For the third consecutive year, the Idyllwild Youth Grantmakers awarded grants to several local groups whose efforts will enhance the community and activities for middle-school students.

This year’s awards totaled $3,500. The 2015 recipients were the Idyllwild Garden Club ($500), the Friends of the San Jacinto Mountain County Parks ($1,000), the Idyllwild School Outdoor Education Booster Club ($1,000), and the San Jacinto Mountain Community Center ($1,000).

The Community Foundation of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties initially funded a Youth Grantmakers program in a Riverside high school. In 2013, they provided funds for the IYG, which is the only grantmaking organization composed solely of middle school students.

During the presentation, Marshall Smith, president of the Idyllwild Community Fund, said, “This teaches young people about philanthropy. It’s amazingly successful. To make the award decisions, they go through the same process just as we do.”

The Idyllwild Garden Club will use its funds to replace the rotting and damaged planters in the school’s garden.

The Friends of the San Jacinto Mountain County Parks will use its grant to recruit eight student interns (two high school and six eighth-grade students) to help design and implement the Junior Naturalist Program at the Idyllwild Nature Center for the summer of 2015.

The Booster Club will use its award for student scholarships for the various field trips that promote scientific literacy, personal empowerment and interpersonal cooperation among the students. The school’s sixth- through eighth-grades take these trips annually. For example the seventh grade annually goes to Catalina Island.

Funds for the SJMCC, a repeat recipient this year, will support needed refurbishment of the Idyllwild Skate Park ramp.

Faculty members George Companiott and Donna Mercer have worked with the student committee since September. The students went through several two-hour training sessions to learn about steps needed to decide on the awardees.

“The best thing to teach kids is to give back, and when they do, it builds self-esteem,” noted Idyllwild Principal Matt Kraemer.

The grant funds awarded by the IYG program to local Idyllwild nonprofits were made possible by funds from the Idyllwild Community Fund and the Community Foundation. In 2013, the first year of this initiative, the Youth Grantmakers awarded $3,713 and the 2014 awards totaled $4,000.