Earlier this year we wanted to make sure that we celebrated our graduating senior class crew by hosting a small socially distanced graduation ceremony for them and their families. Five of them were also awarded $2,000 scholarships from our scholarship fund.

At the time, Executive Director, Paul Yandura, wrote this dedication to the students: 

“To the grads: You guys made it! It must feel good! We’re proud of your accomplishments. Graduation has always been about stepping into the unknown and opening a new door. You have many doors to choose from and the choice is yours. We always ask you to ask yourself, “how can you be of service to my community… to our community.” And how can you use your power to create positive change and fight for a more fair and just world?

I know it seems lately that we’re constantly trying to make sense of senseless things, and it can seem scary, but I want to tell you a very quick story that I heard from Mr.Rogers. He once said that when he would see scary or senseless things on the news, his mother would tell him to look for the helpers. She would say, “you always find people who are helping, and if you look for the helpers, you know there’s hope.” One thing that I wanted to ask you, one simple request, is that you don’t just look for the helpers.  I want you to BE the helpers, and I want you to HELP the helpers. There’s plenty of work to be done whether you want to be a doctor or a nurse to fight the next pandemic or find the cure for cancer, whether you want to work to end poverty or hunger. Whether you want to become an ally in the struggle to dismantle racism, whether you want to help your neighbors who are in need or organize peaceful protests for accountability and justice. BE THE HELPERS.

Our mission here is to create opportunities for youth so that together, we can leave the world a better place than we found it. So, we’ve invested in you so you can go out and do that. We’ll continue to support you, and we know that you’re going to continue to support us. Congratulations!”  

So, as we all prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving that same sentiment can be applied.  This Thanksgiving we challenge you all to not just be thankful but to do something that makes someone else feel thankful.

Chelsea Harper

Chelsea Harper

Program Manager

My name is Chelsea, I’m the Generation WV Fellow here! In my spare time, you can find me hanging out with my 100-pound dog, Olive, or reading the latest mystery novel.