Overlook Junior Board Awards Grant to Behavioral Health Department
Student representatives from 12 area high schools recently completed their year as members of the Overlook Foundation Junior Board, which culminated in their awarding of a nearly $19,000 grant to the Behavioral Health Department at Overlook Medical Center.
The program included one student each, all juniors, from: Chatham High School, Governor Livingston High School, Kent Place School, Millburn High School, Newark Academy, New Providence High School, Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child, Oratory Preparatory School, The Pingry School, Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, Summit High School, and Westfield High School.
Meeting monthly, the students were exposed to the operation of a hospital foundation as the fund-raising arm of a nonprofit regional medical center. They interacted with hospital personnel, as well as foundation trustees and staff, enabling them to better understand the importance of philanthropy in meeting the needs of Overlook’s patients and their families.
The Junior Board was also charged with developing a grant application that was distributed to four hospital departments of their choosing, with the decision-making process for awarding the grant left in their hands. They conducted department visits, evaluating the needs within each of these areas, and then held a variety of fund raisers. A current and a past foundation trustee both pledged up to a $5,000 challenge match toward their efforts.
“Every one of the programs that we looked at was certainly worthy of our funding, so our discussions as a group were pretty intense,” says Surina Gupta, a rising senior at Summit High School. “Ultimately, we felt that we could have the broadest impact by awarding the grant to the Behavioral Health Department which cares for more than 1,000 inpatients annually, most of whom stay in the hospital for a week on average.”
Two other rising seniors, Kiran Damodaran from Newark Academy and Logan Richardson from Chatham High School, will be returning to the board room this fall as co-chairs of the 2016-17 Junior Board, using what they’ve learned to help guide a new group of students through the experience.