Thousands of Michigan youth volunteered to make an impact in their communities as part of Global Youth Service Day on April 21-23.
The Ionia County Youth Advisory Council hosted a project that addressed the issue of childhood hunger by packing meals for almost 600 children at IM Kids 3rd Meal on
April 21st. The project will provide ready to eat, well-balanced evening meals to food insecure children in Montcalm and Ionia counties. Over 70 students and AmeriCorps volunteers will be participating in the project.
IM Kids 3rd Meal is committed to ending childhood hunger by providing nutritious 3rd meals to 565 food insecure children at six schools in Ionia and Montcalm counties. Each school day, volunteers prepare and package the meals which are then distributed to the schools and children at the end of the day. Interested volunteers can get involved with this program by visiting www.imkids.org.
Portland High School Senior Jack Lufkin and Lowell High School Senior Shannon Hoekstra are co-chairs for Ionia YAC. They both said that getting out in the community to do these projects is the best part of being a YAC member.
“It’s just a way for us to give back to this community, because we’re always in our meetings and planning things, but now we get to work hands-on and help all these kids,” Hoekstra said.
Lufkin said getting out in the community and doing these projects also spread awareness on what YAC is and what the group does.
“We are a student-run program that does projects and has certain requirements or goals that we want to achieve. We also do the statewide driver’s safety conference in October and that’s one of the things that we really want to focus on and also things like achievement, food insecurity,” Lufkin said.
The Ionia County Youth Advisory Council has received a mini-grant from the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC) and Youth Service America (YSA) to aid youth across the state to address critical issues in their communities, including education, economic opportunity, health, clean energy and environmental stewardship, hunger, homelessness, supporting veterans and military families, and public safety.
MCSC and Youth Service America, distributed $7,000 in mini-grant funds for 23 Global Youth Service Day projects that will engage 2,000 youth volunteers in close to 10,000 volunteer hours.
Established in 1988 by Youth Service America, Global Youth Service Day is the largest service event in the world and is now celebrated in more than 100 countries.
“Engaging youth in volunteerism is an incredibly rewarding experience for everyone involved,” said Ginna Holmes, MCSC executive director. “We are proud to support these projects and assist youth in making a difference in their communities.”
The Michigan Community Service Commission utilizes service as a strategy to address the state’s most pressing issues and empowers volunteers to strengthen communities. In 2016-2017, the MCSC is granting more than $7 million in federal funds to local communities for volunteer programs and activities, including 27 AmeriCorps programs. The Governor’s Service Awards, Volunteer Michigan and Mentor Michigan are also premier programs of the MCSC. The MCSC is housed in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. For more information visit www.michigan.gov/volunteer.