New Students4Students group at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum!

New program takes shape at Children’s Museum
Six-week ‘Students 4 Service’ program set to launch next week

TRAVERSE CITY — Volunteers are often at the heart of a growing community.

Being a productive citizen doesn’t always mean having a high-paying job. And it doesn’t take always take a large checkbook to make a meaningful difference. Sometimes it just takes time — and that’s the idea behind a new initiative at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum.

“Students 4 Service” is collaborative project launching next week between the museum, Michigan State University’s extension office and the local 4-H chapter. It aims to teach meaningful lessons in leadership, volunteerism and career preparation to youth ages 15 to18.

“We didn’t see any volunteer preparation in our community,” said Lisa Pointe, the museum’s development and events director. “We wanted to talk to kids about what it means to volunteer and to play an active role in a community.”

The six-week program begins Oct. 4 and is hosted Tuesdays through Nov. 8 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Lessons center on a variety of life skills with an emphasis on employment and customer service — areas that Pointe said are priceless in the Traverse City community.

“We need to be retaining the best of the best to get this community to grow,” Pointe said. “The best of the best work here but they also give back … A lot of this is about giving back to the community that gave back to them.”

Money management accounts for the bulk of the program with two sessions centering on the topic.

Kids will participate in scenarios imagining future finances with a job, spouse and children. It can serve as a “light bulb moment” in helping understand how financial decisions are made, said Karin Stevens, 4-H program coordinator at MSU’s extension office.

“Money management is a concern in our world and I feel it’s important to help the youth learn some things so they can create positive habits in the future,” Stevens said, noting how career preparation lessons will also guide students through a typical interview process.

Students in the program will also have a chance to join the museum’s board of directors as youth advisors. Pointe said younger voices can provide a valuable perspective that might not always be available between the adults on the board.

“It also provides them with leadership and project management opportunities that we don’t think they can find anywhere else,” Pointe said.

About 15 spots were available on Wednesday afternoon. Call 231-932-4526 or email for more information or to sign up. The cost is $10 for the entire program and participants will be refunded upon successful completion. Free food — courtesy of Jet’s Pizza — will be provided at each session.

Students 4 Service Schedule

Oct. 4 – Introduction and Leadership Training

Oct. 11 – Money Management (Part 1)

Oct. 18 – Money Management (Part 2)

Oct. 25 – Volunteer Training

Nov. 1 – Career and Work Force Preparation

Nov. 8 – Youth/Adult Partnerships

Sessions are scheduled for 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum.