Young Philanthropists: The Club No One Knew About

Story by Julia Hurlburt

For sophomore Kelly Burnett, the daily dose of school activities and personal duties were not enough. She wanted to make a difference.

“I felt I should be more involved in my community,” Burnett said. “I wanted it to be fun and to be able to do it with my friends.”

This led to the creation of the Young Philanthropists group.The group meets once a month, where each member donates $10 earned.

“I usually just babysit, wash the cars, or walk the dogs around the neighborhood,” sophomore Madeleine Russell said.

From there, they take the collective money and give it to a charity chosen and voted for by secret ballot. The amount that they donate each month varies between $180 and $300. Some of the charities they have given to include: Toys for Tots, Harvest Texarkana, CASA, Pennies for Patients and Opportunities. In addition, at the end of the year they give a 500 scholarship from the money raised over two months to a high school senior that applied from either T-High or Pleasant Grove.

“Elizabeth Stark and I were the ones to win the case for the last two years,” Russell said. “We go over all the facts and then sum up why that person should get the scholarship in a two minute speech.”

The club has been going for almost two years now, starting in 2008. This is why the group consists of sophomores and freshmen. Currently the group has 35 members. However, not everyone can get in; prospective members have to be chosen by the original charter members and voted in by secret ballot. Some of the original charter members are Anne Marie Hilborn, Mary Claire Boudreaux, Haley Rushing, Meagan Hunt, Riden Reiter, Alli Clayton, Melissa Minter, Wynne Tidwell, Macy Shirley, and Riley Rogers.
Being in the group affects it’s members by giving them on-hand experiences that they have not had the chance or resources to do before. It also benefits them by looking good on resumes and college applications. The main affect, however, is realizing the need there is in their hometown.

“[It] has really opened my eyes to all of the organizations in Texarkana,” sophomore Claire Norton said. “I didn’t realize how much local charities needed help.”