Youth empowerment, education support, and community service come together through Project ACES.
Local Goshen College students are gaining valuable experience by working with kids at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County through the AmeriCorps Project ACES program. This program, which stands for Accelerating Children through Education Support, is an AmeriCorps initiative led by the Boys & Girls Clubs in Indiana, providing services and programs to youth throughout the state.
AmeriCorps programs place young individuals into intensive service positions where they not only contribute to the community but also learn valuable work skills, earn money for education, and cultivate an appreciation for citizenship. The collaboration between Goshen College students and the Boys & Girls Clubs has proven to be a mutually beneficial partnership.
One recent initiative spearheaded by a Goshen College senior in the Social Work Program, Kayla Grover, has been highly successful. Grover, an AmeriCorps member and intern at the Boys & Girls Clubs, opened up a regulation station at the Nappanee Club. The station aims to provide a space for club members to take a break and regulate their bodies, whether an adult is present or not.
The regulation stations offer a range of interactive activities designed to help children self-soothe, manage stress, and develop emotional regulation skills. From sensory stations to quiet areas for mindfulness practice, the station has become a go-to spot for club members seeking moments of respite and self-reflection amidst their busy club time.
“The regulation station has been a game-changer for our club members,” says Natasha Lantz, MSW, LSW, Director of Mental Health Services at Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County. “Children are learning to identify their emotions and take proactive steps to manage them in a healthy and positive way. We’re grateful to Kayla and the AmeriCorps Project ACES program for bringing this valuable resource to our club.”
The collaboration between Goshen College students and the Boys & Girls Clubs highlights the significance of hands-on experience, community engagement, and learning beyond the classroom. Through initiatives like the regulation station, young interns like Kayla Grover are forging lasting connections with the children they serve, enabling them to make a real difference in their lives.
Lantz, emphasizes the impact of this partnership, stating, “The opportunity for Goshen College students to work directly with the Boys & Girls Clubs is invaluable. They not only contribute their time and skills but also inspire our club members to dream big and envision a brighter future.”
For Goshen College students, the AmeriCorps Project ACES program offers a platform to put their education into practice, applying what they’ve learned in the classroom to make a positive impact on the lives of local children in Elkhart County. Through these experiences, they are acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge to become leaders in education and youth development.
As the AmeriCorps Project ACES program continues to thrive, more local Goshen College students will have the opportunity to become involved and contribute their unique talents to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County. With each new project and initiative, the partnership between these two institutions grows stronger, ensuring a better future for the youth of our community.
Supporting children, empowering students, and building a brighter future – together we can make a difference.
The recently opened regulation station at the Nappanee Club provides children with a space to take a break and regulate their bodies.