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6th Annual Strive 2 Arrive Alive Conference

The 6th Annual Strive 2 Arrive Alive Teen Driver Safety Conference was held on October 26, 2016. This statewide educational event, hosted by the Ionia County Youth Advisory Council, welcomed thirteen high schools to Celebration! Cinema Grand Rapids North & IMAX to learn about the dangers of distracted driving. Over 590 students spent the day listening to heartfelt and impactful speakers, learning from informative vendors, and trying out distracted driving simulators. 20161026_113252

One third of attending students shared that they do not yet have their driver’s license but are planning to in the near future.  “It is really different from being a passenger to becoming a driver, because you are distracted by a different amount of things, and we want to bring awareness to those, so that we can be careful out on the roads,” shared Youth Advisory Council Co-chair Shannon Hoekstra on why members of the Youth Advisory Council make their campaign against distracted driving a priority.

20161026_113706By reaching out to students, the Youth Advisory Council hopes to reach young drivers and their families. When asked if she would share the information she learned today with others, a student attending the conference said “[Yes] I learned a lot of new information that I can share with my small community. Many others can benefit from this information”.

According to a recent study conducted by State Farm, over eighty percent of teens admitted to driving while distracted. One attending student shared, “this conference helped give me some perspective on my actions. Think before you act and don’t let yourself get distracted”. The Ionia County Youth Advisory Council encourages their peers to “Stop the texts, Stop the Wrecks”.

A special thank you to all of our sponsors for making this conference possible; State Farm, Northridge Center Store AT&T, Ford Driving Skills for Life, Portland Products, and DeNooyer Chevrolet.

Check out the conference on WOTV 4! Teens “Strive to Arrive Alive” with student led conference

YAC was on Wood TV 8 DayBreak!

Students from the Youth Advisory Council had the opportunity to promote the 6th Annual Strive 2 Arrive Alive Teen Driver Safety Conference on WoodTV 8’s Daybreak Show on October 5th, 2016 in Grand Rapids! Students woke up at 4 am to travel to Grand Rapids to promote the conference at 5:30 am to 7 am. Great job, YACers!



YAC’s First Meeting of the Year!

The Youth Advisory Council met for the first time this school year on September 29th, 2016. 47 students from all 7 schools attended, including Pewamo-Westphalia, who recently joined the group.

We had a great first meeting! Students volunteered at Green Acres and Heartland Health Care Center in Ionia. Everyone had a great time interacting with residents!

YACers play board games with residents at Heartland Health Care Center
YAC at Green Acres
A resident gets her nails painted by YACers

Thank you for having us, Green Acres and Heartland!

2016 Michigan Youth Leadership Camp

MIYLT 2016 was a huge success!

Nearly 50 campers attended to increase their leadership skills and have a life-changing week of adventure. This year, campers participated in teambuilding activities, cultural events, simulations, and service projects all while building friendships and exploring the outdoors. Campers and counselors alike left with new perspectives and skills that will last them a lifetime. When asked about the impact camp had on them one camper said, “it helped me define myself as a leader in the making and improved my skills so so much. I have come a long way.” Another camper said, “camp was powerful, it really made you think about life and human nature.” If you’re interested in attending next year’s camp, look out for registration opening in February 2017.

Check us out on WOTV4, here!

YAC’s 2016 Global Youth Service Day

Our project called PACK’ed (Prepared, Assembled by Caring Kids) by YAC (Ionia County’s Youth Advisory Council) ​took​ place on April 20, 2016. The YAC, a youth led organization ​that ​​engage​d​ in direct service activities benefiting IM Kids 3rd Meal. ​During the school year, ​IM Kids 3rd Meal provides​ just​ over 4​71​ sack dinners to food insecure children​ in Montcalm and Ionia Counties​ Monday through Friday​. YAC students ​were ​put into groups and then complete​d​ stations​; ​making trail mix, balling melons, repackaging snack foods, decorating bags, making sandwiches​,​ and packing meals​ at the ​IM Kids 3rd Meal facility. Prior to our direct service day, the YAC members​ ​collect​ed​ food items at their individual schools to bring as a donation to IM Kids 3rd Me​al. The students enjoyed volunteering for their community and help feed food insecure children.​​​

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Thank you!

IM_Kids_3rd_Meal_Color    C&S    GenOn   GYSD 2016 logo

Global Youth Service Day

GYSD 2015 logo

Ionia County Youth Advisory Council (YAC)
Awarded Global Youth Service Day Grant

The Ionia County YAC has received a $500.00 Global Youth Service Day mini grant in support of a project addressing childhood hunger. Awarded by the YSA (Youth Service America), the 2015 Disney Friends for Change Grant will engage area students in direct service work to benefit the IM Kids 3rd Meal Program.

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The YAC, Youth Advisory Council consists of students from all high schools in Ionia County and are a part of the Ionia County Community Foundation. They gather once a month to discuss issues affecting youth in our communities and to take action on important youth causes.

YSA Logo

The GYSD mini-grant allows Ionia County YAC students to organize a volunteer project that addresses a critical community need, Childhood hunger. 1 out of 5 children in Ionia county and 1 out of 4 children in Montcalm county are food insecure. They represent a local crisis for our communities as hunger prevents children from reaching their full potential.

IM Kids 3rd Meal is a feeding program, striving to end childhood hunger. They provide over 400 sack dinners to food insecure children Monday through Friday.

High school YAC students along with middle school students from our STEP UP program will meet at the IM Kids 3rd Meal facility on Friday, April 17, 2015 from 10 AM -12:00 PM to make trail mix, ball melons, repackage foods, and decorate bags for the meals.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact: Allison Peabody at 616-527-4900 ext. 1223 or at

IM_Kids_3rd_Meal_Color  YAClogo

We were on TV!

On October 2, 2013, we woke up extra early (3AM for some!) and traveled to Grand Rapids to visit the news-station of Wood TV 8.  We stood just outside the newsroom, loaded with Celebrate My Drive signs, a Drive to Survive banner, and students wearing this years D2S tee-shirts.  We had students from Portland and Saranac High Schools representing us, as well as a couple Ionia County Intermediate School District VISTAs, and the ICISD’s Deborah Wagner.  Our students were eager to wave those signs and smile  big for the camera each time they panned at us.  Not once did we complain about the slight chill or being on our feet for an hour and a half.  We were too excited for this!  Toward the end of Daybreak, news anchor Emily Linnert came out of interviewed Deb on live TV!

Thank you, Deborah!  You were amazing!  Thank you YAC students!  We couldn’t have done this without you!  And thank you Wood TV 8 for inviting us out and taking the time to come out and learn more about our programs!