Jessie Novak, a third year undergraduate student at Rocky Mountain College, is a K-12 Art Education major. Jessie Novak is currently serving her second 300-hour term as a Rocky Mountain College AmeriCorps team member. She has demonstrated commitment to community engagement through volunteering and leadership opportunities. Jessie, as a first generation college student, has a passion for serving underprivileged kids and serves as an advocate in programming related to art, k-12 success, food security, and college access.
Jessie created and implemented an art crawl at Rose Park Elementary for kindergarten through fifth grade students. She coordinated student volunteers and helped them design collaborative art projects that were age appropriate. After the projects were complete, they were raffled off to support a sensory playground to serve students with disabilities. She has also been responsible for organizing "Halloween for Hunger" an annual food drive. Through her hard work she has been able to collect over 3,500 pounds of food in the past year. Jessie is committed to creating positive change in her community through advocacy, education, and volunteering.
My first experience as a volunteer was at the Missoula Art Museum (MAM), where I discovered my passion for teaching art and working with students, heavily influencing my goal to become an art educator. I have volunteered at the MAM for 6 years, transitioning from an education assistant to a teaching artist. While working with students and pursuing my degree, I have become aware of challenges students face, including hunger and a lack of art access in schools.
As part of my hunger awareness work on campus I have coordinated Rocky's annual Halloween for Hunger food drive, where students collect canned goods and non-perishable items and donate them to Family Service and Rose Park Elementary School. In 2018, 2,300lbs of food were donated to students and families in need.
To help further art access in schools, I have coordinated an Art Crawl at Rose Park Elementary School for the past two years. Volunteers visit classrooms and lead collaborative art projects, which are displayed and sold. The proceeds assist with construction of an Inclusive Sensory Playground. This playground will allow students and community members with medical disadvantages an accessible place to play, with equipment designed for their needs.