Youth Activists Put Change on the Center Stage

Youth Activist Center Stage 1The Youth Activist Club hosted their annual Battle of the Charities event on Sunday, April 8 at the Library Lawn to raise money for various local charities.

With amenities such as live music, food trucks and henna tattoos, the event is centered on celebrating community involvement and activism and supporting the efforts of different organizations.

Youth Activist Club founder Joy Morgan created the event in March 2017, with the support of then-advisor Ryan Tetro, lecturer of political science and sociology.

The mission of the event is to celebrate the power that individuals possess to make the world a better place, and provide them volunteer opportunities with the charity representatives that attend the event.

A total of ten charities, including Common Ground Grief Center and the Kortney Rose Foundation, were involved at the inaugural event in Pollak Theatre.

The club had provided live bands that were assigned to each charity, as well as acrobatic performances from the club’s members. Although the event seemed to be a large undertaking, Morgan’s passion for this project inspired others to get on board.

Youth Activist Center Stage 2“At times it was difficult to get people to see and support my vision, especially when school can be so busy. I put a lot of planning and effort towards the first annual battle of the charities,” said Morgan.

Last year’s Battle of the Charities raised a total of $500 for the ten charities in attendance, which proved this event to be an impactful and successful method to give back to the community.

With the same level of passion and excitement to bridge the campus community to the local charities, the Youth Activists designed this year’s event with the same charities from last year as well as some new additions.

“This year I felt like I grew as a leader and was able to get together some of the most talented, intelligent, passionate, and kind people together as members of my team,” Morgan said. 

One of the returning charities was Asbury Park’s Move For Hunger, which is an organization that “mobilizes the relocation industry to fight hunger and reduce waste” as well as helps companies and individuals implement successful food drives.

Youth Activist Center Stage 3Due to the issue of food insecurity permeating our local towns, this organization provides a direct source of relief for vulnerable populations right near the University.

In addition to Battle of the Charities, Move for Hunger has maintained a strong relationship with volunteers from the University.

“Numerous Monmouth students have participated in our semester-long internship program”, said Katherine Quintana, Move for Hunger’s Event Coordinator. “So we look forward to connecting with more students in the coming semesters.”

Another major charity in attendance was Common Ground Grief Center, an initiative based out of Manasquan which provides ongoing peer support groups for children to young adults who have experienced the death of a friend or immediate family member. Although this life-altering event Executive Director Lynn Snyder expressed that Common Ground “has not participated in any other program at Monmouth”, but was more than happy to send representatives once again to Battle of the Charities.

“Joy did a great job [with Battle of the Charities],” said Snyder. “It is clear that she put her heart and soul into organizing it.”

For this year’s Battle of the Charities, the Youth Activist Club organized ten musical acts that performed at the event under the supervision of Dickie Cox, Assistant Professor of Communication.

Youth Activist Center Stage 4The musical acts included the bands Lords of Liechtenstein, Yawn Mower, Jackie Tripp and Monmouth’s own Malibu. Students were able to enjoy the performances throughout the event, along with a surprise sing along at the end of the event.

“At one point, a band was late and we needed to fill time, so I suggested a group sing a long of Imagine by John Lennon,” he said.

The way everyone gathered, swayed, and applauded one another developed an inclusive and optimistic atmosphere and feeling amongst the attendees. It really moved me, and was one of the most beautiful moments of the event,” he added

Through the various activities that highlight the different aspects of community engagement, as well as diverse interests, such as art and music  that can come together for a cause greater than our campus community.

By coming together over issues that impact our local communities, we can all channel our strengths into creating a positive change and making a lasting difference. 

PHOTOS TAKEN by Nicole Riddle