Batesville, In.— The Ripley Youth Outreach program, a student based committee, has gone the distance in helping their communities. The students comprised of the five local school districts have made it their goal to improve Ripley County through various projects and selections of grants. The current RYO members are: Joel Tunny – President, Trent Linville – Vice President, Cady Garcia – Publicity Chair, Clarisse Zigan – Secretary, Vanessa Alvarez, Ava Geers, Haley Diaz, Hanna Hurm, Nathan Ortt, Toria Tucker and Damon Ward.The students favorite and very popular project consists of the Birthday Box. A Birthday Box holds the fundamentals for the celebration of a child’s birthday. Items within the boxes specifically include a cake mix, frosting, candles, and colorful balloons. The contents of the boxes are collected through drives or donations organized by the students at their school. After collection, the students take time during their meeting sessions to pack the boxes themselves, allowing the box to be more personal, knowing that box will brighten the day and celebration of a special child. Birthday boxes are dispersed out to local food pantries and given to those in need.RYO also gives the student leaders the ability to hand out grants to their own schools. Each school is allowed up to $1,000 in order to improve their school in various ways such as school supplies or projects. The students discuss each submitted grant very thoroughly and distribute the grant into portions that they strongly agree will better a students education or school lifestyle. Batesville High School will break their $1,000 in 5 ways with $200 to BIS to fund the 50 x 50 program (art program), $45 to BMS to purchase calculators for Academic Team, $250 to BHS to purchase equipment for Steel Drum band, $405 to BPS to purchase supplies to build compost bin and $100 to BIS to purchase 7 scientific calculators for the Resource Room. Milan Elementary School – $550 for kindergarten stem kits. JCD Elementary School – $300 for kindergarten welcome packs and JCD Jr/Sr High School – $400 for video announcements supplies. South Ripley High School – $400 for Champions Together and $500 for Bio-Med Program. Oldenburg Academy – $750 for Student Lounge/Concession Stand remodel.New this year – RYO decided to award grants to support youth programs outside of school. The group pooled their funds and proactively supported the following programs: Batesville Memorial Public Library – $550 to update youth room and High Point Health (fka-Dearborn Co. Hospital) – $550 for WIC’s Bump to Buckle Car Seat Program.