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Youth leadership class pays it forward

| February 21, 2020

For the past several years members of the Coshocton County Youth Leadership Class have been given the opportunity to pay it forward.

Each of the teens participating in the Coshocton Foundation sponsored program is given $100 and told to use it to make a difference. They shared their stories on Feb. 19 during a joint meeting with the adult leadership class.

First to speak was Ethan Stroup. He is very passionate about veterans and decided to use his money to help the Honor Guard, which provides a final salute for veterans at their funeral.

“I went to the veterans council meeting to present my $100 and it really blew my mind,” Stroup said. “This small group of people is so passionate about helping the community.”

Brayden Karr gave his money to one of his former elementary school teacher Mr. Jones.

“With sixth grade camp I had separation anxiety and he helped me through that,” Karr said. “Without him I doubt I’d be up here in front of you speaking either.”

Karr visited Jones at school right before Christmas break and surprised him with the $100.

“He teared up immediately, but tried to cover it with jokes,” Karr said. “It was the greatest feeling in the world.”

Although Jones admitted he could use the money after buying Christmas gift he knew there were other families who needed it more and was going to pay it forward.

“There is no other way I would have rather of donated this,” Karr said. “Without Mr. Jones I wouldn’t be here today.”

Nathaniel Stamper donated his money to a 5K planned to raise money for a scholarship in memory of Mike Burr who was a coach at River View High School.

“I’ve only heard great things about him,” Stamper said. “It made me feel honored that I could be a part of helping with this.”

Several of the students donated to Shepherd’s Christian Assembly, which offers a free meal to those in need. One from River View gave his money to Citizens for River View to help spread the word about the district’s upcoming levy. Another student purchased disinfecting wipes and Band-Aids for Warsaw Elementary.

Lexi Zimmer decided to use her money to help homeless pets after helping nurse her own through a surgery.

“A lot of animals don’t have someone,” she said. “My 4-H group has always helped the shelter, so I called to ask what they were in need of. They told me the list was on their website. I saw that their organization ran on donations and most positions were volunteer. I went to Wal-Mart and got food, treats, toys, cleaning supplies, and detergent.”

“When I walked in they were all smiles and thankful for the stuff I brought,” Zimmer said. “I felt really fulfilled and like I did what I needed to with the money.”

Aleigh Hardesty used her money to pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child and pay for people’s orders behind her in the drive-thru. Zach Balo gave his money to the Coshocton County Handicapped Society where he had spent the summer volunteering. Two also chose to help projects in Haiti and Nicaragua. The Coshocton Canal Court Committee also benefited from the pay it forward project and so did Coshocton Elementary School.

Taylor Moats’ mother is a teacher at Coshocton Elementary School, and she’s been visiting her classroom to help the students.

“You get a little attached to them after you work with them a while,” Moats said.

She decided to use her $100 to help the students and asked her mother for advice on how to do that.

“She told me to watch them walk in the hall,” Moats said. “I saw some students that didn’t have proper winter gear or nice shoes.”

She found out the school has a closet with extra clothes for students and she decided to purchase items for it.

“This is an opportunity that I will never forget,” Moats said. “For that I say thank you and for the little boy in the hall with a nicer pair of shoes I say thank you on his behalf too.”

Betsy Gosnell, director of the leadership programs, was very proud of the students.

“I can’t tell you how many times while I was taking pictures that I had to choke back tears,” she said. “You thought about this with your heart and you thought about it with compassion. Every year I say it can’t get better, but every year it does. Thank you.”

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Category: Clubs & Organizations

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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