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Students helping youth through United Way

March 05, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

Students in every high school in the county this week will be asking their classmates to give all they can to help area youth.

The fundraising campaign is for Youth United Way, which is affiliated with the United Way of Washington County, and is in its first year.

Co-directors of the youth organization Matt Amalfitano and Michael Digman said this week is the first time that funds have been raised for the group that they organized late last year.

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All of the money will go to local programs that support youth.

"It's youth helping youth," Michael said.

Matt and Michael, both North Hagerstown High School seniors, said at least two students at every high school in the county were raising money for Youth United Way.

They hope to raise $5,000 this week, which would be matched by First Data, Matt said.

"They're going to match us dollar for dollar up to $5,000," he said.

Matt and Michael, both 17, said that often when fundraising organizations forget about the county's youth, thinking they aren't interested or don't have any money to give.

But by 2 p.m. Monday, the first day of the fundraising drive, they had 27 donations at North High.

They said donations from local businesses used as giveaways were used to entice students to donate, but many just wanted to give.

"Youth are often overlooked for fundraising, but youth have potential just as much as any adult," said Matt, the Washington County Student Government Association president. "They have potential to give, and even if it's just a dollar, think how much that adds up to."

He said Youth United Way's voting members will decide what organizations will receive donations. For now, they know it will go to youth-related programs, which could be anything from after-school organizations to programs to prevent drug and alcohol use among youth.

"It's our responsibility, as youth, to help youth," Matt said.

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