Grand Valley Magazine - (Page 19)

1 Close friends Jessica Mac Vane and Jaden met through Pals Student Mentors, a student organization that seeks to positively influence at-risk youth in Grand Rapids. courtesy photo million hours: Lakers anchor community through volunteering by Leah Twilley Once a week Grand Valley student Jessica Mac Vane meets with her pal, Jaden, a 10-year-old student at Harrison Park Elementary School in Grand Rapids. Sometimes they go bowling, sometimes they go to the park, and sometimes they just talk on the phone. "I met Jaden when I was a freshman at Grand Valley and he was 7 years old. We just clicked," said Mac Vane, from Zeeland. "He's had a lot of ups and downs in his life. Last year he was put in foster care, so I liked being there as a stable figure in his life during that time." Jaden and Mac Vane met through Pals Student Mentors, a student organization that seeks to positively influence the lives of at-risk youth in Grand Rapids. More than 160 Grand Valley students serve as mentors for children who attend Harrison, Sibley or Coit elementary schools. Mac Vane said she came to Grand Valley wanting to help and found that outlet through Pals Student Mentors. "I think some people are afraid to get involved in community service because there's so much need everywhere, it can be overwhelming, but helping one very important person by being a positive role model is huge and makes a big impact," she said. Mac Vane, president of Pals Student Mentors, is one of 11,753 Grand Valley students who collectively spent more than 1 million hours volunteering in their communities in 2013. Their service generated an estimated economic impact of nearly $24 million, according to Independent Sector. Jeff Mutch, coordinator for the Community Service Learning Center, said service learning, such as mentoring, is a high-impact practice that is shown to increase rates of persistence and retention, and deepens the amount of learning. "If students can incorporate knowledge learned in the classroom with a real community need, it can be a powerful teaching pedagogy," he said. 19 Grand Valley Magazine

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Grand Valley Magazine

Table of Contents
Campus News
Donor Impact
Art of the Possible
One Book Carries Discussions Beyond Classroom
One Million Hours
Power Trio Turns Ideas Into Companies
Q&A Renee Freeman
Off the Path
Focal Point
Alumni News

Grand Valley Magazine