Buckhannon native named 2014 Newman Civic Fellow

Buckhannon native Jamie Blake, a senior secondary education and history major at West Virginia Wesleyan College, was recently named a 2014 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact.

Newman Civic Fellows are recommended by college and university presidents to acknowledge motivation and ability in public leadership.

Blake’s passion falls with adolescent-aged students and helping them complete school through Appalachian Impact, a one-on-one mentoring program that addresses the 32 percent dropout rate in Upshur County. With the help of co-team Appalachian Impact Program Coordinators Justin Bowers of the New Community Church in Buckhannon and Brittany Johnk, a fellow We Lead member, Blake submitted a $30,000 proposal to a grant foundation for the program.

“Appalachian Impact will change the way you see teenagers,” Blake said. “These students are overcoming all odds to have hope in their own lives and give back to the community. These students have a mentor who cares, and that is so important to not only their future, but also the future of the city, state and nation.”

As a We Lead member of the Annual Events Issues Team, Blake organized and implemented campus and community activities to create awareness about global, regional and local social issues such as hunger, social justice and free trade. As part of the We Lead Children and Youth Issues Team, she also coordinated Parent Relief, a child care Christmas project.

Blake also is a Wesleyan Service Scholar, and she has spent upward of 450 hours volunteering at the Parish House, Stockert Youth Center, Union Elementary School and Oxfam Hunger Banquet.

“Jamie has been an outstanding student who has challenged herself beyond the classroom at Wesleyan,” said Katie Loudin, coordinator of outreach and leadership development. “As a Buckhannon native, she is deeply committed to the community and has proven her commitment through her involvement with Appalachian Impact. As a result of her hard work and collaboration with like-minded individuals who also are dedicated to the empowerment of local youth, Appalachian Impact’s programs are expanding rapidly. I have no doubt that Jamie’s passion combined with her community development experience will make her a great asset to any community someday, whether she is teaching history or working within a nonprofit organization.”

Blake also represented Wesleyan in the state’s Campus Compact organization by publicizing its community engagement initiatives. She also was selected to represent the education department as part of the Academic Affairs Committee.

“With the encouragement and support of the Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development, I was able to achieve this success,” Blake said. “My dreams were always supported, no matter how crazy they seemed.”

The Newman Civic Fellows Award honors inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. Through service, research and advocacy, Newman Civic Fellows are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change. The students represent the next generation of public problem-solvers and civic leaders.

Newman Civic Fellows awards are made in memory of Frank Newman, who dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform. Newman’s leadership was selfless, optimistic and determined, spanning an incredible career of more than five decades. At the core of Newman’s leadership was a belief in the power of individuals to make a difference and in the power of connection with others.

The Newman Civic Fellows Awards are made possible through the support of the KPMG Foundation.

Campus Compact is a national coalition of almost 1,200 college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the public purposes of higher education. As the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact promotes public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills, helps forge effective community/campus partnerships and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum. Campus Compact’s membership includes public, private, two- and four-year institutions across the spectrum of higher education.

For more information, visit www.compact.org.