GODFREY, IL – It is time again for the RiverBend Growth Association Young Adults Committee (YAC) to host its annual scholarship raffle.

And with your purchased tickets, you’ll not only have several chances to win some impressive prizes; but you’ll also experience a sense of fulfillment that can only come from supporting the Riverbend area’s youth today and helping to shape them into tomorrow’s leaders.

The RBGA YAC is composed of four representatives from each of the RiverBend Growth Association’s member schools, plus two homeschool students. High school student representatives consist of two juniors and two seniors from Alton High School, Civic Memorial High School, East Alton-Wood River High School, Marquette Catholic High School, and Roxana High School.

These YAC student representatives are mentored throughout the school year by members of the RiverBend Growth Association.

Terri Herbstreit is one of those mentors and has been for five years now. She is the vice president of accounting at 1st MidAmerica Credit Union.

“As mentors, we are here to guide students through situations that may feel overwhelming,” Herbstreit notes. “Whether it’s reaching out to local businesses asking for donations to support the scholarship raffle or attending a Member Mingle event, our role is to provide support and encouragement every step of the way. Mentoring students cultivates personal and professional growth for both parties.

“And as a mentor, it brings immense satisfaction in witnessing students’ growth as they progress through the program,” she further notes.

John Barnerd is another mentor that works with the YAC students. Also marking five years in that role, Barnerd is a partner at Simmons Hanly Conroy law firm in Alton. His mentor role comes from a particularly unique perspective, however.

“As a former YAC student myself, it has been a way for me to give back to a program that helped me when I was in high school,” Barnerd shares. “The students have someone in the local business community who can help them with resumes, be a reference for them for a job application, or just give them advice about a career they are interested in.

“They are also learning what it means to give back to their community which is a lesson that they will hopefully carry with them for their entire lives,” he adds.

Each school year, the YAC students partner with area non-profit organizations to volunteer and learn about their mission. This year, the students have had an opportunity to learn from these local non-profit organizations: Riverbend Family Ministries, Community Hope Center, Beverly Farm, Senior Services Plus and Lewis and Clark Habitat for Humanity.

“These students not only get the ability to interact with and form bonds with students from other schools, but they also get to interact with leaders of local business and charitable organizations,” says Barnerd. “They are actively forming relationships that can help them in the future.”

“Students have the opportunity to engage with at least ten non-profit organizations throughout their two-year tenure with the committee,” Herbstreit explains. “This exposure not only enriches their understanding of community service but also fosters a deeper connection to the diverse needs and initiatives within the Riverbend area.

“Participation in the committee also offers a valuable opportunity to mingle with peers from nearby schools. These conversations allow students to build meaningful connections and expand their network of contacts,” Herbstreit says further.

Member Engagement Director Stefanie Withers with the RiverBend Growth Association further adds, “The mission of the Young Adults Committee is to teach the students the importance of giving back to their communities, with our focus on the RBGA’s nonprofit members.

“Our goal is to provide an opportunity for our young adults to learn about their regional chamber of commerce and the organizations that make up our Riverbend. We would like to think by doing so the students will recognize the value in their own community and invest in its growth and choose to plant their roots,” Withers further notes. “The students on this committee have learned many skills and also have had added benefits.”

The students’ acquired skills and benefits include:

  • development of public speaking, leadership, organization, sales/marketing, team building and time management skills,
  • exposure to the organizations within the community,
  • receipt of letters of recommendation,
  • financial reward in the form of scholarships, and
  • established friendships and relationships.

Again this year, YAC students have collaborated to design, coordinate, and present a fundraiser raffle that collected proceeds to support the committee’s scholarship fund. Funded scholarships will be awarded to selected YAC students at the end of the school year during the Growth Association’s annual Chamber Choice Awards luncheon.

Barnerd says, “Supporting the RBGA Young Adults Committee scholarship is important because it provides opportunities for some of the best and brightest students our area has to offer. It will allow these students to be able to afford their higher education cost, while letting these students know that their community supports them.”

“This scholarship sets itself apart by prioritizing leadership and community involvement over academic achievements,” adds Herbstreit. “Recognizing students’ dedication and contributions to the community, this scholarship serves as a testament to their hard work. Not only does it offer recognition, but it also ignites a sense of pride and motivation within recipients, encouraging them to further engage in volunteerism within the Riverbend area.”

Raffle prizes up for grabs by those who buy tickets include $1,000 cash, 65” TV, a Kate Spade purse and wristlet, a MacBook, Kendra Scott necklaces, Alton River Dragons season tickets, local gift card bundles, and a set of 4 St. Louis Cardinals tickets.

Ticket purchases available for the drawing are 1 ticket for $10, 8 tickets for $50, and 20 tickets for $100. To purchase your tickets online, visit https://growthassociation.com/yac-raffle/.

You may also call (618) 467-2280 or stop in person at the Benjamin Godfrey Mansion RBGA office (6722 Godfrey Road, Godfrey, IL 62035) to purchase your raffle tickets.

For any questions about the raffle, or about the Young Adults Committee, contact Stefanie Withers at (618) 467-2284 or by email at swithers@growthassociation.com.

The RiverBend Growth Association is the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization for the 11 communities known as the Riverbend. For more information about the Growth Association, visit www.growthassociation.com or call (618) 467-2280.