The Fund for Santa Barbara has announced that the Youth Making Change Program has kicked off its second year.

The YMC program was launched in 2008 as a way to engage young people in philanthropy, support youth-led community work and to train the next generation of grant-makers. Each year, a group of young people are chosen to participate on the Youth Making Change Board (made up of youths ages 13 to 19).

Each YMC board is charged with assessing the needs and issues in the community and offering grants and other assistance to youth-led projects that address critical issues and challenges directly affecting youth. YMC 2009-10 is made up of two separate boards, one each in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara. Both boards will make grants in the amount of $500 to $5,000 (a total of $10,000 per board) to fund projects in Santa Barbara County.

The Youth Making Change grant application is available for download in English and Spanish from the YMC Web site, The Fund for Santa Barbara Web site or by visiting the fund’s offices, at 120 E. Jones St., Suite No. 127 in Santa Maria or 26 W. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.

Basic project requirements (see application for complete requirements):

» The project must be youth-driven, with all aspects of the project led by youth ages 12 to 23.

» Youths in the community must benefit from the project (not just project organizers).

» The project must address a social issue or meet a need facing young people in Santa Barbara County.

» The project must be located in Santa Barbara County.

» The project must have an adult ally or a sponsoring organization, such as a school or community-based organization.

Interested groups must attend one on the following YMC applicant workshops:

» Santa Barbara: 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Twelve35 Teen Center, 1235 Chapala St.

» Santa Maria: 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Abel Maldonado Youth Center, 600 S. McClelland St.

Questions or reservations for the applicant workshops may be directed to program manager Cristina Gonzalez at cgonzalez@fundsantabarbara.org or 805.922.1707. Staff members can assist in English or Spanish. Groups must submit completed applications by 5 p.m. Nov. 20.

— Geoff Green is executive director of The Fund for Santa Barbara.