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Students from Willow Creek Elementary spent their second-to-last day of fifth grade at an exciting place: Young AmeriTowne! This experience was even more memorable due to a special philanthropy presentation that included local nonprofits, all thanks to support from Schlessman Family Foundation.
Young Americans first collaborated with Schlessman Family Foundation in 2000 to create a philanthropy lesson for Young AmeriTowne. At school, students learn about philanthropy, study charities, and draw themselves donating time, talent, or treasure. When they arrive at Young AmeriTowne, students can make a realgift to a realColorado nonprofit because Schlessman Family Foundation matches each student donation (and the donations of student-run businesses) at 10%.
On the day of Willow Creek’s visit, six charities received a check from AmeriTowne Denver students. Members of the Youth Advisory Board chose these nonprofits based on their impact on the Denver community: Susan M. Duncan YMCA, Safehouse Denver, Children’s Diabetes Foundation, Puffy Pants, Youth on Record, and The Parks People. As part of the presentation, Lauren Watel, Trustee of the Schlessman Family Foundation and great-granddaughter of the founders, explained, “It was really important to my great-grandfather that we support the communities we live in. That’s why we’re so pleased that you’re able to learn this lesson in a hands-on way while you’re here in AmeriTowne.”
The numbers prove that students don’t just learn this lesson, they put it into practice. As of Willow Creek’s visit, students visiting Young AmeriTowne in Denver donated $65,790.31 AmeriTowne dollars. That did not include donations made by students that day which were monitored by Evan, the Towne Community Relations Director. “There’s been a lot of donations today,” said Evan, pointing out that most donations were directed towards Safehouse Denver.
Next door at the College, Photographer Amelie confirmed Evan’s observation. “We donated [our business profit] to Safehouse Denver because we feel really bad for kids who don’t have a safe place to live,” she said. Aiden and Chase, Trainers at the AmeriTowne Fitness Shop also made a donation on behalf of their shop. “We donated a dollar to each of the nonprofits,” said Chase. Aiden added, “We donated some of business profit because we don’t really need it all.”
Students learn so many different lessons in Young AmeriTowne about money, about working together, and about their community. Young Americans Center is grateful to Schlessman Family Foundation for helping students realize that, even at a young age, they can make an impact.