The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


July 9, 2014

‘Passionate about Johnstown’: Community Foundation interns seek ideas to enhance region; grants available

JOHNSTOWN — Two new initiatives share the mission of linking students with organizations to create better communities.

Participants in the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies’ Youth Philanthropy Internship program announced Wednesday they are looking for nonprofits or government entities from Cambria, Somerset and Bedford counties to develop programs for a teen marketing campaign and an educational campaign that focuses on sustainable food supplies and healthy living.

The plan is to award two $25,000 grants to fund programs that benefit teens and young adults.

“The interns have been assessing community needs through research, site visits and interviews and noticing where these programs could make the most impact,” said Angie Berzonski, the Community Foundation’s program and communications officer.

Two teams of interns are working on projects.

One team is led by senior intern Kendra Slis and includes Mikella Buncich, Ryan King, Daniel Klein and Elizabeth Stiffler.

They are working a campaign – Hometowns Exposed, What’s In Your Backyard? – to focus on bringing awareness to local events, activities and businesses geared toward teen interests using mobile app development and social media.

King, a recent graduate of Bishop McCort Catholic High School, said the project is aimed at eradicating that all-too-familiar phrase, “There’s nothing to do here.”

“I’m passionate about Johnstown and love where I come from, so that’s kind of the drive behind this,” he said. “We hope to work with business leaders who can develop a mobile app, connect with local schools to help create it and then keep it going.”

King will be a freshman in the fall at Chapman University in California. He plans to major in creative producing and pursue a career in film.

The second team is led by senior intern Anthony Wagner and includes Nathan Madison, Abigail Paonessa, Jonathan Skufca and Kaitlyn Thomas.

Their food insecurity educational initiative – Knowing, Eating and Yearning for Sustainability – aims to combat problems and create sustainable and healthy lifestyles for those affected. The program is designed to work with middle and high school students to address high levels of food insecurity among youth and impoverished families.

“We want to attack this because we are seeing it’s an issue,” said Thomas, a recent graduate of Richland High School. “We think this will generate a lot of interest, and working together we can make this a reality.”

She plans to attend St. Vincent College in the fall and major in biochemistry.

The deadline to submit proposals for either program is noon July 31.

Submissions can be sent to the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, attention: 2014 Youth Philanthropy Internship Program, 116 Market St., Suite 4, Johnstown, Pa. 15901.

Proposals also can be submitted electronically to

A grant announcement and check presentation will be held Aug. 7.

For more information, call 536-7741.

Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.


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