As we start another school year, we know that young people learn valuable lessons outside the classroom, as well. As parents, we try and enrich their lives with diverse educational opportunities. I believe strongly that one of the most important things we can do is to encourage our children to think about other people and about our community.

I have been fortunate to volunteer with the Young Philanthropists program coordinated by the New Canaan Community Foundation. I've seen firsthand how the students who participate in this group mature and grow in their perspective as they learn about the needs of our community's residents and the nonprofit organizations and services that address those needs. Expanding their horizons beyond the classroom and sports field and allowing them to think about the broader world is incredibly valuable. The kids see opportunities to change the world for the better and it motivates them to think about their role in our community in a new and impactful way.

One recent graduate, Austin Milunovich, now a freshman at Harvard, expressed his appreciation well, saying, "I have learned so much about philanthropy and about our community, and I'm sure the lessons I learned will help me in my future community service endeavors. It has been a fantastic experience and I wish I could do it all again."

For more information about this unique program, please visit the community foundation's website at www.newcanaancf.org or call the office at 203-966-0231.

Susan Boston

New Canaan