Young Leaders in Action

Young Leaders In Action (YLIA) is a youth-led initiative of The Community Foundation of Macon County and Rotary Club No. 180 of Decatur.

Through monthly meetings and volunteer opportunities, YLIA/Interact members will enhance their leadership, communication, social, and analytical skills. Members are familiarized with nonprofits and build an understanding of philanthropy through the grantmaking process.

Member Expectations

  • Check email at least once per week for YLIA announcements and respond when required.
  • Be a responsible steward of money allocated for our community.
  • Form opinions objectively and without bias so decisions made reflect the community’s best interest.
  • Commit to creating an inclusive environment for all members.
  • Be excited to work with other high school students across Macon County.
  • Serve as a positive representative of YLIA to The Community Foundation, fellow YLIA members and community members.

Meeting and Event Expectations

  • Attend at least seven of the nine scheduled meetings from September to May.
  • Dedicate at least two to four hours per month to YLIA meetings and activities.
  • Give notice to the President of YLIA or The Community Foundation of Macon County if you will be absent from a meeting or event.
  • Attend one or more volunteer outreach opportunities.
  • Attend at least one site visit to a potential grantee organization.
  • Keep meeting discussions confidential and do not take decisions and discussions personally.
  • Complete year-end leadership portfolio.

2021 Scholarship Recipients: (Pictured left to right) Dr. Jarmese Sherrod, Allie Schelling, Lainah LaFollette, David Revelle and Natalie Beck

Scholarship Opportunities

High school seniors who are active members with YLIA have the opportunity to apply for three scholarships, exclusive to YLIA senior members:

  • $2,500 Wiesemann Family YLIA Scholarship
    • 2020 Recipient, Allie Schelling, Maroa-Forsyth High School
    • 2019 Recipient, Londarius Hayes, Eisenhower High School
  • $500 Matt and Natalie Beck YLIA Leadership Scholarship (for female senior)
    • 2020 Recipient Lainah LaFollette, Maroa-Forsyth High School
  • $500 Blake Cowden YLIA Leadership Scholarship (for male senior)
    • 2020 Recipient David Revelle, Argenta-Oreana High School

Impacting our community - 2020/2021 YLIA Events:

June 18, 2020 -- Aldi Gift Card Giveaway -- Young Leaders in Action surprised ALDI shoppers on June 18 with $50 gift cards as part of community impact day. The gift cards and assistance were provided during the store's special at-risk and senior shopping hour.

June 20, 2020 -- Food Box Drive-Up Day -- 500 families received necessary food products.

June 23, 2020 -- Aldi Gift Card Giveaway -- Young Leaders in Action surprised ALDI shoppers on June 23 with $50 gift cards as part of community impact day. The gift cards and assistance were provided during the store's special at-risk and senior shopping hour.

July 24, 2020-- YLIA Fight Against Hunger Empowerment Lunch Day -- Young Leaders in Action fed those in need in Macon County, helping to alleviate the effects of Decatur's 22 percent poverty rate.

July 29, 2020 -- Allie's Reading Buddies and Book Drive -- YLIA Outreach Chair Allie Schelling held an impact day and 25 of our leaders empowered 65 youth at the Boys & Girls Club of Decatur Summer Camp. Over 2,300 books were collected for DPS Hope Academy.

Aug. 1, 2020 -- Backpack Attack at the Decatur Family YMCA --YLIA members distributed 1,200 backpacks filled with school supplies to grade school children.

Aug. 8, 2020 -- Food Box Drive-Up Day -- Food boxes distributed to 400 families.

Aug. 28, 2020 -- YLIA Cares for Seniors -- 285 cards handmade for residents of five area nursing homes.

Sept. 12, 2020 -- Volunteer at Good Samaritan Inn -- Food prep and serving lunches.

Oct. 2, 2020 -- Volunteer at WSOY Community Food Drive -- Over $600,000 raised to support 18 area food pantries - that's equal to 3.2 million pounds of food!

Oct. 17, 2020 -- Food Box Drive-Up Day -- Food boxes distributed to 400 families.

Nov. 2, 2020 -- Celebrate World Interact Day -- International Zoom party.

Nov. 21, 2020 -- Prepare, Cook and Deliver 200 Thanksgiving meals in partnership with First Baptist Church.

Dec. 3, 2020 -- Awarded $1,000 Grant from Blake Cowden Leadership Foundation.

Dec. 4, 2020 -- Coordinate Christmas Gifts for 300 Children in Macon County CASA program.

Dec. 5, 2020 -- Ring bells for The Salvation Army of Decatur & Macon County -- 10-hours at two locations.

Jan. 21, 2021 -- Decatur Public Library Children's Zoom Reading Event

Ja. 23, 2021 -- Volunteer at Good Samaritan

Jan. 28, 2021 -- Decatur Public Library Children's Zoom Reading Event

Feb. 6, 2021 -- Rise Up & Unify Youth Leadership Conference

Feb. 20, 2021 -- Olive Garden Meals on Wheels Event in Niantic

Feb. 23, 2021 -- Distribute Dani Rubin Kater COVID-19 Care Kits at the Boys & Girls Club of Decatur

March 6, 2021 -- Thank You for Your Service event at 121 Coffee Run in Warrensburg

March 12 & 26, 2021-- Hillside Bethel Tabernacle Church Food Box Drive

March 14, 2021-- Volunteer at Good Samaritan Inn -- Food prep and serving hot lunches

March 16, 2021-- Stuffing Easter Egg Project for the Junior Welfare Association at the Children's Museum of Illinois

March 27, 2021-- Easter Egg Hunt with St. Paul Lutheran Church in Decatur

April 2, 2021-- Community Day of Peace for the Decatur Police Department (Violence Prevention Program)

April 3, 2021-- Distribution of Sweet Treats, Violence Prevention information, and Dani Rubin Kater COVID-19 Care Kits to nine homes and 33 residents throughout Mt. Zion and Decatur for the Marion County Horizon Center.

April 17, 2021-- Food Truck Frenzy for United Way of Decatur & Mid-Illinois

May 8, 2021-- Dipper Diaper Drive for Decatur Correctional Center, Dove, Inc., and New Life Pregnancy Center

May 29, 2021-- Appreciating a Senior Day

Need volunteers? YLIA is here to help!

Our Young Leaders In Action group is comprised of 102 youth from all 11 Macon County High Schools and Home School students. YLIA seeks impactful volunteer opportunities. Please send your organization's name, contact information, impact day description, location, hours, number of volunteers needed, and duties/tasks to Dr. Jarmese Sherrod, YLIA Facilitator, at jsherrod@maconcountygives.org. Please indicate whether your event is open to the public.

YLIA is facilitated by Dr. Jarmese Sherrod. For more information, email Dr. Sherrod at JSherrod@maconcountygives.org or call 217-429-3000.

About Dr. Sherrod:

Dr. Sherrod has more than 20 years experience in teaching, mentoring and empowering young people. A professor at Richland Community College, she teachers English and Media. Dr. Sherrod is also CEO and founder of Sherrod's Independent Mentoring Program (SIMP), an organization focused on academic advising, mentoring and youth development.

"My vision for the leaders who join Young Leaders in Action is simple...to help students discover their purpose, awaken their passion and to inspire them to lead with a heart of service," explained Dr. Sherrod.

Dr. Sherrod earned her undergraduate degree in radio and television from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and her masters degree in journalism from Roosevelt University Chicago. She then attended the University of Illinois at Chicago to complete her doctorate in education curriculum and instruction with a specialization in curriculum design.