The role of the Roscommon County Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council is to make grant recommendations based on local youth needs and priorities, using income from the Roscommon County Kellogg Youth Fund, and to develop a greater understanding of philanthropy. Membership is made up of school age youth, in grades 8-12 from Roscommon and Houghton Lake High Schools, Houghton Lake Community Education, Second Chance Academy, and Charlton Heston Academy.
The RCCF YAC has taken a new approach with their meetings for the 2015-2016 school year. They have chosen to forgo “traditional” meetings and bring real-life education to the YAC members in the form of guest speakers and grantee site visits.
January’s meeting topic was human trafficking. On January 20th, Sara Morley LaCroix was hosted by Roscommon High School to speak about the growth and danger of human trafficking. LaCroix is the founder of the Kalamazoo Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition. As well as being beyond knowledgeable on this topic, LaCroix has some very special ties to Roscommon County, and RCCF. Sara’s father, Robert Morley, was one of the founding fathers of RCCF and established the Morley Foundation Fund.
Twenty YAC members, as well as the advisors and RCCF staff, attended the presentation. Students were surprised to learn how close to home human trafficking occurs, as well as the different types of trafficking that are a problem. Alyssa Davies, a student from Charlton Heston Academy, was very grateful to have this opportunity to learn. “I am glad we had the guest speaker talk to us more in depth on human trafficking. I learned a lot of information and I want to help make a change.”
Ashley Lee, a YAC member from Houghton Lake High School, was equally grateful and eager to learn about this topic, stating, “The presentation was very eye-opening. Though I had a brief idea of what human trafficking was, I now look at human trafficking with a different perspective. I was greatly informed on what I can do if I ever suspect human trafficking, and I am glad the awareness of human trafficking is increasing.”
Each month, different topics, such as sobriety, suicide awareness, and youth philanthropy will be presented. If you are an 8th-12th grade student at any of the 5 schools listed and are interested in joining YAC, or even attending one of these meetings, you may speak with your school’s advisor or contact RCCF for more information.