Photo: Emily Kurburski was Great Lakes Energy’s representative to the 2015 Rural Electric Youth Tour (front row, third from left) and has received a generationOn grant from NRECA for a community service project.

Emily Kurburski, a member of Great Lakes Energy, has received a 2015 generationOn grant from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

One of 23 winners, the 18-year-old Kurburski won the award for her student service project that will help the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan. It’s a domestic violence shelter and counseling center for women and families, and the aim of her project is to help provide proper nutrition and fresh, healthy meals to women and families who stay there. The shelter also operates a food pantry for the families to use when needed.

“The issue that this project will address is giving nutritious meals that meet current standards for women who are battling different situations and who might not have the time to make a meal for their family,” Kurburski explains in her grant application. “When you are caught up in a situation that is very dangerous for yourself and your children, you might not have the time to make a nice meal, yet alone one that is nutritious.”

Using a budget of $50 weekly from the grant money, Kurburski will assess the needed food items that haven’t been donated to the Center and make a list of what could be nutrient-rich. Since most of the donated food is non-perishable, she will make a weekly list, shop, and bring fresh foods back to the shelter.

The project’s timeline is September through December 2015, and Kurburski will submit a grant impact report in January 2016.

“Through this project, I hope to not only give these women something they might not be able to give themselves, but show them that healthy options are available,” Kurburski said. The impact of her project is both short- and long-term, she adds, because they’ll be learning about different healthy food combinations that are easy to make when money and time are tight.

Kurburski also represented Great Lakes Energy at NRECA’s Rural Electric Youth Tour of Washington, D.C., in June, which is where she found out about the generationOn grant.  NRECA is partnering for the second year with generationOn, the youth and family division of Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. Through this partnership, Youth Tour participants can apply for a $500 grant to support local community service projects, and one grant is awarded per state. NRECA made 500 grants available to its 2015 Youth Tour participants.

generationOn ( also provides thousands of service project ideas, lessons, toolkits, grants, issue education resources, recognition, training and online service tracking.