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Students learning to give back through SHOC club

John Stroud Post Independent
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” When a grant-funded program to educate high school students about philanthropy was discontinued, Allie Rippy and Rachel Sobke set out to prove they had learned something.

The Glenwood Springs High School juniors were actively involved with El Pomar Youth in Community Service (EPICS) since they were freshmen.

So, when the El Pomar Foundation ended its funding for the student-run program that awarded grants to community nonprofits, Rippy and Sobke saw a need to continue the good work locally.

They formed a new club at their school called Students Helping Our Community (SHOC). Its mission is to educate students about giving to worthy causes by actually going through the process to award grants to local nonprofit organizations.

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The students wrote a successful proposal for a $16,000 grant from the Minnesota-based Charlson Foundation to fund their efforts.

Half of that money will be used for grants to be awarded this spring, and the remainder will be held in reserve for grants next year, Rippy explained during an interview at the club’s weekly lunchtime meeting Thursday.

“The great thing about SHOC is it really does make a difference in the community,” Rippy said. “And the whole goal of the club is to make it a sustainable program after we graduate.”

The club now includes about 30 active student members. With money in hand, they narrowed the focus of the grant program to organizations dealing with youth recreation, animals and the environment.

They then advertised for grant proposals and are now busy going through about 20 different applications for grants of $500 to $2,500.

“If you’re involved in any of these programs, that’s a conflict of interest, so you aren’t allowed to vote on those,” Rippy tells the club members as they sort through the applications. The students must also determine if they are indeed nonprofit organizations and if they are based locally, two of the criteria for the grants.

“I’ve sponsored a lot of different organizations, but this is the most student-driven organization I’ve seen,” said club sponsor Hope Waibel, a GSHS English teacher. “They applied for the grant and came up with the application by themselves, and they’ll be responsible for the report to our granting organization.”

The club also includes several freshmen, which bodes well for its continuation in future years, she said.

Contact John Stroud: 384-9160

jstroud@postindependent.com


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