posted April 5, 2010

Students to Receive MCC Service Awards

Michigan Campus Compact (MCC) will honor four Hope College seniors for their dedication and commitment to community service during the 14th annual Outstanding Student Service Awards recognition event on Saturday, April 10, at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing.

Each year, MCC recognizes students from member colleges and universities across the state for their outstanding commitment to service-learning and civic engagement.  Three types of awards are given: the Outstanding Community Impact Award, the Commitment to Service Award, and the Heart and Soul Award.

Jaime Van Heest of Holland will receive the Commitment to Service Award.  The award is given to one student per member campus in the state of Michigan for breadth or depth of community service and the demonstration of meaningful reflection.

Heart and Soul Awards will be presented to Sarah Mejia of Milford, Erica Smith of Muskegon and Bryanna Warriner of Eaton Rapids.  The award is given to students to recognize their time, effort and personal commitment to their community through service.

The Hope students have all been involved in service in a variety of ways.

Van Heest is involved in service and outreach ministries at New Community Fourth Reformed Church, including leading middle school and high school youth groups, and is a mentor through the Wrap Around program affiliated with the Children's AdvocacyCenter in Holland.  As an active member and officer of the college's chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, the national service fraternity, she has been involved in projects ranging from the Dance Marathon fundraiser held on behalf of Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, to the Relay for Life held on behalf of the American Cancer Society, to campus blood drives.  Throughout her time at Hope she has also been involved with the "Time to Serve" program, an initiative geared toward new students to get them involved in service and familiar with their new community.

Mejia's community involvement has included serving as a middle school mentor with the Holland Christian Schools, as a mentor with WaveCrestAcademy, as a volunteer intern with Adoption Associates and as a coach with Boys on the Run.  She has worked with a variety of community programs through the college's Center for Faithful Leadership, and has participated in numerous service activities - from Dance Marathon and the Relay for Life, to food and clothing drives--through her membership in the Sigma Iota Beta Sorority.  Also on campus she has been a leader in the Women of Service program and leads a small-group Bible study, is a past president of the Student Congress and participated in the spring break mission trip program organized by the college's campus ministries program.

Smith and Warriner are the co-directors of the student-led Volunteer Services office at Hope, and have both been actively involved in the program's individual initiatives in addition to leading it.  Volunteer Services coordinates student involvement with numerous community organizations, ranging from serving during the "All Hallows Feed" at Western Theological Seminary Community Kitchen, to cookie decorating and caroling at senior citizen homes, to a Thanksgiving Food Drive, to preparing Easter gift baskets for the elementary-age children served by the Children's After School Achievement (CASA) program based at Hope.  Volunteer Services also becomes involved in campus-wide events like Dance Marathon and the Relay for Life.

Smith's additional activities have included involvement with service projects coordinated by the college's chapter of the Mortar Board honorary society, such as the Homecoming book drive, disabilities prom, and providing pumpkins for Halloween carving and stuffing Christmas stockings for the children of CASA.

Warriner's additional activities have included serving as a volunteer counselor with Simpson Park Camp, as a classroom educator for elementary-age children regarding drug-abuse awareness through Project Charlie, and as a volunteer mentor with CASA and participating in spring break mission trips.

Michigan Campus Compact promotes the education and commitment of Michigan college and university students to be civically engaged citizens, through creating and expanding academic, co-curricular and campus-wide opportunities for community service, service-learning and civic engagement.  More information may be obtained online at www.micampuscompact.org.

Local organizations with service needs with which the college's Volunteer Services program might be able to help are encouraged Wilma Hart, assistant to student life and coordinator of volunteer services, at Hope at (616) 395-7942.