I am excited about some new things going on at Aurora High School.
The town has a colorful history with stories of mining, railroads, wars, the Trail of Tears and industrial growth. I am always looking for ways to incorporate these benchmarks into learning opportunities for others.
One of those new opportunites is a Youth Empowerment Project organization—falling under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. The CFO and YEP format is all about giving back to the communities—where we live/grow/learn/play and serve.
Brad Boettler and I are the advisors of the YEP and we have a great group of kids kicking things off with an end of year fundraiser. Plans are currently in the works for an administrator/teacher dunk booth and some other games and activities on the last day of school at AHS.
Dyllan Cullers, Jenna Gold and Trenton Williams are all freshmen with a lot of ideas.
Items already on the agenda include: a summer brainstorming retreat, a membership drive and a fall project with Main Street Aurora, the Aurora Chamber Commerce and the City of Aurora.
The group will be establishing parameters and awarding grants to other organizations and individuals devoted to improving the quality of life in Aurora. With an emphasis on youth-oriented projects, the local YEP will periodically sponsor some fundraising to keep the coffers flowing. Its top premise is to make improvements in the areas of home/school/community.
The Aurora YEP was officially established on March 1st and hit the ground running with some grant applications of its own. That work paid off as the group is the recipient of a $3,400 Coover Grant, which will culminate with a Halloween & History theme in October.
Students will research well known characters from local lore and history for live storytelling projects this fall as a fundraiser. Patrons can donate to the cause or bring a used book that will be donated to local literacy campaigns.
Students will dress up in period costume as the town's founder, Stephen Elliott, or a Civil War veteran, or perhaps a senator or saloon girl to give a three-dimensional perspective of the town's colorful history.
In addition, the YEP group will partner with the City of Aurora, the Aurora Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Aurora to revise, revamp and publish a Walking History Brochure of Aurora. The brochure would be complete with photos of landmark buildings and bits of community history.
Funds received will be used for brochure printing costs, posters, advertising, costumes, refreshments and props. The events would promote literacy, culture, history, and healthy lifestyles. We would also like to make a donation to the Aurora Veterans Memorial as part of this project, as well as to Main Street for the upgrade to the historical fountain.
We will utilize help, insights and support from the Aurora Community Foundation, the City of Aurora, Main Street Aurora, the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Aurora Friends of the Library and the Aurora Historical Society.
Ultimately, the goals of the project would be to foster learning, create dialogue and encourage a sense of self, time and place with town citizens. Those of all ages would become more aware of their town's history and the roles of those who paved the way.
We have ties to all of the organizations listed and have conducted some of the leg work already for the brochure and character histories. The town has a strong interest in culture, art, music and history.
If you have some areas of expertise to share with us as we move forward with a variety of plans and projects, please feel free to email me at: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 417-229-2094.