During the second semester of the 2015-2016 school year then sophomores Iman Jaroudi, Jacob Roberts, Hazel Carson and Natalie Grills founded the Shawnee Mission East Junior Board. They had first participated in Junior Board at Indian Hills Middle School.
In Junior Board, groups of four to six students work together to create a presentation about a nonprofit agency of their choice. At the end of the year the groups present to a panel of judges from around the community to receive money to donate to their organization. Last year the winning groups received $2000, raised from donations raised by the students and by the school.
“We decided to bring Junior Board to East because we felt that the educational aspect of the program was truly beneficial,” Roberts said. “The focus on nonprofits is important because a lot of the time the mechanisms for making nonprofits work is overlooked.”
This year’s East Junior Board consists of 11 groups that are currently beginning the process of learning about different nonprofits. The program allows students to dive into the logistics of how a nonprofit runs.
“It’s very important for students to be educated on nonprofit organizations because they are such integral parts of society,” Jaroudi said.
The executive board of Junior Board consists of the the four original founders, along with seniors Katie Kuhlman and Will Clough, who were added this year to provide a senior point of view to the organization. Their goal is to continue to grow the program and continue to expand awareness of nonprofits.
The students will continue working until late April when the presentations will take place. At the end the winning groups will present their donation, awarded from the panel of judges.
“It’s very gratifying knowing we are making a difference in the community,” Roberts said.