November YAC Meeting

The Youth Advisory Council met on November 10th, 2016 and created Holiday Cards for Troops which will be distributed to active members of our Armed Forces through the organization Blue Star Mothers of America!20161110_092245

The Blue Star Mothers is a group of mothers, grandmothers, and female legal guardians who have children serving in the military, guard or reserves, or children who are veterans. This group of motivated women support each other and their children and promote patriotism. Each year, the Blue Star Mothers make Holiday Care Packages for active service members.

At the November meeting, YACers learned about Ronald McDonald House, a charity that helps families who have children in the hospitals. They also had a guest speaker from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. This speaker gave an orientation to the students about what it means to be a member of the Youth Advisory Council and a grant maker.

Next month, the students will be participating in their annual project “RACK’ed by YAC”. RACK stands for Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. The students will be visiting the residents at Green Acres in Ionia and distributing stockings and candy canes!

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!

Strive 2 Arrive Alive School Registration

If your school is interested in attending the 6th Annual Strive 2 Arrive Alive Teen Driver Safety Conference on October 26th, 2016 from 8 am to 2 pm at Celebration! Cinema Grand Rapids North (2121 Celebration Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525), please fill out the following forms. Bus grants for transportation to and from the conference are also available.

Lunch will be provided for all conference guests.

Each attending school must register here and fill out a school sign in form:

6th Annual State-Wide Teen Driver Safety Conference School Registration

Conference Sign In 2016

Each attending student must have filled out a minor release form:

Minor Release

Bus grants are available below and must be returned to Deborah Wagner by November 4th, 2016.

Bus Grant for Teen Safety Conference

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!

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Global Youth Service Day

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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.

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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

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