Nine hundred fifth-graders in safety yellow T-shirts invaded Western’s campus Tuesday, Oct. 21, for Compass to Campus day and, as a Western Washington University grad, I was honored to be part of it, sharing my passion for books and writing with this diverse group of kids. As amazing as my day on campus was, I was astonished to learn it was only a small part of what Compass to Campus is all about. Nearly 500 Western students across disciplines have committed to volunteer in 31 area schools; those fifth-graders will have mentors follow them until they are seniors in high school. The program — the brainchild of Cyndie Shepard — is in its fifth year and, as of June, participants have clocked over 123,000 hours of volunteer service.
Compass to Campus is such a win/win program: It benefits everyone involved, from the youngest students who get a glimpse of the importance of higher education, to the college students learning valuable job skills, to those of us living in the Pacific Northwest who are the ultimate beneficiaries of engaged and well-educated young people.
A huge thanks to everyone involved in this program; I am in awe of what has been accomplished in five short years.