John’s post high school plan solidified

John was in 1st or 2nd grade when he started attending our Out-of-School Time Program in Hesperia. By the time he was in middle school, his family had moved to White Cloud and John was going through what he calls a ‘rougher period.’ It was shortly after that, he met Mandi Krbez, our REACH Site Manager for White Cloud Junior High.  He continued with our Out- of- School Time Program and as he put it; “Ms. K put me on straight and helped me a lot.”

Mandi says right away, she could tell John seemed lost, but she noticed his aptitude and interest in both baking and childcare. She set about finding ways to get him involved, offering him leadership roles in activities with the younger students. She thought the Culinary Program at the Career Tech Center would be ideal for John, but his grades were not where they needed to be. With Mandi’s encouragement and help, by the end of his sophomore year, they had improved enough for him to attend that program during his junior and senior years of high school. “As soon as he went in, he flourished – he loved it!” said Mandi.

During one of their activities, the students got to use liquid nitrogen to make soda pop, and this proved to be the catalyst for John’s higher education plans. He has applied and been accepted to a two-year Brewing, Crafting and Service program at Grand Rapids Community College. Although we do not offer Out-of-School Time Programming for High School students, John stayed active as a volunteer, making him possibly the first student to be involved his entire scholastic career.

“If I didn’t have it (Project FOCUS, REACH & Engage!), I probably would have been much worse…”  

To learn more – take a look at this short video.