Nichole Wiese has been an asset in volunteer and capacity building efforts with our BV Buddies program at Buena Vista University. The program partners with a local school and engages college students in mentoring youth. This is an opportunity for college students to solve a need in our community and learn leadership skills. Nichole has been a key leader in the program for the past two years. Nichole originally started volunteering as a mentor, but through her passion for youth she took on a stronger leadership role. BV Buddies has grown and changed over the years based on her determination to make it better and always to keep the focus on the youth that they mentor. We have seen tremendous growth in the youth that were served. For example, last year academic performance improved by 63%, there were 92% fewer disciplinary referrals and 60% fewer unexcused absences. This was because Nichole not only mentored herself, but she led training sessions and developed ways to recruit and retain mentors to serve. Nichole is humble and will be the first one to say that she did not do this alone and that is why she is very deserving of this honor. She recognizes it takes a team to make something this big happen.
I am a strong believer in that you are never too young to make a positive impact on the world. I have a passion for our youth and truly believe that there is greatness inside everyone. Ever since my journey at Buena Vista University began, I decided I was going to dedicate my time to making sure children had positive mentors in their lives to help bring out their inner greatness that they may not see in themselves. BV Buddies, a volunteer mentoring program, has come to hold a special place in my heart. Through this program I help recruit and educate mentors on the need for their presence in their mentees life. The hope of the program is to develop long-term mentorship and motivate youth to be their best they can be. My leadership skills have grown with this program and have also instilled service in my life for years to come. The youth is our future, and we need to invest in our future.