High school students are often long on passion, but short on experience. But a handful of local students are gaining some important experience in an area they’re passionate about, and helping Fellowship achieve its mission at the same time.
These students serve on our Student Advisory Board, which is now in its third year. Together, they learn about leadership development, non-profit management, community service, fund-raising. They also serve as volunteers for our events, contributing to the success of our Golf Outing, Annual Gala, and 5 K Team Run.
“The student advisory board is an excellent way to introduce a young leaders to both nonprofit leadership and to serving the under resourced in our community,” says Pam Orr, Executive Director of Fellowship Housing. “By bringing in a variety of leaders in the community to speak at their monthly meetings, we seek to develop their leadership skills and then put them into action as key participants in each of our events. Their energy and enthusiasm is contagious.”
The student board was started by former Executive Director Andrea Minor. “It was Andrea’s vision and deep conviction about building into future/young leaders,” Pam says. “She felt it was a way FH could give to the next generation of leaders. It also casts a vision to our students about the nonprofit world.”
Brock Rubin is a Student Advisory board member. He decided to apply for a spot on the board because he’d heard “nothing but the greatest of things” about Fellowship and their work in the community.
“They have a heart for people in our backyard and that was really intriguing for me,” he told us in an email interview. He also knew some of the other prospective student board members, and knew he’d enjoy working with them. “Even more than that,” he added, “I knew that it could be a cool way to reach out to the community around me and try to learn leadership skills that I hope will play out in the future.”
Lauren Wiens, Fellowship Associate Director, meets each month with the students. This month, they began reading and discussing “The Heart of Leadership” by Mark Miller.
“The book talked about how you can identify the success of a leader not but judging their skills, but by judging their character,” Lauren said. At this month’s meeting, she said, she had the students go around and think of people in their lives who they would consider some of the best leaders and what qualities they possess.
“Then, they talked about which qualities they would love to focus on growing themselves in over the next school year,” she said.
The students have also been challenged with bringing five people each to the Windy City Bulls event on November 11th, and will be doing a lot of promoting with their friends for this event.
“They are an amazing group of students and their energy is so fun to be a part of! I look forward to every meeting that we have with them,” Lauren adds. “I love how fun they are, how honest they are about where they are at in their lives and how they want to grow, and the friendships that they are creating.”
Brock says one of the thing he enjoys most about being on the board is “the camaraderie. The members on the student board are passionate, have high-caliber character and are really amazing to be around. To get to learn from and grow with the team has been awesome for me.”
But more importantly, Brock says, serving on the Student Advisory Board has taught him about leadership, and about making a difference. “I’ve discovered that you can never learn all there is to know about being a leader,” he said. “You always need to be refining your leadership skills and character and finding mentors and people to teach you where you can grow.”
The board has given him and the other students a chance to work for the good of others.
“For my whole childhood, people told me that I could make a difference, I just never felt like I knew how,” he added. “Being on the student board gives me confidence that I can do something for other people no matter how young I am. It’s been pretty amazing to realize that.”
This year’s Student Advisory Board members are: Chloe Watson, Andrew Kelley, Brock Rubin, Liz Orr, Colby Shoults, Gabby Cossio, Peyton Zona, Jason Yaccino, Sandra Kennedy, Cole Haecker, Jeffrey Hesselbein, Anjali Narasimhan.