Grace College elementary education students partnered with Baker Youth Club (BYC) in Warsaw, Ind., for the second academic year to help elementary students learn, exercise, build relationships, and have fun doing it. Although the school year ended sooner than expected, Grace students look forward to reconnecting with students at BYC when school resumes.
“We are blessed to have such an engaging partnership with Grace College for the past few years. The impact Grace students are having on our children is so valuable,” Tracy Furnivall, executive director of BYC, said.
In 1994, BYC transformed a 1926 boys club into an inclusive, Christian after-school program which creates an educational and uplifting community for the elementary students of Kosciusko County. This year, BYC has been an integral part of 200 students’ lives from eight Warsaw-area schools.
Dr. Rachael Hoffert, chair of Grace College’s elementary education program, has served on the board of Baker Youth Club for four years. “Our partnership with BYC is really a great way to put our faith into action,” she explained. “When we show up at Baker Youth Club, the kids just love it! It’s always the highlight of their day.”
Grace College education students teach reading lessons, write and teach STEM lesson plans, and rearrange rooms to make them more inviting. Hoffert has incorporated the students’ work at BYC into their classes. She sees it as a way for students to serve and learn at the same time.
Hannah Heier, a third-year elementary education student at Grace, said, “Being able to serve the community, increase my experience working with kids, and build relationships has been a highlight of my college experience. The work is so rewarding, and I hope that many others will consider volunteering at BYC.”
In addition to the School of Education, Grace’s softball players are pen pals with BYC students and Grace’s School of Behavioral Science students do crafts with the children. “BYC and Grace College together are making a huge difference in the lives of children in our community!” said Furnivall.
For more information about the Grace College School of Education, visit grace.edu/academics/undergraduate/academic-schools-departments/school-of-education/. To learn more about Baker Youth Club, go to bakeryouthclub.com/.