$10,000 in Grants Awarded by Operation REACH's Gulfsouth Youth Action Fund for 2010. Local youth strive to empower their peers by supporting positive, youth-driven programs.

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The Gulfsouth Youth Action Fund (GYAF) will proudly award $10,000 in grants to five youth-led, youth-driven organizations to increase meaningful ways to address the interests and social concerns impacting youth and their peers in the community. To honor the grantees for their outstanding work, an announcement ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m., on Thursday, February 4, 2010, at the Operation REACH, Inc. National Headquarters, located at 2115 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Gulfsouth Youth Action Fund (GYAF) will proudly award $10,000 in grants to five youth-led, youth-driven organizations to increase meaningful ways to address the interests and social concerns impacting youth and their peers in the community. To honor the grantees for their outstanding work, an announcement ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m., on Thursday, February 4, 2010, at the Operation REACH, Inc. National Headquarters, located at 2115 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.    

The Gulfsouth Youth Action Fund, founded in 2007 by Operation REACH, Inc., gives a select group of outstanding young people the knowledge, know-how and desire to become leaders of change in their communities by empowering them with the tools and training to make strategic investments in their peers. The Gulfsouth Youth Action Fund is a leading youth philanthropy and leadership training program that empowers youth to address the interests and social concerns impacting their peers through support of youth-led and youth-driven initiatives that model healthy youth development opportunities and foster communities in which young people can live, learn, lead, thrive, and grow.

Since November of 2009, the GYAF has received more than 70 applications for funding of a variety of youth-driven community projects from across the South. Over the last two months, the GYAF board deliberated and carefully reviewed proposals on given criteria, including the strength of youth leadership, innovation, feasibility, and organization.

Thirty-one votes were cast, and the top five organizations to be funded were decided based on their merits. Project South's Youth Community Action Project in Atlanta, GA and Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools' Through the Youth Lens Project in New Orleans, LA. Project South's Youth Community Action Project in Atlanta, Georgia, aims to develop youth leadership by providing popular political education to young people in Atlanta, to create alternative youth-run media programs, and organizes for local community power. Of particular interest was Project South's youth-run radio program, "Youth Speak Truth," a program created by and for youth in the Atlanta area aimed to educate and discuss an array of content, including politics, crime, music and history.

Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools is made up of New Orleans school students, mainly middle school-aged, who come together to create change and reform in schools around the city. Their project, "Through the Youth Lens," supplies students with cameras to photograph and capture the realities of New Orleans schools from their own perspectives. The photographs are then put on display throughout the city to create a greater awareness of the issues in the schools.

Three equally inspiring programs are also being funded by the GYAF, including, Star Hill Mentoring Project's Global Connection Service Project, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Amplify Resources' Positive Action & Positive Attitude summer camps, located in Mandeville, Louisiana, and the Warren Easton High School's Interact Club, who works with the Ronald McDonald House in New Orleans.

Operation REACH is a national organization that engages, empowers, and inspires children, youth and families through innovative community-based learning opportunities. ORI is also one of the only Louisiana-born AmeriCorps organization to receive funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service for national expansion. For more information, visit Operation REACH's website or The Gulfsouth Youth Action Fund website

Contact: Makayla Counselman
504.529.1922 ext 106
mcounselman(at)operationreach(dot)org

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Makayla Counselman
Operation REACH, Inc.
(504) 529-1922 ext. 106
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