Students Start New Nonprofit to Become More Active in Our Community


Lisa Patrick

The Ashland Beacon


   A group of local young people have taken an interest in becoming more involved with their community, and have formed their own nonprofit organization to further their cause. The Youth Led Community in Action (YLCIA) is on a mission “to do community service in our area.”

   The YLCIA is made up of five executive officers who attend Ashland Paul Blazer High School. President Eric Billups and Vice President Abby McGuire are both sophomores, while Secretary Aubree Hay, Treasurer Abby Meek and Public Relations/Social Media Manager Parker Williams are freshmen. The students have applied for a 501c3 nonprofit status and are currently waiting on the application to be approved. But the group is not lying dormant waiting on their application to be approved. They have already started a major project themselves.

   The group has launched a mission to bring Christmas joy to some of the elderly living in Ashland, and are calling the project “Santa for Seniors.” They have been working hard to interest people to sponsor Christmas wish lists made up by residents of Caring Moore Homes, and have managed to find someone to purchase all of the things on their Christmas lists. They are also taking up donations for Christmas gift bags to give to the roughly 30 residents of the King’s Daughters & Sons residential care home.

   All of the students are in a few clubs at school that offer community service “but they sometimes don’t hit all the things in the community and they only do it at certain times of the year” according to Billups. Billups said that the group wanted “to do more community service with different things that don’t get as much attention.”

   Aubree Hay said that they chose Caring Moore Homes because most people are not familiar with the residential homes for people with brain injuries. After the sponsors bring in items for the residents, the group plans to have a big party with them where they will receive their gifts.

   Parker Williams explained that they chose the King’s Daughters & Sons as the other recipient of their “Santa for Seniors” project because it is “just a residential facility that is nothing special except for the people.” He said that “the people who live there are what make the place special.”

   Each of the residents will receive a brown paper bag with items that have been donated. The bags are being hand decorated by the art students at Ashland Paul Blazer High School to make them more than just a typical paper bag.

   Right now, the group is focusing really hard on Christmas but they are already looking past that. Aubree Hay volunteers at Woodland Oaks. She goes in and plays the piano that is in their main activity room. “[The piano] is really old and kind of falling apart,” Hay said. The group is planning a fundraiser “to try to buy a new one,” and at the very least come up with the money “to have someone come in and tune it.” Hay hopes that they will be able to raise enough money to “buy a used one maybe from a church or from someone who is selling an older one” because the residents really enjoy it.

   The YLCIA is taking up donations of hygiene items through December 6. All donations can be dropped off at the collection bins located at the Ashland Tennis Center and Gallahers Pharmacy inside Foodfair in South Ashland. The group is asking specifically for donations of sweatshirts, disposable razors, shaving cream, after shave lotion, Kleenex, body wash, shampoo, and sugar-free candy.

   The Youth-Led Community in Action group can be found on Facebook.