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Young Philanthropists Rise to Video Challenge

Teenagers often get a bad rap. If it’s not their messy rooms, it’s their reckless driving, or excessive cell phone habits. But some teenagers in the Ozarks have something else on the agenda: philanthropy. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann reports.

The Youth Empowerment Project of the Ozarks, or YEP, is a program that allows kids to get involved in volunteering, fundraising, and grant making for projects in their communities. These proactive teens were put to the challenge to compete for $2,500, by creating a 60 second video describing what YEP means to them. Ozark High School’s YEP group was this year’s winner with their video “Someday We’ll All Be Philanthropists.”

Paige Hemphill is one of the co-presidents for the Ozark High School YEP program, which was honored with that special grand prize. She says that this endowment will really help with what her group can do within the community.

"Every year we have our annual talent show, which raises all of the money we give out as grants [in the community]. Having this [prize] money added to our endowment fund will increase the money we can then give out during the talent show." said Hemphill.

This group of high school students consists of about 40 to 50 kids, ranging from sophomores to seniors. They say that they put forth a lot of hard work and extra time, and are really excited that it paid off. Megan Gunnels is the other co-president of YEP.

"Today was great! I was really excited that we won. We spent a lot of work on the 60 Second Challenge. We get out [of school] early on Fridays, and we spent that hour every week to work on the project. Also myself and another kid, who could not be here today, worked on it during 5th block every other day. It took about a month, and it was a lot of work, but it paid off. And now we get to use that money next year to give back to the community." said Gunnels.

Overall there were several schools that participated in this event through the Rural Schools Partnership, sponsored by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Many excellent video submissions were submitted from teenagers all around the Missouri Ozarks. Click here to find a link to more information about YEP, as well as the winning video. For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann