August 12, 2017
Seven new members have joined the Youth Board of The Harvest Foundation with goals that include helping the community and growing their own leadership skills.
Adrian Hylton, Taylor Manns, Elli McGovern, Jarrett Pearson, Zariah Scales, Jacob Tisdale and Jeremiah Witt will fill the seats of board members whose terms expired on July 31.
The seven newcomers — two high school juniors and five sophomores — were chosen from 30 applicants for the 13-member board. A committee comprising former Youth Board chairman Paulina Vazquez, former vice chairman Cameron Brummitt and former committee chairman Phillip Williams returned to the board to interview 24 of the applicants, and their nominees were voted on by the current Youth Board members.
All board members are rising sophomores, juniors or seniors from Martinsville, Henry County or Carlisle School. Their terms expire after they graduate from high school, and the maximum term any member can serve is three years.
The student-run Youth Board, which is supported by Harvest and the Kiwanis Club, was formed in 2015 to focus on youth-related issues in the area. It can award grants, create initiatives or develop projects related to youth issues. Board members also serve as advisors to the full Harvest Foundation Board of Directors on youth and community issues.
“The Youth Board worked diligently to select its new members. This is another outstanding class that will position the organization for continued success,” said DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation.
Hylton, of Martinsville, will be a sophomore at Magna Vista High School in the fall. He has been involved in CHILL, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Beta and his church choir; been a church usher; and worked at a car wash since 2015.
Hylton, the son of Jeff Hylton and Ervette Hylton, also has participated in football and indoor and outdoor track.
The Youth Board “is the perfect opportunity for teens to make a difference and have a voice in the community. … I believe that it is very important to have input from the youth,” he wrote in an essay with his application for board membership. “Also, I have very deep roots in this area. I have a very large family, so giving back to the community is important to me. Being able to interact with fellow community members can help build character and communication skills.”
Manns, of Bassett, is a rising junior at Bassett High School and the daughter of Tierra Dillard and Eddie Dillard. Her volunteer activities from 2014 to the present include the fall sale, Youth Sunday and trash pickup with the New Hope Church of the Brethren; Roanoke Mission Center; cleaning the Fieldale Community Center; McCabe Memorial Baptist Church community meal; Community Fellowship Day of Sharing; and band concessions and Beta Club bake sales and trunk or treat at Bassett High School. She also works as a pet sitter.
Mann cited her community service and church activities to explain why she wants to serve on the Youth Board.
“I feel I can jump right in and help out with the Youth Board’s community activities, and the Youth Board will help me grow in areas such as budgeting, public speaking and social interactions,” she wrote.
McGovern, of Martinsville, is a rising junior at Martinsville High School and the daughter of Carole McGovern and Scott Youmans. Her activities have included the United Methodist Church Youth Group; PYSL and Franklin County travel soccer and MHS varsity soccer, which she also has served as team captain; Chatham highs Baptist Church Youth Group; and MHS Marching Band.
Her community service has included volunteering with Miles in Martinsville, the Black Box Theater, Martinsville Uptown’s TGIF and Chatham Heights Baptist Church’s nursing home visits and as a PYSL coach.
“As a member of the Harvest Youth Board, I would have a voice and be able to hear others as well. I would join a group of my peers that have the same goal in mind, to make Martinsville/Henry County a better place and help those who live here, particularly have a positive impact on the lives of potential future leaders, the youth of the community,” she wrote in her application.
“… I believe there’s a lot I could learn from being a member of the team,” McGovern added, citing time management, leadership and financial skills as well as funding, assisting, organizing and creating new opportunities for young students.
Pearson, of Martinsville, is a rising sophomore at Magna Vista High School and the son of Tammy Pearson and Will Pearson. He has been active in Boy Scout Troop 326, Boy Scout Order of the Arrow and Leadership Council; Magna Vista Beta Club, Spanish Club and SCA; and Christ’s Church Youth Group. He also has been an Upward Basketball assistant coach.
In his application essay, Pearson said board service will help him strengthen his leadership skills on a larger scale with more responsibility and consequences. He also wrote that he believes in Harvest’s vision of enhancing opportunities and the quality of life for area residents.
“… Everyone is always complaining about how bad Martinsville and Henry County is but I rarely ever see anyone out there trying to help. Now, if I get on the board, I will have my own voice that I can use to make our community a better place,” he added.
Scales, of Spencer, is the daughter of Stephanie and S. Brian Brinegar and a rising sophomore at Magna Vista High School. She has been a member of Beta Club, Spanish Club, the Student Advisory Board and Upward Bound Math & Science, and she attended the Summer Governor’s School in 2012 and 2013.
She also volunteered with the First United Methodist Church Food Bank, community meals at Chatham Heights Baptist Church, SPCA and the Uptown Bridal Show at the New College Institute.
“The Harvest Foundation Youth Board is vital to the development of our town and will continue to make a huge impact, as I am sure it already has. … There are so many reasons I would like to have the honor of being a member of the Harvest Foundation Youth Board, but the main reason is to help fulfill the potential that Martinsville and Henry County has and to make it a place that people are proud to call their home,” Scales wrote.
Tisdale, of Martinsville, is the son of Christina and Travis Tisdale and a rising sophomore at Carlisle. He has been a member of the Chick Fil A Leader Academy, a Sunday school assistant teacher, church acolyte, a performer and technician with all Carlisle productions, Lower School mentor and ninth grade SCA class president. He played junior varsity soccer and varsity baseball in the ninth grade.
Tisdale wrote that board service would enable him to be “part of something that has the ability to do so much.”
“On the Youth Board, younger people are trusted with the responsibilities and jobs that are necessary to accomplish big goals, and they are largely successful. … Another reason why I want to be a member of the Harvest Youth Board is because of the success that the board has had in the past with its actions, such as the Thanksgiving dinner, involvement in the Christmas Parade and the YMCA grant. I’d like to be a part of something that is proven as successful and reliable in its displays of leadership so that I can help continue this tradition,” he added.
Witt, of Collinsville, is a rising sophomore at Bassett High School and the son of Laurie Witt. He has been involved with the Collinsville Family YMCA, Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville City Public Schools, Albert Harris Elementary School, Beta and CHILL clubs. He was on the Math Scale Team in ninth grade.
“I want to serve on the Harvest Youth Board so I can work with likeminded peers to have a bigger impact on helping my community and its members return to a point where everyone can thrive and get ahead,” he wrote.
Witt noted that he has benefited from Harvest initiatives such as the Smith River Sports Complex, and he applauded a Youth Board grant to help children learn to swim and the board’s Thanksgiving eve dinner, among other things.
“I would like to create a program where local students learn early about living an active, healthier lifestyle. I want to help families find ways to get healthy together. We can build on the work already started. I want to find ways to keep current initiatives going so our community continues to move ahead and residents want to remain here,” he added.
The new Youth Board members join current members Sean Arroyo, Kendall Cope, Sophia Esdaile, Karli Foster, Devin Page and Julian Vaughn.