Last updated: July 18. 2013 11:29PM - 571 Views
Cris Ritchie

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HAZARD – A local youth-oriented philanthropy group this week awarded its very first grant.

Members of the Youth Leadership and Philanthropy Initiative (YLPI) of Perry County presented the $500 mini-grant to a local Boy Scouts troop. The money will be used to help fund the scouts’ competition at a robotic Lego challenge scheduled for Hazard this coming fall.

YLPI President Adam Abbott, who earlier this month graduated from Hazard High School, said the group has been able to raise money through various individual donations and the annual Run for the Hills Charity Challenge, a fundraising program started by the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky two years ago.

The YLPI in Perry County is the first of its kind in the state, and Abbott said he hopes this is an initiative that will ultimately grow beyond the county and include other regions to help build more support for Kentucky’s youth.

“We want to get people all over the state starting these groups and involving kids,” he said. “We want to look back and say that we have made an impact in our own communities.”

It is important to show young people that their home communities need them and they have role to fill here, added Robin Gabbard, the associate executive director for the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky and the adult mentor for the YLPI, and this program has that potential.

“The biggest impact is teaching our youth here in Perry County, as well as across the state, that there is a place for them in their home community,” she said.

This first grant will help the scouts fund their project in any way they need, Abbott explained, but it will also help the YLPI continue its mission to give area youth more local opportunities. Including this first mini-grant, the group will award a total of $2,000 in its first wave of funding, though members hope to eventually increase the size of the grants, as well as begin to offer scholarship to YLPI members.

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