H.A.N.D.S. (Helping Achieve new Direction through Students) is a 15-member student group (five students from each of the three county school systems), grades 8-12 that meets monthly to discuss community needs, review grant requests and allocate funding to projects with an educational focus. The youth group is the result of a collaborative effort between the Dekko Foundation, the Community Foundation and three public school systems in Whitley County.
Members are selected by their school administrators, and are chosen for their leadership capabilities and sound academic record. Once selected as 7th graders, students stay in the program for five years.
In addition to making grants, the group created The Littlest Philanthropists Program. Members set out to teach younger students what philanthropy is about by visiting third grade classrooms. Following their visits, they award $100 to each class and challenge them to look for and meet community needs.
Grant requests to the H.A.N.D.S. Foundation are accepted from September through April each year.
To apply online: click here.
Sample H.A.N.D.S. Grants
$900.00 – Columbia City High School: Digital SLR Camera for use in all photography, graphic design, and web design classes
$768.00 – The Center for Whitley County Youth: Audio system updates and computer needs
$800.00 – Smith-Green Community School Corp.: Supplies to implement archery program for K-12
$474.00 – Whitko School Corporation: Update safety equipment in metals classroom
$500.00 – Donovan Kessler Little Swimmers Scholarship Endowment: Provides free swim lessons to preschool aged children
Thank you, Hands!