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Youth leaders stuff backpacks

Members of the Youth Leadership Group stuffs backpacks for the United Way’s “Stuff the Bus” campaign at WITC. Courtesy of the Superior-Douglas County Chamber

The Superior-Douglas County Chamber Foundation's Youth Leadership Program met at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College on Wednesday to fill backpacks for the "Stuff the Bus" campaign.

The Youth Leadership Program partnered with the United Way and "Stuff the Bus" to buy 150 backpacks for Superior Middle School students in need.

Students purchased backpacks, notebooks, folders, erasers and other needed school supplies to put with a donation of pencils from the Superior YMCA.

"Over the years when I see the kids do things for their own schools, that is where I see them get the most enjoyment in giving back" said Dave Minor, president and CEO of the Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce.

The members of the Senior Philanthropy Action Team are tasked each year by the Chamber Foundation to take responsibility of $2,000 and allocating the money. Students are required to identify issues or problems in Douglas County and identify groups or agencies they believe will help solve the issue or problem by receiving the money. The team also determines if raising more money is needed to meet the project's fiscal needs.

"In late spring our 2016 seniors were struggling to determine where to put their $2,000. One of the students on the team overheard how in the upcoming 2016-2017 school year the middle school would be facing a record number of students in need of supplies," Minor said.

The students proposed the allocation be held to buy supplies for the United Way's "Stuff the Bus" campaign despite the fact the money would be used well after they had graduated.

"School had been the student's world for so long, this was their way of helping that world at this point in time," Minor said.

With the $2,000 put forth by the 2016 Senior Philanthropy Action Team, a Youth Leadership graduate donated an additional $400 to the project and challenged other youth leaders to do the same. The program raised an additional $1,600 through current and graduated Youth Leadership students to help pay for the supplies.