Youth Leadership Initiative


Preparing young people for college and successfully getting them to graduate, apply, and enter institutions of higher learning must start well before high school. Partnering with local schools and non-profit organizations to provide directed mentoring, leadership training, and to empower young people and their families through their own local histories is the aim of GVSU’s Kutsche Office of Local History Youth Leadership Initiative. 


Portrait of a Community: A Collaborative Youth Leadership Project

When most people think about history they imagine only the past. For one dynamic group of young people, though, they are using history to shape their future. Over the past year GVSU's Kutsche Office of Local History (GAAH), Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities, and the Grand Rapids Public Library have teamed up through GAAH's Cook Library Scholars program to document the history of Grand Rapids' Grandville Avenue community, creating the city's first Latino-focused archive. Made up of 31 K-8th graders from mostly immigrant families, the Cook Library Scholars Program is an after-school opportunity for youth that provides academic support, family engagement opportunities, and teaches leadership skills. A video documentary and exhibition featuring this unique, interdisciplinary collaboration will be unveiled on September 18, 2014 in the Cook Library Center, 1100 Grandville Avenue SW.


Volunteer & Internship Opportunities

We have a number of volunteer opportunities with our Youth Leadership Initiative.  Undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to bring their talents as we help the young people in our community.  Students can help with media presentations, mentoring high school and middle school students, event planning, and a number of other opportunities.

To apply for an internship or volunteer opportunity, please write a brief letter including the following information:

·         What internship position you are apply for?

·         Why you are interested in the position?

·         What you hope to learn from this internship experience?

·         Highlight the skills you could bring to the position.

·         Your major/minor.

Please note knowledge of spanish language is not required except for the Translation/Transcription internship position. 

Email application letter to Courtney Sherwood at




Kutsche Office of Local History

324 Lake Ontario Hall (GVSU Allendale Campus)
Dept. Phone: 616-331-8099 
Dept. Fax: 616-331-8111