Nic Euse will be collecting scraps from his grandfather’s lumberyard for a special project.

The Silver Creek teen is creating Little Free Libraries to install in the community.

The libraries are a book-sharing system. Resembling mailboxes or birdhouses, the libraries contain books that can be taken and returned later for others to enjoy.

“We have a lot of elementary kids and elderly people who like to read but can’t when the library isn’t open,” Euse said.

Euse, 14, said he plans to make three of the libraries with the money he was recently awarded through the annual Youth Philanthropy Contest.

The Twin River student’s project is one of four that received a $1,000 grant from the Columbus Philanthropy Council. The contest challenges young people to come up with ideas to make a difference in their communities.

Euse said he hopes to put the Little Free Libraries where they can be easily accessed by children and seniors. He will build them using scrap wood and use the grant money to buy books.

Another project comes from siblings Rachel Oceguera, 17, and Amos Zelasney, 15. The Columbus High School students will plant a pollinator garden for bees and butterflies.

Oceguera said she got the idea from research she conducted after learning about the Bring Back the Bees campaign from Honey Nut Cheerios. That effort encourages people to plant wildflowers by providing consumers with seed packets.

The local teens call their project Save the Bees and they plan to create a community garden at a site that has not yet been selected using grant money to purchase native plants that attract bees and other pollinators.

Oceguera said she learned a lot about the importance of bees while researching the project. She also hopes to work with the Platte County Extension Office and 4-H program to educate the public about pollinators.

Madeline Hudnall and four others were awarded grant funding for an AYSO VIP project.

The 15-year-old CHS student said the local youth soccer program is starting a club for those with special needs. Grant funding will purchase adaptive equipment such as oversize soccer balls that can be used by people in wheelchairs.

Hudnall said she likes the idea for the program and wanted to support it because it gives youths with special needs the chance to participate in a sport.

Others who are part of the project include Lillian Hudnall, 12; Lillian Loosvelt, 15; Maclain Shevlin, 15; and Ella Shevlin, 11. The group also plans to volunteer at VIP practices and games.

A project by the Lakeview Junior/Senior High School student council also received funding.

The Super Heroes Save Lives project will provide book bags for people staying at Columbus Rescue Mission. The bags will be filled with personal hygiene items such as soap, shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste and dental floss. Also included will be a word find for adults, coloring books for children, hats, gloves, socks and tie blankets made by Lakeview students.

Lakeview junior Kelli Schoch said about 40 student council members are involved in the project and they hope to deliver the bags to the shelter before Christmas.

There will be 25 bags for men, 10 for women and five for children. Schoch, 16, said she hopes those who receive the bags will view them as part of a new start to their lives.

“We’re hoping it is a new beginning and that it gives them hope for the future, gets them back on their feet again and shows them that someone cares about them,” she said.

This is the fifth year the Columbus Philanthropy Council has sponsored the contest for youths in kindergarten through age 22. Grant funding is supported by proceeds from the 2014 Taste of Columbus event, The Sherwood Foundation and individual donors.

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