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Don Young Believes In Giving Back

posted by admin
August 23, 2013

Don Young

Wildomar resident Don Young believes in giving back.

The 82-year-old Army veteran and retired Ready Mix truck driver was one of the founding board members of the Lake Elsinore Valley Education Foundation, has been an active Mason for nearly 30 years, and a Shriner for nearly the same amount of time.

“Somewhere along the line, everyone’s had someone who took you by the hand and said try this … or someone who said, ‘I have a lot of confidence in you, I think you can do this,” Young said. “After you’ve had a successful lifetime of work, it’s time for you to come on back and help someone.”

As a Mason and a Shriner, Young said it’s his job to help people wherever he can.

He was master of Lake Elsinore’s Masonic Lodge #289 for three years and has also been a state officer with the grand lodge.

He has been a member of the Masons for 58 years and has been active for about the last 25 years. One of the activities of the masons is to perform an opening ceremony for new schools.

“We have a ceremony for new schools called a Cornerstone,” Young said. “We bring officers in from all over the state.”

More than 15 years ago, Young attended the Cornerstone ceremony for William Collier Elementary School in Wildomar, part of Lake Elsinore Unified School District.

After the ceremony, the principal asked Young to volunteer in some classrooms as an aide.

“This will be my 16th year there and I’ll be a teacher’s aide,” Young said. “I have just a great time with that and the children, students in first through third grades will get help with the fundamentals.”

Young has spent his time in kindergarten through third-grade classes and has seen how much the individual attention helps the students and the teachers.

“If they don’t get those fundamentals they start slipping behind,” he said. “If the teacher spends more time with the kids that are struggling, she has to neglect the rest of the class and that doesn’t work.”

Young volunteers in Cathy Mytinger’s first-grade class.

“She says, ‘you just can’t believe what you do,’” Young said. “It’s so nice.”

As a Shriner, Young implemented the Penny for a Purpose fundraiser at area schools in which students donate pennies to raise funds for burn victims.

“In the U.S., we have 22 hospitals for burn victims and orthopedics and things like that,” Young said. “We finance the whole thing through donations. One hundred percent of everything we collect goes in.”

In the first year of the fundraiser, Young expected students to raise about $100. Instead, students raised about $1,100.

Over more than a decade of the program, students have raised more than $11,000.

“I get bags of pennies, jars of pennies,” Young said. “I take them down to my credit union and it’s helping. It gives me a great feeling that I’m able to help someone.”

Young was also one of the founding members of the Lake Elsinore Valley Education Foundation, which provides scholarships to area students. He is currently treasurer for the nonprofit foundation.

“We had a young lady who got one of our scholarships and she was going to go to Northwestern,” Young said. “I told her, ‘If I ever find out you’re a huge success and you’re up there in Hollywood winning an Emmy, I’m going to show up at your door.”



AGE: 82



NOTABLE: Teacher’s aide for 16 years, Mason and Shriner, founding member of Lake Elsinore Valley Education Foundation

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