Students receive Youth in Action Award

For their outstanding volunteer service, the Newaygo Middle School Junior Honor Society received the Youth in Action Award at this year’s Community of Efforts celebration, TrueNorth’s annual volunteer recognition event. Newaygo students from grades seventh through ninth have been instrumental in supporting multiple programs at TrueNorth, making an impact in our community and in their own lives.

Middle school teacher and coordinator for the chapter, Jaimee Harkness, says, “Volunteering at TrueNorth has opened their eyes to seeing the needs in our community and understanding that giving back and paying it forward creates a sense of community and pride knowing they helped create a better life for someone.”

From helping collect, sort and display toys and other gifts for Children’s Christmas Programs to packing Weekend PowerPacks for students like themselves, Jaime’s students have helped thousands of individuals and families. The middle schoolers also helped with the WZZM13 Spirit Challenge, sorted coats for Coats for Kids and painted bowls for our annual Empty Bowls fundraisers.

Jaime’s students especially enjoyed volunteering for Children’s Christmas Programs. When setting up for the event, the middle schoolers also packed over 2,000 Weekend PowerPacks, helping over 4,000 area children and families in just one day. Having the opportunity to help create a better quality of life for members of their community has taught Jaime’s students empathy, leadership and social skills, self-esteem and responsibility.

Jaime’s students were not expecting any award for their volunteering. “We really appreciated the recognition of our volunteer work by receiving the Youth in Action Award,” says Jaime. “It was a pleasure to have the students see that their volunteer work does not go unnoticed.”

Youth volunteerism helps empower our community’s future leaders. Jaime’s students have gone over and above to create positive change in the lives of their neighbors, showing that you can make a difference at any age. 

Jaime encourages educators like her to get their students involved in the community through volunteering. Through her years working with the National Jr. Honor Society, Jaime has seen her students grow immensely. She says, “Volunteering in the smallest ways make a bigger impact than you know for the people you are helping but also the students who are volunteering!”