Kha Le, Eric Clark, and Shelia Ward of Washington,
D.C., are involved in an anti-tobacco program
called WAY Too Cool to Smoke!
They participate in the WAY
Too Cool to Smoke! program's Youth Philanthropy
Board, which evaluates proposals and recommends
grants to organizations that benefit underserved
minorities in Washington, DC. We asked them to
tell us about the challenges and rewards of working
on this project .
Evaluating grant proposals is challenging work-"as
much reading as law school," Shelia cautions,
but the program has enhanced the youngsters' decision-making
skills. Eric explains, "The hardest part
of the project is the individual grading of the
proposals and the group voting. During the individual
grading, sometimes I am too nice or too mean.
During the group voting, we have to look at every
aspect of the proposals." Kha reports that
with practice she "learned how to cancel
out unimportant things and get to the important
things," and she realizes the importance
of "not picking any favorites right off the
Natalie, Kha, Eric, and Shelia also appreciate
their new role in their community. Eric likes
"finding out about more organizations in
the metropolitan area," and Shelia says
that the best part of her experience has been
"the idea of helping others." Natalie,
who initially found it difficult "to participate
with people [she] didn't know," says that
serving on the Youth Philanthropy Board has
taught her "people skills."
The students were unanimous in their advice
to other young people who are thinking of getting
involved in philanthropy. Kha sums it up by
saying, "I'd tell them that it'll be a
great experience and to do it."
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