All posts by Drew Ward

Global Youth Service 2019

Giving back to the community is integral to the Youth Advisory Council’s many young members. Every month, there are opportunities for students to do so at meetings, especially when the meetings happen to coincide with national holidays celebrating youth service.  From April 12-14, teenagers and other youth across the globe engage in acts of community service to celebrate Global Youth Service Day. Some projects could focus on IMG_9377increasing literacy rates in a community, others on planting trees for environmental awareness; for this YAC group, however, Global Youth Service Day provided an opportunity to address a prevalent issue in Ionia and Montcalm counties, food insecurity.

One of the organizations attending to the food needs of children all school year is IM KIDS 3rd Meal,  who has a recurring partnership with the YAC group. This past April, YAC members gathered jars of peanut butter in a drive called Peanut Butter for a Purpose. The gathered food was then used to make over 2000 sandwiches, enough for nearly a week of meals for students after school. To get an idea of what this program encompasses and what impact it has, watch this video. Although it aired in 2018, the message and effect have remained the same: youth in the community come together to provide meals for underprivileged individuals. More information about the YAC and other programs that the group is involved with is available to explore on our site!

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service 2019

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service is a chance for youth in their communities to engage in service projects to better the lives of those around them. On January 21, 2019, more than 50 members of the Ionia County Youth Advisory Council (YAC) packed 600 lunches at IM Kids 3rd Meal. The YAC is made up of students from all the schools in Ionia County, and even from Lowell- their objective is to produce effective servant leaders who engage in projects and designate grant funding for local people and or organizations who focus on advancing the youth of the community. One of the groups that the YAC works closely with is called IM Kids 3rd Meal.

IMG_9379Over 5000 children in Ionia and Montcalm counties are food insecure, meaning that they may not get the chance to eat three meals a day.  IM Kids 3rd Meal offers succor for these people and relies solely on volunteer groups to ensure its continuity. These meals and the thousands more that are distributed throughout Ionia and Montcalm counties are vital to the families that work hard to put food on their tables. If you want to get involved with IM Kids or are interested in receiving more information, head to the program’s website at

The Youth Advisory Council participates in other events throughout the year, as well. Projects like the annual Strive 2 Arrive Alive Teen Driver Safety Conference and the Michigan Youth Leadership training camp are entirely youth-planned and youth-led and rely on the leadership and altruism of a IMG_9381dedicated group of local teenagers.  Information on these events and other activities can be found under various tabs located at the top and side of this website.