September 16, 2016
Five new members have been named to the Youth Board of The Harvest Foundation.
Sean Arroyo, Sophia Esdaile, Devin Page, Laura Painter and Julian Vaughn will fill the seats of board members whose terms expired July 31.
The 13-member Youth Board is entirely student-run and focuses on youth-related issues in the area. It can award grants and create initiatives or develop projects related to youth issues. Board members also serve in an advisory capacity to the full Harvest Board of Directors on youth and community issues.
Recent projects organized by the Youth Board include a $2,500 grant to the Smith River Sports Complex to update the playground equipment, a $2,500 grant to help fund swimming lessons for about 750 first-graders in the area through a program of the YMCA and the Martinsville Area Community Foundation and a $2,500 grant to Richard’s Dinner, an annual Christmas dinner for the community. Members also plan to organize an annual Thanksgiving eve dinner for the community starting this year.
The board was established a year ago. It is supported by The Harvest Foundation and the Kiwanis Club.
“It has been fascinating to watch the youth board members handle the transition of power. They have handled it responsibly and with a great deal of thought, and a focus on the stability and the long-term impact of the organization,” said DeWitt House, a program officer with The Harvest Foundation. “We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of the inaugural board and the foundation it has established that will lead the organization into the future.”
Youth Board members are voted on by the current Youth Board. All its members are rising sophomores, juniors or seniors from Martinsville, Henry County or Carlisle School; their terms expire after they graduate from high school. The maximum term any member can serve is three years.
Arroyo, of Axton, is a sophomore at Carlisle School. He is involved in CHILL and the SPCA, and he wrote that he wanted to join the Youth Board to help improve the value placed on education and problems with the health care system.
“I believe that this foundation will bring a much needed focus to the poor education system of our city and/or state and will bring better health conditions for those who are afflicted with illnesses,” he wrote in an essay with his application for board membership.
Esdaile, of Henry County, is a sophomore at Magna Vista High School where she is in the Warrior Tech Academy. She has been involved in the school’s Booster Club, the Sandy Level Stop the Violence Walk, Girl Scout Troop 943 and a Martinsville Christmas charity event.
In her essay, Esdaile wrote that youth development is high on the list of challenges facing the area today, and that programs and organizations that serve young people can offer solutions to youth issues such as education, self-awareness, violence, drugs and bullying.
“Programs and organizations begin with grants that provide funding for them to operate. I think I would have a tremendous impact on MHC youth by serving on the Harvest Foundation Board and writing and providing grants for youth programs,” she added.
Page, of Ridgeway, is a junior at Magna Vista who also is enrolled in the Patrick Henry Community College Ace program. He has served as president of FFA, captain of the baseball team and vice president of the student body, and he is a member of the Beta Club, Spanish Club and HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America). He also has been a youth baseball volunteer coach.
He wrote that he wanted to serve on the Youth Board to work to make positive changes in the lives of other area young people.
“Many of my friends have approached me with various ideas that would improve our local community. If given the opportunity to serve on the Harvest Youth Board, I would try to implement many of their ideas,” he stated. “ … If allowed to serve on the Harvest Youth Board, I would take ideas I have seen in other towns and try to implement them into our town.”
Painter, of Martinsville, is a sophomore at Carlisle School. She has been involved in the Student Council Association (SCA), CHILL, SPCA fun run, Grace Network Pumpkin Patch, Interact Club food drive, Wake Forest Baptist Hospital Epilepsy Reunion, SPCA and Youth Leadership Summit.
She wrote that she was interested in the Youth Board to help the area’s young people “take responsibility to create the future in our image.”
“I want to be a member of this foundation so I can help make a new future a reality. I like fixing things and solving problems and I think this would be useful in this foundation so we can improve our community and solve any issues that arise,” Painter stated. “I believe that by working with others and influencing the people around us we can help everyone know that they matter and that they can make a difference if they believe in the cause.”
Vaughn, of Martinsville, is a junior at Martinsville High School. He has been a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and served as the local chapter’s historian for the past year, and he attended the SAE Government Convention for the past three years. He also is a video and technical producer for WMHS8 and MHS This Evening, newscasts produced out of Martinsville High School.
He too wanted to be on the Youth Board to help implement change in the area.
“While many people like to just complain about Martinsville and the surrounding areas, I actually want to see a change in Martinsville. I personally think the best way for change is through our youth, because most adults have made their life choices but the youth of Martinsville and Henry County need to know that there are great opportunities in life,” he wrote in his essay. “Through Harvest I want to help impact the lives of those around me and make this place the community of choice for not just my generation but future generations.”
The new members will join existing board members: Max Pinkston, Karli Foster, Kendall Cope, Kristel Hairston, Taisha DeShazo, Mariah Holland, Alexandra Hornsby and Luis Romero.