DENVILLE, NJ -- Main Street Philanthropy (MSP) held a special virtual ceremony in June to recognize 15 seniors enrolled in its senior capstone seminar at the Morris County School of Technology (MCST).

MSP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers to high school students a curriculum about nonprofit organizations. Founder Ryan Ponsford launched MSP in California in 2012. The following year, MSP Ambassador Yale Levey introduced the first class in New Jersey. Since that time, MSP has been integrated into more than 50 high schools across the United States. MCST is the sixth high school (and fifth district) in New Jersey to offer MSP's program.

This year's MCST students learned about the many facets of the philanthropy world, including how to read and manage tax forms, review and analyze critical business information, and professionally fundraise and interact with nonprofits and other organizations. The students also gained interpersonal skills valuable for any future career.

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The 2020 capstone graduates attended classes from October 2019 through June 2020. The 15 graduates and their team names included C.A.S.H. For a Cause (Chris Norton, Art Nagle, Shara Mae Lintag and Hayley Presti), Triple R-Refresh, Revive, Restore (Alex Pallozzi, Dominic DeAlmeida, Mackenzi Catalano, Charlotte Lavender and Steven Fasano), Team Humanitarian (Jillian Harrington, Ranjan Kesavan and Nicholas Montesano), and Team T.I.G.A. (To Improve Generation Alpha) (MacKenzie Korman, Ireland Walker and Cheyenne Baker).

Local nonprofit organizations with which the students engaged included St. Peter's Orphanage (a residence/orphanage for boys), My Rainbow’s Place (a child advocacy organization), Cancer Hope Network (an organization that supports families dealing with cancer), Embrace Relief (an organization that provides humanitarian and disaster relief), Good Grief (an advocacy organization for grieving children), and The Chapel (a Christian-based youth ministry).

“The kids that go through our process never cease to amaze me,” said Levey.

“They are so hungry for opportunities to make a difference and when presented with the blueprint for how to do that, they come alive and thrive. However, this particular class was unique in one special way. It’s the first class I’ve presided over where every measure of growth that we track ended up with a positive number. That’s never happened before. So, their personal growth as a unit was really very significant. I’m so proud of what these kids have accomplished.”

The graduates also expressed pride in their accomplishments.

“MSP is a really great program, and I’d love to see it implemented in a way that gets even younger kids involved,” said 18-year-old Ranjan Kesavan, from Parsippany, whose team got to help and donate to the Cancer Hope Network.

“As seniors, many of us were already involved in community service and volunteering, but this program could definitely help kids find causes they are passionate about and can contribute to them. Many of these organizations are looking for donations of time rather than money, so there can definitely be great opportunities for younger students.”


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