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  • Announcement

PHS Students Leading and Learning in County-Wide YAC


The Ionia County Youth Advisory Council (YAC) had their final meeting for the year and annual banquet on Wednesday, April 26. YAC is a council of students from seven Ionia County ISD schools and a branch of the Ionia County Community Foundation. As a student-led organization, the council participates in fundraising, community service, and educating their schools and communities on such topics as safe decisions, driving, and mental and physical health. Projects managed by YAC include: Michigan Youth Leadership Camp and Strive 2 Arrive Alive, a conference that draws over 300 students each year from 10+ schools around the state. Students also participate in service learning and helping decide community-wide grant funding. All YAC members are required to complete at least 10 community service hours.


Portland YAC students for 2022-23 are: Isaiah Pelc (12), Lily Bowers (11), Eddie Hill (11), Katherie Wiggins (11), Annabelle Bower (10), Anna Heath (10), Christine Svanda (9). Isaiah also served as a co-chair of YAC this year, and Annabelle Bower was elected as treasurer for 2023-24. The PHS Adviser is Theresa Getchell, who has a history with YAC from her sons being involved when they were at PHS. “I am honored to work with such a talented group of students and watch them learn how to serve their greater community. They take initiative and work hard. Isaiah has handled leading the entire group with dedication and maturity beyond his years. I am so proud of all of them.”


One whole-group charity/fundraiser focus for YAC this year was a peanut-butter drive for IM Kids 3rd Meal. This organization prepares and delivers meals to students who may need a dinner to take home, so they can have a 3rd meal each day. Portland contributed the most--14,108 oz of peanut butter--with community involvement from PHS sports teams, Westwood Elementary, local businesses, and a generous contribution of several cases from St. Patrick’s Student Council. YAC received a total of 19,500 oz. (1219 lb). This will provide 3rd meals for 24 days for all students that IM Kids 3rd Meal organization serves.


YAC received 10 grant proposals and funded 5 of them: IM Kids 3rd Meal; United Way of Ionia, United to End Hunger Program; Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Jr. Achievement of MI Great Lakes; Ionia County ISD AED Program.


Other highlights for Ionia County YAC 2022-23 include: Camp Roger; Planning Community Service Projects; Strive 2 Arrive Alive- Teen Driver Safety Conference; Service Learning: Speakers on Ionia/Montcalm Food Policy Council and the ALICE population; and Serving at Green Acres of Ionia.


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