Phoenixville teens give back to community through philanthropy

Alianzas de Phoenixville was one of the beneficiaries of Triskeles' Food for Thought program's recent philanthropy efforts. Pictured are, from left to right: Emily McDonough, Nina Guzman (President, Alianzas de Phoenixville), Rodrigo Campos, Paul Jenney and Logan Diven. Photo courtesy of Triskeles
The Daniel Foundation was one of the beneficiaries of Triskeles' Food for Thought program's recent philanthropy efforts. Pictured are, from left to right: Mark Birdsall, Greg Porter (Exec. Director, the Daniel Foundation) and Jack Ennis. Photo courtesy of Triskeles

PHOENIXVILLE – After working hard and earning money at their summer internship program, teens have used some of that money to give back to local organizations during the holiday season.

As part of a philanthropy project, about 40 teens enrolled in Triskeles’ Food for Thought program donated $1,900 to organizations. The organizations they gave money to included Main Line Animal Rescue, The Daniel Foundation, The Dragonfly Forest, The Latino Alliance (Alianzas de Phoenixville), Soltane, Camphill Village Kimberton Hills and Beaver Run.

Triskeles is an organization devoted to healthy living, sustainability and youth mentoring. The Food for Thought program teaches teens about healthy food choices, cooking and business skills.

Triskeles Director of Youth Programs Mark Birdsall said for the last five years, teens involved in the program have participated in a philanthropy project.

Birdsall said this year teens donated the highest amount than any other year.

“One of the teens decided he was going to donate $150,” Birdsall said.

He said that this young man’s spirit of giving inspired other teens to give more.

In addition to teens deciding how much they were going to give, they also did some fundraising where Triskeles staff and board members gave money to support the philanthropy project, Birdsall said.

The project teaches the teens important values, he said.

“It empowers them to become a giver rather than a taker, [giving them the ability] to become a donator,” Birdsall said.

He said the philanthropy project also teaches the teens about giving time and service.

The teens gave presentations about causes they were passionate about.

Greg Porter, executive director of The Daniel Foundation, gave a presentation about the organization.

According to a press release from Triskeles, one of the teens talked about the Dragonfly Forest, which is dedicated to fighting the genetic disease 22Q. The teen was passionate about the organization because her sister is living with the disease.

Birdsall said the teens were given jars with the organizations’ names written on them along with chips. They put the chips in the jars they wanted to donate to and the ones that received the most chips were the ones that benefited from the project.

Birdsall said the teens then decide how much they want to give to each organization.

In December, teens along with Birdsall and Bob Steininger, assistant director of youth programs for Triskeles, presented the checks to staff members of each organization and talked with them.

Main Line Animal Rescue, an animal shelter located in Chester Springs, helps hundreds of dogs, cats and rabbits each year, according to its web site, www.mlar.org. More than one thousand animals are adopted from the shelter each year.

The Daniel Foundation is an organization that “encourages civic, personal and spiritual renewal” in men and the Phoenixville community, according to its website, www.daniel-foundation.org.

The Latino Alliance, Alianzas de Phoenixville, is an organization in which local leaders and volunteers work together to get better access to local resources for the Hispanic/Latino community and provide opportunities for multicultural activities.

Camphill Soltane in Glenmoore is a place where young people with developmental disabilities live together and share the responsibility of managing their households.

Beaver Run is also a residential community for people with disabilities and has a K-12 school.

At Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, residents and people with disabilities work together at the farming and handcrafting community.

“Community members live together as expanded families in houses throughout the village, fostering relationships based on respect and mutual support,” according to Camphill Kimberton’s website, www.camphillkimberton.org.

Representatives of the organizations are glad the teens had a chance to give back.

In a press release, Alianzas de Phoenixville President Nina Guzman said, “It was encouraging to see a group of young people passionate about giving and conscious of the world around them. Their investment will continue the work of strengthening the Latino Community as we strive toward improving access to local resources and improving communication in order to bridge cultural gaps.”

Felicity Jeans, Executive Director of Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, said in a press release, “(The) donation has a direct and positive effect on the lives of the adults with disabilities who live and work here at Camphill Kimberton. It allows us to continue to provide a healthy environment and challenging vocational tasks complemented by a rich social and cultural life, for those with and without disabilities.”

Rodrigo Campos-Sanchez said he felt good about participating in the philanthropy project.

“It is a good idea,” said the sophomore from Phoenixville Area High School. “It [introduced people to] programs they wouldn’t know about. It helps people know where they can get help from. The organizations really help out a lot of people.”

Campos-Sanchez said he gave a presentation about Alianzas de Phoenixville.

“They really helped me out a lot and I had a lot of experience with them,” he said, adding that he felt that was his moment to tell his peers about the organization.