Mahnomen Youth Pay It Forward

Native American Youth Council
Everyone knows that today’s youth are the future, and based on the compassion and talent that Mahnomen area youth have displayed, Northwest Minnesota’s future is in good hands.

The Mahnomen Area Community Fund (MACF) held its first annual Pay It Forward fundraising event on the evening of April 24, 2019. This event was an opportunity for the 2019 grant recipients to showcase the work they did in the community with the support of the Mahnomen Area Community Fund. The evening included a social hour, dinner, program, and award ceremony. Tina Starkey and Pete Haddeland were recognized for their volunteer contributions to the Mahnomen Community.

The Native American Youth Council received $500 for their Mitten Tree project. The youth that were involved collected mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves and made them available to any community members who were in need of warm clothes to get them through the harsh winter we experienced this year. The Council also provided and served the meal at the event, which included roast beef, potatoes and gravy, wild rice and cookies.

Students from St. Michael’s School used their $500 grant to put together “comfort bags”. The bags are a resource that local police and social workers can give to children who have to be removed from their homes due to child protective service needs. The bags include things like toys, snacks, and hygiene products.

A group of 5th and 6th grade students from the Mahnomen public school participated in a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Architecture and Math) program. They received a $500 grant to take what they learned in the program and put on demonstrations for preschoolers. One student created arcade games like pinball and air hockey using cardboard.

“These kids are really impressive,” said Pete Haddeland, President of United Valley Bank in Mahnomen, “you could see their faces light up as they were showing off the hard work they’ve done with their peers.” Haddeland also serves on the Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) board of directors and on the MACF advisory committee.

Each group gave a PowerPoint presentation about their projects at the event. This opportunity gave youth the chance to work together as peers and see what it takes to organize a community service project. They also had to practice their public speaking skills to get ready for the event.

Dawn Ganje, Senior Development Officer at NMF, also attended the event. “Including youth in philanthropic activity is a meaningful way to engage young people in their communities,” she said. “It’s evident that these Mahnomen area youth know what their community needs are and they were able to come up with ideas on how to serve their peers.”

Each group that presented was awarded an additional $333 from the funds that were raised at the event. The groups will be able to use the money to continue with their current projects or come up with a new initiative that “pays it forward” in the Mahnomen community. MACF plans on continuing their fundraising efforts and providing more grant dollars to invest in community projects.

For more information about MACF, you can follow this link to their page on the NMF website.


St. Michael's School students


STEAM students

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