High school students participated in a sixteen-week course that was integrated into their history and civics classes by Allow Good, an Evanston-based nonprofit that empowers youth to take meaningful action in their communities. Partnering with Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and Loyola University Chicago to deliver the curriculum, Allow Good staff trains college student facilitators who are then paired with a public high school classroom where they teach each week.
Throughout the semester, high school students worked towards their ultimate goal of donating $1,000 per class to local nonprofit organizations. The students explored their social identities in the context of the history and social challenges of their communities. They then researched and interacted with local community organizations and conducted their own grant-making process. The program culminates in a grant ceremony held at each high school where the students award the nonprofit of their choice with a $1,000 grant. This semester the program reached over 400 students across five public high schools in seventeen classrooms.
The students awarded grants to a wide variety of nonprofits and causes:
- King College Prep (Chicago) students chose the IMPACT Family Center (youth and family self-sufficiency).
- Hyde Park Academy (Chicago) students chose: the Center for Enriched Learning (putting people with developmental disabilities to work); CoderSpace (youth coding training); Girl Forward (opportunity for refugee girls); and the South Side Help Center (strengthening South Side communities).
- Niles North High School (Skokie) students chose: Best Buddies (ending isolation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities); The Douglas Center (a ray of light for individuals with special needs); The Harbour (shelter and transitional housing for youth); Hatzalah Chicago (emergency medical responders); the Response Center for Sexual Health (teen sexual health services); and The Talking Farm (urban farming).
- Senn High School (Chicago) students chose: Alternatives, Inc. (supporting youth experiencing homelessness); Centro Romero (immigrant and refugee self-sufficiency); Inspiration Corporation (a catalyst for self-reliance); the Iraqi Mutual Aid Society (well-being and self-sufficiency of Iraqi/Middle East refugees); the Lakeview Pantry (local food pantry).
- Evanston high school students involved with Y.O.U. (Youth & Opportunity United) chose Jumpstart (developing critical kindergarten readiness skills).
Allow Good’s goal is to empower youth to take independent action in their communities and build the capacity of their communities throughout their lives. Mark Collins, Director of the Niles Food Pantry (a grant recipient in 2016) observed that, “I can sense that a certain awareness has been instilled within the young participants...not only of themselves, but of their place as members of our community as a whole. It is encouraging to see that students are not only learning about the big picture of what philanthropy means, but are truly processing what they have learned in order to formulate plans of action.”
For more information on how to start a collegiate chapter or bring Allow Good to your high school contact Karin Scott, Program Director at Allow Good, or visit www.allowgood.org.
Allow Good empowers youth through the tools of philanthropy to take meaningful action in their world. We envision a world with engaged youth, inclusive participation, and vibrant communities. We inspire youth to become actively engaged in addressing social challenges throughout their lives. For more information on Allow Good, visit www.allowgood.org.