Grants for Young Leaders 2022

Great leaders and thinkers have long extolled the virtues of giving and of children’s particular knack for extending their hearts toward a cause. In May 2022, Our 2 Cents challenged kiddos in the Fairbanks area to dream up ways to materialize their compassion—and the results were astonishing in their specificity and range! Read on to meet some youngsters who are advancing some truly impressive community goals—our hope is they inspire you and yours to find ways you can also participate; however, you can!

Steven, Ivan, and Anthony’s Project

“Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero.”-Fred Rogers.

Brothers Steven, Ivan, Roo, and Anthony were all adopted out of foster care and now want to help other children by letting them know they aren’t alone. Together the brothers created comfort bags for children who are entering foster care that included blankets, stuffed toys, fidget spinners, as well as personal hygiene items. The brothers purchased high-quality backpacks to carry these items, and the bags were delivered to Alaska Center for Resource Families, Tanana Chiefs Conference, and Fairbanks Native Association. Steven, Ivan, Roo, and Anthony have hearts of gold!

Alex’s Project

“I want the world to be a fun place where everyone has food to eat, a place to sleep, and a friend!”-Alex.

Alex, 7, purchased and delivered well over 1,000 pounds of food to the Fairbanks Community Food Bank and Bread Line Inc. Alex is an energetic, hard-working, compassionate, and fun-loving kid who simply wants the best for others. “I want the world to be a fun place where everyone has food to eat, a place to sleep, and a friend!” said Alex.

Aaliyah’s Project

“We’ve seen in the news different types of discrimination against hair types, and I would love to support and inspire my peers and community to celebrate all hair types.”-Aaliyah.

Aaliyah understands the importance of haircare in the BIPOC community. Haircare has taken the spotlight with the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act of 2022 (CROWN ACT). Educating BIPOC students about proper hair care can potentially have a positive impact on academic performance, healthy relationships, mental wellness, and more. To promote hair care for all hair types, Aaliyah created hair kits for both homeschooled and district students that included hair products and supplies. Providing hair kits supports families caring for students with textured and curly hair.

Na’ni’eezh’s Project

“As a young Indigenous Woman, older sister, daughter, granddaughter, and community member, I have seen and learned that it is incredibly important to have a positive representation of yourself in every stage of life.”-Na’ni’eezh

Na’ni’eezh is Netsaii Gwich’in and Dine and wants to increase the representation of Indigenous ways and knowledge everywhere by putting books in the hands of the next generation. Her grandparents weren’t allowed to speak their language at boarding school, and parts of their culture were lost. Many Indigenous people are working to gather and rebuild their Indigenous ways, culture, language, and knowledge, and Na’ni’eezh wants to do her part! She gathered a list of 15 children’s books by or for Indigenous Peoples’ and purchased multiple copies for a giveaway in August.

Kinsey’s Project

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”-Oprah Winfrey

Kinsey gifted FIVE all-inclusive party packages to families and teens in Fairbanks. Two Fairbanks Children’s Museum parties went to the Interior Alaska Center For Non-Violent Living, one Fly Trampoline Park Fairbanks party to teenagers at The Door, and two more FLY parties to local children! Kinsey also worked hard to design, shop for, and put together customized, themed party totes for each party. Kinsey has a huge heart and a great enthusiasm for serving your community and bringing joy to other youth.

This wraps up our second round of Grants For Young Leaders! In total, this program has raised $31,984.21 and empowered youth to give back to Interior communities in creative and impactful ways. Huge thanks to Fairbanks Wellness Coalition for supporting this round of funding with $7,500 matching funds!

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