YouthWorks is a partnership between Memorial Foundation and local high schools providing philanthropy education, input on youth health care programs, and fundraising opportunities to support Memorial Foundation’s four health care initiatives. This youth empowerment program engages our community’s youth directly through mentoring, volunteering, and philanthropy.
The YouthWorks Council comprises youth leaders, ranging from freshmen to seniors in high schools throughout the Valley. This group of highly dedicated and motivated students works to improve the future of health care in our community by learning about Yakima Memorial Hospital’s family of services. They carry out this mission by supporting Memorial Foundation’s four health care initiatives: Children’s Health, Compass Care, Cancer Care, and Healthy Yakima.
The YouthWorks Council acts as a board of directors over the YouthWorks Initiative by helping raise and allocate funds, initiate events, and encourage volunteerism and community support among their peers.
YouthWorks has helped me with choosing my career to a great extent because of all the experiences I have received by being part of this community.
- Odalys, Wapato graduate
You’ve probably heard of YouthWorks through the local pageants held at participating high schools throughout the Valley. These popular events remind us how passionate, engaged, and driven the youth in our Valley are for making their communities a better place to live.
Proceeds from YouthWorks high school pageants directly benefit pediatric programs through the Children’s Miracle Network at Yakima Memorial Hospital and Children’s Village, serving thousands of children each year through hospital treatment, educational programs, and family services.
Since 100% of the funds stay local, supporting the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Unit, Family Birthplace, Maternal Health, and Children’s Village, students see the positive effects of their efforts and walk away knowing that they can play a part in bettering their hometown.
Each fall, participating high schools nominate and select their contestants who compete for the title of Mr. [Participating High School]. Each school is paired with a Miracle Child who has benefited from programs or services at Yakima Memorial Hospital and/or Children’s Village. Throughout the process, candidates tour Children’s Village, the NICU, and the Pediatric Unit, volunteer at weekend sports events with kids with special health care needs, and participate in a handful of fundraising activities, including restaurant takeovers across the Yakima Valley. The months-long program culminates on pageant night, where the contestants put together group dances, humorous skits, honor special heroes in their lives, and answer on-stage questions—ending the night by crowning someone as the congeniality winner and overall pageant winner. Each Pageant winner receives a scholarship check through Gesa Credit Union.