Hello friends! My name is Shalyn Stack, and I am serving as a VISTA at Delta College in Saginaw, Michigan. I am the program director for Public Achievement, a mentoring program working with at-risk K-12 schools in the Great Lakes Bay Region. The Public Achievement program is currently at two schools: John Glenn High School and Washington Elementary, which are both located in Bay City. Delta College students are trained to be mentors (we call them coaches) to these K-12 students and guide them towards addressing issues in their community through leadership activities, self-empowerment, and civic engagement. All in all, we have about 275 K-12 students involved in the program, and 100 Delta College student coaches.
Something I have learned from Public Achievement is to never underestimate kids. The students at Washington Elementary have blown me away with the issues they have addressed in their school and their action plans on how to solve these issues. Popular issues that are being addressed in multiple classrooms are bullying and discrimination. Some projects we have done to solve the issue of bullying at Washington are: having a school-wide anti-bullying campaign, and putting together an anti-discrimination skit to perform at an assembly next semester. A popular issue being addressed at John Glenn High School is drug abuse, and they are putting together their action plan on how to address this issue next semester.
I am also a co-advisor to the campus organization Citizens in Action (CIA), which was created by Delta College students who served as coaches for Public Achievement in the past and wanted to get more involved on campus and within their community. One of the biggest projects CIA has been a part of is the Feeding America: Weekend Backpacks Program at Washington Elementary. The Weekend Backpacks Program is where backpacks are filled with six meals (dry and canned food) for the students to take home on the weekends. The backpacks and non-perishable food items are donated by the Eastern Michigan Food Bank, and delivered to Washington every week. Washington Elementary is an at-risk school where over 85% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch based on their family’s income. We have about 100 students at Washington who receive the backpacks every Friday and return them on Mondays when they come to school. The members of CIA organize, pack, and deliver the backpacks every week to the Washington students.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!