Hey friends, it is Betsie Schoedel from Alma College, and it is about time I fill you in with all that has been happening here! Alma College volunteers have been incredibly busy these last few months to support College Access events like Kid’s Night Out, The Explorer Plus After School Program, 7th grade college visits, Open Rec Night, and so much more!
One accomplishment I am fairly proud of since my last update is completing my VISTA Year Initiative. In November, I applied for a Mini-MLK grant and was awarded funding to complete the project in January for MLK Day of Service. My VISTA Year Initiative was to have my partnering school utilize youth volunteers to create college awareness signs for teachers during the After School Program. The college awareness signs have helped to further sustain a college going culture, and has further prompted college related conversations between students and teachers. To further engage students, students and volunteers created their own college signs to hang up in their classrooms or lockers. There is so much college pride at the elementary school now!
One of my favorite college access events is Kid’s Night Out (KNO). KNO is where on one Saturday night a month, local 2-6 graders are invited to a lock-in at the High School to partake in activities with Alma College volunteers. Last month, we had nearly 300 youth and 40 Alma College volunteers attend. As the serving VISTA, it is my joy to bring college access related activities for youth during KNO. This month’s KNO, I have a variety of different games, books, and interactive tasks youth and volunteers can partake in to further cultivate a college going mentality.
On the docket for this week, I will be helping to bring in a third group of local 7th graders to visit Alma College for the day. It is so amazing to see youth filled with excitement during their visit at Alma College, mostly for the unlimited ice cream during lunch, but excitement nonetheless. As a VISTA serving in Alma, it has been a theme to target middle school students especially for college access events to encourage youth it is never too soon to consider future plans, value the importance for proper planning and doing well in high school.
Each one of these College Access events presents new opportunities and challenges to encourage youth to pursue higher education. In the next few weeks, I will be continuing college access activities with the GEAR UP visits, the Summer Parks Program, additional College Positive Volunteer trainings and other community events; should keep me plenty busy for the rest of the year!
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!