Members of the Aurora Youth Empowerment Project at Aurora High School recently attended the annual YEP conference in Springfield.

Keynote speakers were Greene County Commissioner Lincoln Hough, who is running for a Missouri Senate seat in 2018, and state Representative Crystal Quade, representing northwest Springfield’s 132nd district. Hough and Quade spoke about the experience and unique challenge of being young people in elected positions, the importance of community engagement and involvement, and shared how and why they personally became involved in politics.

The students also participated in small-group exercises during the conference, held in October at the Southwest Center for Independent Living.

The Youth Empowerment Project is a program of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. The goal of the program is to promote the principles of philanthropy for high school and middle school students through education, community grantmaking, service projects and fundraising. Aurora High School YEP is one of about 30 chapters across the region.

The CFO is a regional public charitable foundation serving central and southern Missouri through a network of donors, nonprofit partners and affiliate foundations, including the Aurora Area Community Foundation.