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Investing in Our Next Generation

The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) celebrated the successful completion of its sixth year of its Civic Leaders Fellowship Program.  A celebratory gathering was held at the Foundation’s office – Vasan Center for Philanthropy – with members of the community, PACF Board of Directors, Civic Leader Hosts, Civic Leaders, and program funders in attendance.

This summer, twenty-five students were placed with host employers throughout the PACF service region to gain meaningful work experience in their respective fields.  During the seven week Program, first-year Civic Leaders spent their Mondays engaging with one another, learning about the community’s needs and issues, and exploring personal and professional development opportunities.  Second-year Civic Leaders used their Mondays to further their leadership studies, visiting area nonprofit organizations and assessing community needs, and learning about community grantmaking.  Third year students participated in shadowing activities and developed networking skills in preparation for work following graduation.

Katie Hoover, a recent West Liberty University graduate from Mineral Wells, received her bachelor's degree in human biology and plans to attend optometry school.

“I participated in this Program to gain experience in my field of interest and to learn more about what my community has to offer,” said Hoover.  “This Program introduced me to the different opportunities this area can offer for a young person, the nonprofits that serve our community, and how civic engagement can lead to a better community.  I also learned more about the optometry field and how an optometry office operates with my placement at Vision Care Associates.” 

During the reception, a few participants in the Program spoke regarding their experiences.  First-year Civic Leader, Emily Athey, shared about her experiences with Mountain River Physical Therapy.  Jacob Daley discussed his second year with Program and his placement with Wood County Schools.  Tiffany Harvey, who was placed with the Wood County Extension Office, spoke on behalf of the third year class. 

The seven second year Civic Leaders visited many different area nonprofit organizations over the course of the summer evaluating where to award $5,000 in grant funds.  After much deliberation, the second year Civic Leaders announced that they are awarding a $5,000 grant to Calhoun County Family Resource Network to purchase outdoor playground equipment, picnic tables, toys, a greenhouse, and other supplies for their new Family Education Center.  The new center will offer child care for children ages 0-5, before and after school care, and family programming.

“The Civic Leaders Fellowship Program is the Foundation’s deliberate effort to address our community’s out-migration of educated young people,” said Judy Sjostedt, the PACF’s Executive Director.  “This is a highly collaborative effort involving many different funders, private individuals, and business leaders who recognize the importance of investing in our region’s next generation.  We have had some great success stories from this Program over the past six years and I know this year’s graduates will go on to do great things in our area”.

Students completed the summer inspired to contribute to their communities and more knowledgeable about their fields of interest.  Those wishing to learn more about this Program are to call the Foundation at 304.428.4438 or email info@pacfwv.com.




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