Helping Hero Spotlight - Jake

  • Jacob (Jake) Ward (COB ’12)  

    Niles Homes for Children
    About the organization: The Niles Home for Children (NHC) serves high-risk children and their families by meeting their mental health and educational needs, empowering them to become confident and contributing citizens. For more information or to learn how to volunteer, visit the NHC website.
     Helping Heroes Spotlight(Jacob Ward, pictured right)

    How did you get involved with NHC?
    Through our Bioethics Service Learning curriculum. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the group assigned to the Niles Home for Children.

    What do you do there?
    We work with the kids one-on-one. To see them make progress in the classroom after offering our help is really rewarding. Every time I leave the Niles Home, I feel great.

    Any unforgettable moments?
    One little girl who was given a new math assignment. She had never been exposed to the particular type of math problem and she became frustrated. I gave her a step-by-step approach to each problem and then left her to do a couple of them on her own. When I came back to check on her, she told me to wait at the back of the room until she was done. She had successfully finished the entire sheet and had gotten everyone of the problems correct. She had the biggest smile on her face, and that has stayed with me since.

    Do you feel you are making a difference?
    When you walk into the room and see the children respond with happiness, you know you are making a difference. They quickly jump from their seats to give you a big hug, and they are always sad when you have to leave. I do not know if this means that I have made a difference in their lives, but it has made a difference in mine. I only hope that I have had the same impact.

    What has volunteering taught you?
    Volunteering at the Niles Home has made me aware of the unfortunate problems that some children have to deal with. They all deserve a chance to succeed. I have learned that everyone has his or her own story. Sometimes all it takes is to listen to them and show them you care. I have grown a lot as a person from this experience, and I owe it all to those kids.

    Any advice?
    I believe that when you are blessed enough to be in a position to do something for others, you should.
    Everyone benefits from giving back, the organization and you.