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Dec. 17, 2003

Bank One Gifts Fund New Efforts

Calvin College will host "a call to action" in January for young people interested in furthering the dreams begun by Martin Luther King Jr. and then will follow that up in the spring with a college expo.

"A Call to Action: MLK Young Leaders Weekend" will take place at Calvin from January 16-18, while the Pre-College Expo is slated for March or April. Both new programs at Calvin owe their start to funding from the college and a $5,000 grant from Bank One.

For the MLK Weekend, 50 local high school students will be selected to live in the Calvin residence halls during the weekend of events. Among the activities will be group games to teach team-building and cooperation; seminars on such topics as civil rights history; workshops on social justice, leadership and civic responsibility; a service-learning, volunteer experience; Sunday-morning worship at Tabernacle Community Church; and a closing ceremony that will include parents.

At Calvin the multicultural student development office will partner with the pre-college programs office to match Calvin students with high school students who are part of the college's Pathways to Possibilities program. That program works with youth in grades four to twelve and especially targets those who live in the inner-cities of Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Holland, helping them to think seriously about education and especially to consider college as a possibility within their grasp rather than an impossibility.

Director Rhae-Ann Booker (above) says both the MLK Young Leaders Weekend and the Pre-College Expo will be ways in which the college tries to inspire local high school students.

"One of the four components of Pathways to Possibilities," she says, "is a campus visit program which brings 4th through 12th graders to campus. It exposes the students to career opportunities and connects them with college students. It also exposes the college community - students, staff and faculty - to ethnic minority youth and their communities. The Bank One award allows us to expand our existing program by adding two more important events."

Booker says that Bank One also is considering funding Calvin's Discovery Club Fellowship, a semester-long, pre-college program that pairs ethnic minority 9th through 12th graders with Calvin College students as together they explore the steps and strategies necessary for academic success and college enrollment.

"Bank One," says Booker, "has really been an important partner in our efforts to help high school students think about a life of the mind after high school. We have had success with our pre-college programs. Partners like Bank One will ensure that we continue to have success down the road."

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-526-6475 (v)
616-526-7069 (f)