Submitted by: Whatcom Community College

The Area Health Education Center for Western Washington received a $500 grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation along with training and support from Youth Service America for their Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) afterschool program. The award will expand opportunities for students at Ferndale High School, Nooksack Valley High School, and Mount Baker Senior High School to learn civic and 21st century skills by leading community service or service-learning projects.

HPAC empowers high school students, particularly from medium- to low-income areas, to address their community’s most pressing health disparities while introducing students to health-related careers. Formatted as an afterschool club, students tackle issues like substance abuse, food insecurity, and mental health, and create projects to bring awareness and change to those issues. Students interested in joining may contact Emily Schneider at EScheider@whatcom.edu or by phone at 360.383.3187.

“We are thrilled to support afterschool programs that, in addition to serving youth, have committed to asking youth to serve their communities,” said Steven A. Culbertson, president and CEO of Youth Service America. “Studies show youth in underserved communities have fewer opportunities than their peers in more affluent communities to take part in service projects. Students participating in such projects benefit by learning and practicing the problem-solving skills they need to be successful in school, work, and life.”

About Area Health Education Center for Western Washington (AHECWW): The Area Health Education Center for Western Washington, which is housed at Whatcom Community College, works with the national AHEC movement to support healthcare delivery systems and access to care through activities that strengthen the healthcare workforce in rural and urban-underserved communities. AHECWW is funded by the University of Washington and the Washington State Department of Health.

About Whatcom Community College (WCC): Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, WA is regularly recognized as one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute. The College, a destination for cybersecurity, healthcare and business studies, offers a bachelor of applied science degree, transfer degrees, career preparation, online courses and community education classes. WCC’s accomplished faculty and staff serve 11,000 students annually. For more information, visit whatcom.edu.

YSA (Youth Service America) believes that youth, communities and democracy thrive when we all work together for the common good. YSA is a leading global nonprofit that activates young people, ages 5-25, to find their voice, take action and acquire powerful civic and 21st century skills as they solve problems facing their communities. YSA supports its activation campaigns–including September 11th National Day of Service & Remembrance, MLK Day of Service, and Global Youth Service Day–with grants, training and resources, and recognition programs for young people and their adult champions. Youth-led projects use Awareness, Service, Advocacy, and Philanthropy (ASAP) strategies to create social and environment change. For more information, visit www.YSA.org.

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