Grade 12 Grand Forks Secondary School student Rowyn Moriarty is on the hunt for youth-led community action projects through her role as Youth Coordinator for the Phoenix Foundation.
As part of the job, Moriarty has been tasked with crafting grant applications for local projects that will be funded with $15,000 allocated to the Boundary through the Royal Bank of Canada’s Future Launch Challenge, put on in partnership with community foundations like Phoenix. With the deadline set for Sept. 18, the young philanthropist has been feverishly writing grant applications for projects relating to homelessness, mental health and the environment.
“It doesn’t have to be for youth,” Moriarty said, “but it has to be youth-led.” Among other criteria: the project “has to respond to an urgent local need,” not just be for beautification and, Moriarty said, “it has to serve a purpose in the community and hopefully have some big impact there.”
One such application has come from the Granby Wilderness Society, which has put forward a project in partnership with high school students to restore segments of the river’s banks.
Managing the grant applications has been an endeavour, Moriarty said, because part of the task has also meant rallying school peers to become engaged with volunteerism.
“I’ve been having a really hard time motivating students at the high school to participate in my group, called Youth in Philanthropy,” Moriarty said. That said, the high school senior has found a few selling points that are effective.
“People are very motivated by candy,” Moriarty said. “I also ask them if they’ve noticed anything that they want to change about the Boundary – ‘What don’t you like, what’s inconvenient and what upsets you? And then I tell them that we can actually change that if we work together.
“That got at least one person to come check it out.”
Moriarty’s selling point for volunteerism is straightforward too: “If you can leave a legacy, I think you probably should.”
The projects funded through the $15,000 have a tight timeline and is one that aligns with Moriarty’s own life plan. The money is intended to be spent by next August, right before the Grade 12 student leaves for post-secondary education at College of the Rockies.
By then, Moriarty said, “I hope I feel like I’ve actually done something [with this position] – like I started the ball rolling for some kind of change.”