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Youth ‘wired’ for philanthropy


Colton Strawser says his brain is just ‘wired’ for philanthropy. He began volunteering for PC’s For Youth in 2008 and became the director of marketing and fundraising. In the fall of 2009, he became the organization’s executive director. He is responsible for community presentations, grant writing, event planning, managing agency funds, and variety of other tasks.

Colton, 17, is a student at Lakeland High School and the son of Michael and Karen Strawser of Wolcottville. He is the grandson of Ted and Peggy Strawser of Wolcottville and the late Wayne Suever and Sue Suever of Marion, Ind.

PC’s For Youth was founded in 2006 by Kyle Gough, who was then a sophomore at Westview Jr.-Sr. High School. He realized that not all students had access to a computer to complete their schoolwork/reports, making them fall behind in school.

Gough started the organization by himself in his basement, serving only LaGrange County. Under Strawser’s leadership, with his marketing and fundraising capabilities, PC’s For Youth is now located in an office in downtown LaGrange and serves middle school, high school, college and GED students in LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, DeKalb, Elkhart and Kosciusko counties.

According to Strawser, Peoples Federal Savings Bank of LaGrange donated use of the office building on High Street, right across from the LaGrange County Public Library, funding all the utilities except internet service.

The non-profit agency operates on a small budget, with about half of its funds coming from grants and the other half from the annual fundraising dinner. It has received support from area community foundations.

For his service in the community, Strawser recently received his fourth President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Obama and an Indiana State Senate Certificate of Congratulations from Indiana Senator Sue Glick. He also received a letter of congratulations for Indiana Representative Marlin Stutzman. He has received the bronze, silver and gold medals for the President’s Volunteer Service Award from President George W. Bush while he was in office, and is currently working toward the President’s Call to Service Award, which is given after 4,000 hours of community service (he is already over halfway there). He has also been recognized as one of six state finalists for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards –receiving an engraved bronze Distinguished Finalist medallion.