It doesn’t take a special talent, being top in your class, or coming from a certain social-cultural environment for a college student to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others and the surrounding community. All it takes is action, passion, compassion, good will and a desire to serve others. At Olivet College, these students are called Difference Makers.
“Olivet College prides itself on teaching students the divine art and science of doing good to others. This is what sets us apart from others. The Difference Maker Program supports this mission by providing students the opportunity to participate in a program that allows them to lead the charge for service learning,” said Lisa Lehman, assistant vice president for admissions. Students selected for the program may even be awarded a scholarship of up to $2,000 a year through the Olivet College Talent Scholarship program.
“When I was in high school, circumstances did not afford me many opportunities to volunteer or give back to my community. It was when I began participating in service projects as a student at Olivet College that I found my true calling,” said Carrie Jacob, OC director of the difference maker program and coordinator of community service. “Don’t ever think you’re not needed or there is nothing you can do to help one of our Olivet neighbors. The helping hand a Difference Maker provides another person or an organization may not seem like a big deal outwardly, but it does matter and it does have a significant impact on those you help.”
Anyone can be part of the Difference Maker program. To be considered for a scholarship, however, a candidate must be a new, full-time residential student and agree to complete 25 hours of service in the Olivet community each semester. In addition, Difference Makers coordinate the fall and spring Olivet College Service Day projects. Difference Makers meet regularly to build relationships amongst themselves, as well as to lend support and encouragement to one another while working on individual Difference Maker projects.
Incoming freshman Tatum Oxford has always been committed to helping others and is excited to be an OC Difference Maker scholarship recipient. “Community service has always been very important to me. I value relationships that are built upon helping others, traveling to areas where needs may go unnoticed by others, and creating happiness within myself and communities,” Tatum said. “There is such power in kindness, dedication and healthy risks. Follow your heart, it will lead you to where you are needed.”
In addition to helping the Olivet community, Difference Makers gain valuable transferable skills employers look for, including teamwork, interpersonal communication, time management, leadership, problem solving and creative thinking. Being exposed to different communities, cultures, beliefs or values can also give a Difference Maker new and unexpected direction in life. You’ll also make new like-minded friends and even gain a valuable reference or two. And, if you’re considering graduate school, being a Difference Maker demonstrates that you are a well-rounded student and responsible citizen who cares about and contributes to society.
“Difference Makers are students who consistently strive to be more and do good. If you have this drive, are not afraid to lead, and are open to new experiences, then I’d love to hear your story,” Carrie said. “As an OC Difference Maker you not only make a difference in the Olivet community, but serve as an example and role model for others. And, when you leave OC we know you will continue to be a Difference Maker no matter where life takes you!”
Are you a Difference Maker? Learn more about the Difference Maker program and scholarship by contacting Carrie Jacob at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269.749.7127. Visit campus or apply to become a Comet today!