Young Philanthropists Urged to “Dream It, Believe It, Do It” at Annual YEP Conference

MSU Lady Bears basketball coach Kellie Harper addresses YEPers at this week's fall conference.

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks annual Youth Empowerment Project fall conference was held yesterday at Drury University. More than 150 students from 20 different districts across the CFO service area attended the conference, which was keynoted by new Missouri State University basketball coach Kellie Harper.

A former University of Tennessee standout and three-time NCAA champion, Harper urged students to embrace and persist in chasing their dreams. Growing up in rural Sparta, Tenn., Harper talked about how early athletic success taught her to be confident and reach for the stars, and how the humbling side of athletics made her a stronger person. Emphasizing the three-step process she uses with her basketball teams, Harper urged students to “Dream It, Believe It, Do It” when it comes to whatever dream or passion they may have, and not listen to anyone else. “You’re actually the only person who has to believe in your dream, but you have to believe,” Harper said.

Harper also lauded the YEPers for making a difference in the lives of others at an early age.

“There is no doubt that making a difference in the lives of others will give you a satisfaction and joy that you can’t reproduce,” she said. “Knowing one person can make a difference and better your community… that’s a powerful bit of knowledge.”

The day also included breakout sessions, hosted by fellow YEP chapters and CFO staff, on everything from grantmaking to event planning to the 2013 grant rounds.

For more information YEP, or to inquire about how to start a chapter at your school, please go to or contact Bridget Dierks at

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