Three-part HERO about opportunities
Kristen Schott was a big believer in camping, so when the Cass County Youth Council officer’s family and friends wanted to establish a legacy in her name, a scholarship/grant to provide county children free camp participation opportunities seemed fitting.
This year Youth Council piloted a three-part program, HERO (Helping Everyone Realize Opportunities), which concludes April 26 at the Council on Aging in Cassopolis with a luncheon featuring Emily S. Wachsberger of Children’s Trust Fund as keynote speaker.
Schott (Sept. 5, 1967-Nov. 14, 2004) was 37, living in Niles and employed as an interstate specialist with Cass County Friend of the Court when she died suddenly from a brain aneurysm.
She graduated in 1985 from John Glenn High School in Westland and from Michigan State University in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree.
Schott was past president of CASA’s board of directors and vice president of Cass County Youth Council, according to her obituary.
For the first of the three parts, Youth Council partnered with YMCA Camp Eberhart of Three Rivers to provide an “in-house” camp experience the week of Feb. 26-March 1 in middle schools, where camp staff and Youth Council board members Deputy Sheriff MaKenzie Kreiner and Amy Anderson and Jennifer Fox of Educational Talent Search at Southwestern Michigan College facilitated activities centered around anti-bullying, social justice, self esteem, leadership, conflict resolution and digital bullies.
With 168 Dowagiac sixth graders, 175 Marcellus seventh, eighth and ninth graders plus senior boys, 600 Edwardsburg sixth, seventh and eighth graders and 100 Cassopolis seventh and eighth graders, the effort reached 1,078 students in four days.
In part two, school counselors identified six students — three boys and three girls) per middle school in Dowagiac, Cassopolis, Edwardsburg and Marcellus to take part in a two-day, one-night HERO leadership camp at Eberhart April 1-2 for spring break.
Transportation to and from each middle school was provided, along with all meals and activities. Students worked together in this very hands-on, fun leadership camp.
Emphasis was placed on seeking opportunities, social justice, values and self-esteem.
For part three, students who participated in leadership camp are asked to attend the Cass County Youth Council child abuse prevention luncheon at the COA in Cassopolis April 26. Transportation will be provided.
Students will sit alongside many Cass County leaders and describe their experience. A brief PowerPoint presentation will be shown covering the three parts of the plan, with students asked to explain to adults how this program affected them.
Ideally, Youth Council wants to offer this program annually to every middle school in Cass County during spring break.
Youth Council has been in talks with Children’s Trust Fund and would also solicit local foundations, employers and potential donors to help financially support this program.
The goal is to provide a quality interactive program that brings students together from each school district to realize opportunities within their own schools and the county.
To attend the luncheon, RSVP to Billie Wilson at (269) 782-1325 or firstname.lastname@example.org by April 17.
Your $5 luncheon fee may be mailed to: Cass County Youth Council, P.O. Box 334, Cassopolis, MI 49031.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The Youth Council erected a pinwheel garden which spells out “Kids 1st” in front of the Department of Human Services in Cassopolis in honor of this.
Dowagiac Daily News