IN THIS EDITION
LEARNING THROUGH SERVICE
AT A YOUNG AGE, NEW SCHOLARS UNDERSTAND THE POSITIVE IMPACT THEY CAN MAKE ON THEIR COMMUNITY
Of all the ways the NEW Scholars program helps prepare students for success in school and life, perhaps the one with the most impact on students’ character development is service learning.
College Access Coordinator Ryan Watling, who works with our youngest NEW Scholars students, believes that giving back is of vital importance to personal growth. “By volunteering, students can explore their career and personal interests, practice social and leadership skills, and address the needs they see in the community,” he explains.
Each semester, NEW Scholars are asked to volunteer for 30 minutes, then submit a photo and write a reflection about their experience. For our youngest students, this is a ‘lightbulb moment,’ when they realize how their efforts can make a tangible positive difference.
Our high school students frequently remark that their favorite memory in the program was centered around volunteering. Whether reading books with nursing home residents, translating information at our parent workshops, making t-shirts or playing games with elementary school students, these service learning experiences build self-confidence and instill a sense of value, purpose, and belonging.
This notion of ‘paying it forward’ resonates with our students, and inspires them to continue giving back.
Take Ever (pictured above), for example. Ever joined NEW Scholars in the sixth grade, and – now a Green Bay East High School grad – he continues to volunteer in his free time. “I wanted to give 100 hours by graduation, but I was already at over 60 hours by the end of 9th grade,” he says.
His decision to spend his time at Paul’s Pantry was a personal one. “I thought, since my mom goes to Paul’s Pantry and we get help from them, instead of just eating from there, let me put some effort in for the community,” Ever shares.
And for Ever, volunteering has become a regular commitment. “It’s not just a one-time thing,” he says. “I want to keep helping out, because there’s people that need it. And I feel like I can help a little,” he says with a shrug and a smile. “It’s the least I can do.”
JOINING THE TEAM
COLLEGEREADY IS PROUD TO WELCOME THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE TO OUR STAFF AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Youth development professional Vicki Villarreal has been hired as the College Access Coordinator, working with high school students and parents in our NEW Scholars program.
In her previous role as a UW-Green Bay Career Coach, Vicki worked closely with local high school seniors on the college admissions process. “Being able to help our students be fully ready to take their next steps after high school is so incredible,” Vicki says. “The college process is long, confusing, and terrifying, but I’m here to help!”
Melissa Van Gheem, Sr. Human Resources Director at Festival Foods, has joined CollegeReady’s Board of Directors.
“I share CollegeReady’s passion for continuing education and becoming the best version of yourself that you can be,” says Melissa; that passion also spurred on her involvement with Literacy Green Bay. “I believe that access to education has the ability to dramatically change your life for the better, something all students should have the opportunity to realize.”
Bilingual school counselor at Green Bay East High School Fabiola Rizo has also joined the CollegeReady Board of Directors.
“My family and I didn’t know anything about going to college, but I had school staff and a community that gave me the tools I needed to get there,” shares Fabiola, who is also a previous CollegeReady scholarship recipient. “As a board member, I hope to use my personal and professional experience to make college more accessible to the kids we work with every day.”
Maria M. Lara has joined CollegeReady’s Board of Directors. Her professional background in academia and in the corporate world, along with her active involvement – especially on our NEW Scholars Advisory Committee – makes a big impact on youth in our community.
“I credit much of my personal and professional success to higher education,” says Maria. “However, I’m certain it would not have been possible without my family and funding. I look forward to the opportunity to increase my contributions and help further CollegeReady’s mission.”
SELENA IS FOCUSED ON MAKING A DIFFERENCE, THANKS TO YOU!
“My future is focused on becoming a secondary education math teacher, or even becoming a professor to teach college students. I’ve even considered teaching in Mexico, which would be a great opportunity!
I hope I can be a support system for students so they know that they have someone who is rooting for them, encouraging them to do well in school.
I am very thankful and grateful for this scholarship! It means a lot to me because it not only helps me continue my education, it also keeps me from worrying how my parents and I will be able to pay for school.”
UW-Oshkosh, Secondary Education major
Preble High School | NEW Scholars 2021 graduate