SUMMIT, NJ - Student representatives from 12 area high schools recently completed the first full year of a Junior Board program with the Overlook Foundation, which culminated in their awarding of a $10,000 grant to the Eating Disorders Program 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 the first Monday of every month, 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.

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The Junior Board was also charged with developing a grant application that was distributed to hospital departments of their choosing, with the decision-making process for awarding the grant left in their hands. After raising close to $5,000, which was matched by an Overlook Foundation trustee, they conducted department visits and evaluated the needs within each of these areas.

“As a group, we reviewed every application and discussed the benefits that would be realized with these funds,” explains Hannah Curtis, a rising senior at Pingry. “We felt that we could have the greatest impact by awarding the grant to the Eating Disorders Program in support of its efforts specifically for 8- to 12-year-olds, which will be underway this summer.”

Hannah and another rising senior, Andrew Vita from Oratory Prep, will be returning to the board room this fall as co-chairs of the 2015-16 Junior Board, using what they’ve learned to help guide a new group of students through the experience.