Our project is to create a non-profit 501(c)(3) youth advocacy organization that would serve to raise funds and organize the youth in our community to tackle a myriad of issues. We are just getting started and are looking for grants to help us get off the ground.
Our Mission Statement:
The Pike County Youth Coalition (PCYC) is an organization of young citizens concerned about the decisions being made in our community, from our school district to our congressional district. As the youngest generation of students, workers, and voters, we will serve to ensure today's decisions will be right for tomorrow. The PCYC will represent the interests of the youth - promoting civic engagement, community stewardship, environmental sustainability, economic and social opportunities, and, among our elected officials, encourage responsible, long-term decision making and policies.
The young population, hereby defined as those of 24 years of age or younger, constitute one third of the total population in Pike County. Despite this, the youth demographic is widely unrepresented and subsequently overlooked in local, state, and federal government; this is only compounded by relatively low voter turnout among the enfranchised portion of this population. The Pike County Youth Coalition will be established to organize the youth in Pike County for several purposes, among them to lobby for youth interests, serve as a liaison and advisory organization for the youth community to local government, promote civic engagement, and facilitate community stewardship.
At the current time, there are many relevant issues that directly affect young citizens in Pike County – from the possible construction of a central library to the lack of economic and social opportunities. There are also indirect issues that will greatly affect this generation down road, such as environmental sustainability and the absence of information about local candidates seeking office who will become today’s policy makers. Still, there are issues that pertain to this demographic in a way that hold the potential to strengthen tomorrow’s communities, including increased civic participation and community service. The PCYC aims to address all three main areas through advocacy, outreach, and action.
We project a budget of $2,600 in the first year, which will grow much larger in years to come. Some of the immediate expenses are non-profit filing, web design, outreach/publicity. The larger portion of this $2,600 will be spent on events, grants, scholarships, advertising, and other related expenses associated with the day-to-day operation of the organization. The non-profit will be run by a board of 9 young citizens age 18-24 who have a primary residence in Pike County. We aim to work with other local youth groups to accomplish our initiatives. We project a membership of 75-100 dues-paying members. Our first meeting to discuss the establishment of this group will be on December 21, 2007. There is a core group of 25 young people involved with this organization's creation, each have contributed $25 as "founding members" brining our base funds to $625. We plan that our first official meeting with an elected board will take place sometime in June of 2008.
Our first initiative, where we will allocate the possible money from this grant, will be about voting. We plan on creating a Web-site called Pikevotesmart.org which will be a hub for information about all candidates who will appear on the ballot in any given election. Right now, there is no such resource for people, young or old, to use in order to find out who is running and read about them, especially very local positions like school board and town supervisor. Part of this initiative will also be reaching out to the local high schools in a massive voter registration campaign as well as lessons/assemblies on the importance of civic engagement. Lastly, our organization will be sponsoring "Meet the Candidates" events specifically designed for young people to talk about youth issues that are too often overlooked in government. This will all take aim at the 2008 November elections.