Teens sharpen leadership, fundraising skills at OMRF

High school students know a lot about fashion and Facebook. And thanks to a new program at OMRF, some of them are learning lessons in a whole new area: philanthropy.

This is the first year for OMRF’s Teen Leaders in Philanthropy program. Since September, selected students from around Oklahoma have met monthly at OMRF to learn more about nonprofit organizations and how giving impacts their communities.

“I applied for this program because I wanted to know how I could help people, but I didn’t know how to do that,” said Taylor Brown from Deer Creek High School. “Now if I want to start my own charity or raise money, I know the steps that will help me succeed.”

The teens have worked together on special team-building and fundraising projects and learned about basic philanthropy, development, board structure, networking, fundraising and social media.

“This program has gone a lot further than just community service. We’ve learned life skills, like public speaking and how to run a board meeting, that will help us grow as leaders,” said Meredith Rasnic, who attends Community Christian School in Norman. “We’ve gone behind the scenes to learn how to make meetings run efficiently and how to plan successful events.”

Pooling their skills and those they’ve learned at OMRF, the group is creating an April fundraising event to benefit research in children’s diseases.

OMRF Senior Development Associate Allison Coleman said this inaugural group has approached all aspects of the program in a positive way. “We have loved watching the students get to know each other, work seamlessly in committees and develop a project that we truly believe will do well in raising awareness for childhood diseases, just one area of research at OMRF.”

“This experience has showed me the importance of community and being involved in it,” said Jack Baze of Bishop McGuinness High School. “Your community is stronger when people come together and work to improve it.”

Applications for the 2014-15 Teen Leaders in Philanthropy program are due March 15. For more information and applications, visit www.omrf.org/teen-leaders.