A group of 19 Phoenix high school students, including Phoenix Country Day School junior Evan Pittman. recently completed the 2016 Valley Youth Leadership program.

Representing multiple high schools across the Valley, the teenagers came together over three weekends in March and April to learn about philanthropy and non-profit giving.  They were collectively given $8,000 through the Valley Leadership program to distribute to a select non-profit organization.

The teens reviewed grant requests from nearly two dozen Phoenix non-profit organizations, and each teen individually advocated for the non-profit organizations they felt strongly about.  After several hours of discussion, the teens selected two organizations to receive philanthropic donations — the Phoenix chapter of Girls on the Run, a national non-profit dedicated to teaching life skills to girls through running, and the Phoenix chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Network (GLESN), a national non-profit working to end anti-gay bias in schools.

“This was a fantastic experience,” said Evan Pittman, a Valley Teen Leadership attendee.  “I learned about the due diligence that leaders put into evaluating philanthropic programs for donations, and we also learned about a variety of non-profits that are doing good work across the Valley.”

“Overall, the Valley Teen Leadership program was a lot of fun, and I was able to spend time with other teens who, like me, are very much into community service,” Evan continued.  “I’m very pleased I was chosen to participate in this program.”

Valley Teen Leadership was created to cultivate the next generation of leaders by offering to teens the opportunity to develop leadership skills.  It is conducted through Valley Leadership, the leadership development program for adults launched in 1978.