Megan Laura Churchman and Justin Churchman Awarded the Changing Our World/Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, Ages 18-23
November 15, 2011
Nominated by the AFP West Texas Chapter/Southern New Mexico Chapter
Megan and Justin Churchman are a dynamic brother-and-sister fundraising and philanthropic team that has been championing multiple causes from a very young age.
Ms. Churchman, a junior at the University of Texas-El Paso majoring in early childhood education, is a Young Life mentor and works with high school students every week, in addition to her service as an assistant scout leader for a local Girl Scout troop in a homeless women’s shelter.
Since 2009, Ms. Churchman has volunteered every summer at Cry Cameroon, an orphanage in Fundong, Cameroon. She has raised more than $15,000 to support various projects at the orphanage and recruited 15 volunteers to assist her in efforts. She has created a nutritional program for hundreds of children, painted facilities, repaired schools, taught English and sewing classes, distributed clothing, and built under-bed storage drawers and a new kitchen, to name just a few activities.
Mr. Churchman graduated from Coronado High School in El Paso and now attends Florida Institute of Technology, where he is majoring in mechanical engineering. While in high school, he co-founded the InterAct Rotary Club and helped bring Teens in the Driver’s Seat, a peer-to-peer safety program for youth, to the school. Through InterAct, he led students in building the first outdoor playground for a nearby disadvantaged community and moveable walls to give a family homeless shelter flexibility in housing its residents.
In 2009, Mr. Churchman was named a founding board member of THE LEAGUE’s National Youth Commission, a global youth service movement focused on bringing attention to young people involved in community service. Justin was named the commission’s first fundraising chair.
Since the mid-2000s, the Churchmans have worked as fundraising and program volunteers for Casas por Cristo, a multi-national charity that brings people to Mexico and Central America to build homes for the homeless. Mr. Churchman built his first home in Ciudad Juarez, one of the most violent cities in the world because of its ongoing drug war, at the age of twelve. He completed his goal of building 18 homes by his 18th birthday in 2010, and has built three more since then. Ms. Churchman has built six houses and is planning her seventh in the spring of 2012.
The siblings have also helped with fundraising and volunteer management. Mr. Churchman has raised more than $70,000 for building materials, starting with a $6,000 pledge from Western Refining in El Paso. The company has continued its support of Casas por Cristo because of his involvement. Ms. Churchman raised over $5,000 in 2010 alone for the construction of houses while recruiting and managing 20 other volunteers to help.
Both Churchmans remain active in their church, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, while also serving on the board of their family foundation, Our Father’s Foundation, actively assisting in grant-making decisions and bringing new proposals to the board. Both have volunteered for the Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for the Cure for the past decade. Despite their tremendous volunteer activities, both have managed to be excellent students and athletes.
AFP is honored to present the Changing Our World/Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, Ages 18-23, to Megan and Justin Churchman.