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Making a difference in community: Ionia students give back

ISDs of Ionia and Montcalm Counties

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-The Ionia County Youth Advisory Council is committed to making student-led improvements to strengthen the community. Through the culture of the YAC, multiple service projects at their January meeting. The Ionia County Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is composed of motivated high school students from Portland, Ionia, Lakewood, Saranac, Pewamo-Westphalia, Belding, and Lowell, who strive to become leaders in their communities. On January, 25th, YAC met to carry out three service projects focusing on helping children in our community.

With funds provided by Disney and Youth Service America, YAC made more than 40 “Capes for Kids”. These are no sew superhero capes for children living in shelters due to homeless or domestic violence. Each cape encompassed a unique design. The uniqueness of each cape helps to focus on the children’s confidence, as they become their own superhero.

The “Project Warm Hearts” was the second initiative that students took part in. The initiative is in honor of Martin Luther King Day of Service. Martin Luther King Day of Service helps to make the national holiday a “day on, not a day off” by uniting volunteers to reaffirm King’s teachings of nonviolence and social justice. “Project Warm Hearts” was funded by the Michigan Community Service Commission, and was a collaboration between IM Kids 3rd Meal, Green Acres of Ionia, and YAC. For this project, YAC worked with the residents of Green Acres to make fleece scarves for children living in food insecure homes throughout Ionia and Montcalm counties. Students also volunteered to pack meals through the IM Kids 3rd Meal program. More than 350 students received scarves.

YAC and IM Kids 3rd Meal partnered on another project, thanks to the support of local dentists. Students packaged donations of toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and coupons to be distributed with donated meals through the American Dental Association’s National Children’s Dental Health Month. Several local dentists in Ionia helped YAC create more than 500 dental hygiene kits for local children.

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