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Serving DeKalb County, IL Since 1993

Get to know the 2019-2020 YEP members a little more through ongoing YEP Member Spotlights. Learn more about their charitable interests and see what inspires them to make a positive impact in their community. 

Hi my name is Olivia Simmons...

I am currently a senior at Genoa-Kingston High School (class of 2020) and a 4th year member of YEP. This year I have the opportunity to serve as Vice Chair on the YEP Executive Committee.

If you could sum me up in one word, my one word would be "DETERMINED".

What makes you, YOU?!

I love to do art and create things. I recently took this one step further than just a love and created my own charity bakery. I also started selling my artwork to raise money for other nonprofits.

I love being outdoors and going hiking. Plus, I really like rain. I live with my parents, my three brothers, and 2 exchange students (who are both boys). I have never had a pet, but I hope to change that very soon!

What are your greatest YEP takeaways so far?

My biggest takeaways from YEP so far are my personal growth. I have become a better, more understanding, and more active leader in my community. The exposure to issues and solutions that affect youth and the community are something I’ll take with me as I begin a new chapter in my life next year. Overall, YEP has shown me the kind of leader I want to be and how to be that leader in the community.

What are YOUR charitable interests in the community? (What issues fire you up?)

The biggest issue that I see in our community is the lack of fresh, affordable fruit, and vegetables for families in need. I see a lot of families turning to the food pantry and that is a great option, but they don’t always have a variety of fresh produce.

If you were given $100,000 in funding, what would you do with the money to align it with your answer above?


If I had $100,000 in funding the first thing I would do is expand the DeKalb County Community Gardens. I see this as a great resource to get that produce but we need to expand it to reach as many members of the community as possible. Second, I would purchase, at a low cost, the produce many grocery stores are about to throw out. When bananas get yellow, before they are bad, many grocery stores will throw them out. This is the same for other types of produce. Food is wasted every day and I believe families could benefit from this produce.

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