Youth Leadership Academy Alumni Launch “Aid in April”
Teen Angels in Action
(Prescott, AZ – March 29, 2021). Each year, a group of Prescott Area Leadership (PAL) youth program alumni help mentor the next generation of servant leaders at an annual skills building academy.
This year, the pandemic changed it all. “Our 2021 winter leadership academy was paused out of an abundance of caution for participants and staff,” said Ashton Burch, youth leadership academy alumni and PAL Board member. “It was disappointing, but our youth alumni planning team didn’t want to stop there. As young servant leaders in these extraordinary times, we agreed that we needed to step up for our community.”
Burch pitched the PAL Board on redirecting funding for the 2021 youth academy to supporting local non-profits in a community service drive dubbed “Aid in April.” The Board enthusiastically gave the project a green light.
According to Burch, the youth committee then turned to the best source in town to help navigate the non-profit world—storied community advocate and organizer, Gerry Garvey. “Gerry stepped right up to help us. We knew she had experience with organizations like the Center for Compassion and Justice, Institute for Sustainable Social Change at Prescott College, and others, so she understood where the needs were.”
With Garvey’s help, the team created a calendar of events which will begin with supporting safe shelter and transitional housing for homeless individuals and families in crises like Stepping Stones, Agape House, and Prescott Area Shelter Services.
“Each of the agencies serve young children and we were excited to assemble easter baskets and provide holiday treats for them,” added Burch. “Bringing joy to kids was something we all got behind.”
In addition, alumni Nicholas Reyes of BASIS, is stepping up to spearhead a month-long clothing and diaper drive for the Crises Pregnancy Center (CPC). “The staff at the CPC provide practical help and emotional support for young mothers and they communicated to us that the things they need most are diapers and clothing,” explained Reyes.
Reyes said donations can be made to: The Community Pregnancy Center main building, 1124 E Gurley St, Prescott, AZ 86301. The facility will be open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday from 10AM to 4PM and Tuesday 10am to 7pm and Friday 10pm to 1pm. “All donations up to children’s size 6 will be accepted,” added Reyes. “However, the Community Pregnancy Center is most in need of newborn diapers size 5 and 6 as well as boys clothing for ages 18 months and 3 years old.”
Ariella Traub, also a BASIS student, created a partnership with Prescott Creeks and has recruited a group of youth leadership academy alumni and others to participate in the annual Granite Creek Clean-up. “What really resonated for us was that Prescott Creeks is committed to a COVID-Safe cleanup event and it was right in line with our goal of coming together for a common cause.”
Team member Ellie Cartier targeted food insecurity in the quad-cities as a worthy cause, and will head a volunteer team that plans to weigh and sort food prior to distribution for Yavapai Food Neighbors.
Social media specialist Alexandra Monksfield said she hopes the community will recognize local businesses that helped fund Aid in April: Adventure Auto Glass, BASIS Prescott, Prescott Area Leadership, Tri-City Prep and Touchmark—as well as the Youth Leadership Academy alumni members responsible for Aid in April: Ashton Burch, Ellie Cartier, Madison Jackson, Erin Kennedy, Nicholas Reyes, and Ariella Traub.
“You can follow our Instagram @youth_leadership_academy and see future updates and ways to get involved” added Monksfield.
“It’s indescribably gratifying to see our youth alumni grow from high school students to community activists to servant leaders,” said Prescott Area Youth Leadership Academy spokesman, Kim Kapin. “It’s dream come true for all of us at Prescott Area Leadership to watch our support for the youth leadership program yield individuals of such high character and compassion. We couldn’t be prouder of the people they’ve become.”
About the Prescott Area Youth Leadership Academy
The Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) is sponsored by Prescott Area Leadership (PAL), created 30 years ago by renowned educator and executive leadership expert, Dr. Ron Barnes.
The mission of YLA is to begin training our future leaders of tomorrow, today. The program has been designed for high school students with a strong desire to improve their personal character and leadership skills — and are committed to active involvement in shaping the quality of life and future of their community. PAL makes this program available at no-cost to participants and their families.
Contact: Kim Kapin – Prescott Area Leadership, [email protected]