughout much of her high school years, and Clayton has served the last two years. Both said they liked knowing their time on the council will have a lasting impact in the community.

“It’s definitely special, especially working with other people your own age to make the community better,” Clayton said.

Katie agreed.

“Just knowing that we’re helping people and it’s a whole group of people wanting to serve the community and we all have the same goal in mind,” she said.

One of the council’s purposes is to recommend grant applications for approval by the foundation. Knowing that their efforts helped schools, organizations, and others to help the community through various events and projects was special to them, Clayton and Katie said.

“Getting to enact change rather than just wish it (was one of his favorite parts of being on the council),” Clayton said.

Clayton and Katie each got involved in the council at the recommendations of their siblings. Clayton’s brother, Ethan ’18, and Katie’s sister, Abby ’17, were involved during their high school years.

Being on the council this school year was a different experience because their meetings were virtual, making it more challenging to collaborate because “it’s easier to get the vibe of where everyone is at (in person),” Clayton said.

Still, the council continued to have an impact. Each member found different ways to collect coats for the council’s annual coat drive, for example. Clayton set up donation boxes in his family’s laundry mats, and Katie gathered items from her home and her aunt’s house.

The next challenge is recruiting new members, especially since no new members were added this school year and most of the council will be graduating high school. Clayton and Katie give the same pitch they received from their siblings – that being on the council is a fun, easy way to have an impact on others without a significant time commitment.

“It’s been a pleasure being on the council the last two years,” Clayton said. “I’ve met new people, watched people grow in their own way, and seen other people love their community like I do.”

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