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April 15, 2016

SVSU students to team up with AmeriCorps for service project in Midland

Students in Saginaw Valley State University’s Roberts Fellowship are devoting a Saturday to improving a community facility.

As part of the 2016 Global Youth Service Day Saturday, April, 16, the SVSU students are partnering with the AmeriCorps program in Saginaw to use a $350 mini-grant toward the renovation of Shelterhouse, a Midland shelter for victims of domestic and sexual abuse as well as human trafficking.

The project will focus on education through sustainable environmental change, such as cleaning up the grounds and building garden beds for long term-use at Shelterhouse. The grant funding was provide by the Michigan Community Service Commission, Michigan Nonprofit Association and Mentor Michigan.

The students won't be alone in their renovation attempt. Volunteers also have signed up to help.

Roberts Fellow Susie Balcom, a social work major from Millington, said the group chose the Midland Shelterhouse because it was “close to their heart.”

She added that much of the service project relates to what she and her group has learned during their time in the Roberts Fellowship program.

“It has helped us recognize the power we have as students and leaders of our student body,” Balcom said. “When we first began, we didn't feel like we were leaders. But then as we learned about it, we learned that leadership is more than just having a ton of success and connections in your back pocket. It's about using that for the good of your community.”

Balcom is joined by four other Roberts Fellows students on the project. They are:
•    Allison Bargard, an English major from Frankenmuth
•    Alyssa Cozad, a visual arts education major from Bay City
•    Billie Deshone a history major from Saginaw
•    Daphne Hamburg, a social work major from Alma

Global Youth Service Day is April 16. It's a day dedicated to having youths 25 years old and younger design, plan and execute a service project in their community that focuses on education, health, clean energy or environmental stewardship, economic opportunity or disaster preparedness.

Established in 1999, the Roberts Fellowship program at SVSU is named in honor of Donna Roberts of Midland, who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to SVSU through her personal generosity and prior service on the Board of Control and the Board of Fellows. A respected attorney, business leader and philanthropist, Roberts retired from The Dow Chemical Company, where she was Secretary and Assistant General Counsel. She is an honorary director of the SVSU Foundation Board.

The Roberts Fellowship supports a select group of students who have demonstrated both scholarship and leadership potential. These students are supported through a two-semester program of both academic course work and extracurricular activities that is designed to further develop their potential as future political, economic and civic leaders. The program culminates in a trip to Asia to provide the Fellows with an international perspective on leadership.