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Celebrating Our 2024 YAC Scholarship Winners: Harmony Bennet and Maggie Sandoval

At the Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) 14th annual Career Development Conference, we had the privilege of presenting two $500 Youth Solutions Youth Advisory Council (YAC) Scholarships. YAC members spearheaded the scholarship as a way to pay it forward and give back to other JMG youth. Through fundraising and advocacy efforts, they raised $1000, enabling them to award two $500 scholarships to youth pursuing post-secondary education or career credentials. We are thrilled to announce that Maggie Sandoval from Northview Next Career Center in Grand Rapids, MI, and Harmony Bennet from Hartford High School in Hartford, MI, are the deserving recipients of this year's scholarships.

Maggie Sandoval: A Journey of Resilience and Determination

Maggie Sandoval, who graduated from Northview Next Career Center on May 23, plans to attend Alpena Community College beginning in August. At Alpena, Maggie aims to further both her academic and athletic pursuits, focusing on elementary education and continuing her softball career. Her goal is to influence and inspire children, much like the mentors who impacted her life.

Maggie's journey is one of resilience, determination, and inspiration. She faced significant hardships in her academic life, especially during her sophomore year, struggling to stay engaged in a traditional school setting. Despite these obstacles, Maggie harbored a dream of playing college softball and making a difference in children's lives.

Determined to achieve her academic and athletic goals, Maggie transferred to Northview Next Career Center (NNCC) and joined the Jobs for Michigan’s Graduates (JMG) program. Initially skeptical, she soon found the personalized and supportive environment to be life-changing. Maggie excelled, regaining lost credits, exploring diverse career pathways, and securing an internship at an elementary school, solidifying her passion for education. She not only grew as an individual but also as a role model for her peers. Her leadership extended beyond the classroom through active participation in community service and various career opportunities. Her perseverance and dedication earned high praise from her English teacher, who commended her strong work ethic, self-motivation, and commitment to excellence. 

As Maggie prepares to embark on her next chapter at Alpena Community College, she remains focused on her long-term goal of becoming an elementary school teacher and a coach. She hopes to inspire and guide the next generation of students and athletes, drawing from the exemplary mentorship she received throughout her journey. The Youth Advisory Council is proud to support Maggie as she continues to pursue her dreams and positively impact her community.

Harmony Bennet: Aspiring Nurse and Community Leader

Harmony Bennet graduated from Hartford High School on May 16 and has been a standout leader in her community and school. She will begin her studies in nursing at Providence College in August. From a young age, Harmony has always aspired to help others. This passion has driven her career goal of becoming a registered nurse, with the ambition to advance to a nurse practitioner or higher. Her commitment to this path has been unwavering since the seventh grade, supported by her parents and teachers.

Harmony's postsecondary education goals align perfectly with her career aspirations. She chose Providence College not only for its top-tier nursing program but also for its emphasis on helping others, which resonates deeply with her values. She believes this scholarship will help alleviate some of her tuition burdens, allowing her to focus more on her studies and less on financial pressures.

At Hartford High School, Harmony has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills as the Vice President of the Career Association in the JMG program. Her leadership was also evident when she represented Hartford High School at the Jobs for America's Graduates National Leadership Academy in Washington D.C., meeting with Congressman Jack Bergman and engaging in sessions on servant leadership. 

Her extensive community service, clocking over 150 hours, includes organizing and participating in projects such as the Adopt-A-Child Project, JMG Blood Drives, Purses for a Purpose, and United Way’s Rake-A-Difference. Harmony's JMG specialist describes her as hardworking, motivated, and compassionate, consistently earning high honors and balancing academic responsibilities with part-time jobs and extracurricular activities including National Honors Society, and leadership roles in the Common Ground Diversity Club.

Harmony's dedication to her education and community highlights the impact that motivated and caring individuals can have on the world around them. The Youth Advisory Council is proud to support Harmony as she embarks on her journey at Providence College, confident that her future in nursing will be bright and impactful.

Maggie and Harmony exemplify the spirit of the Youth Advisory Council scholarships: resilience, dedication, and a commitment to making a positive impact. Their stories serve as an inspiration to others, demonstrating that with hard work, passion, and support, remarkable achievements are possible. We look forward to seeing the positive contributions they will undoubtedly make in their respective fields and communities.


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