Pro(Act) Engages Youth Through Service Learning
There are folks who talk about helping kids, and those who roll up their
sleeves to get the job done. Meet Derrin Slack, Executive Director of
Pro(Act) Community Partnerships, a man who has been improving the
lives of children since 2010.
Growing up, Derrin struggled with an embarrassing stutter that has
persisted into adulthood. As a youth, he was very shy and lacked both
confidence and self-esteem. Because he was smart and athletic, Derrin found refuge in performing well in both academics and sports. He also was encouraged and supported along the way by many teachers, coaches, and mentors who believed in his potential to succeed in life.
After graduating from Lawrence North High School, Derrin enrolled in Wabash College, where he became a starting defensive back and a varsity track and field star. In Spring 2008, Derrin traveled with 20 Wabash College students to Maun, Botswana on a church mission trip. He spent his days teaching Bible lessons and showing villagers, students and prisoners how to play American sports. The experience was life-altering and sowed the seeds for what Derrin saw as his life’s purpose: Creating opportunities for others to be profoundly impacted by performing acts of service learning.
Upon his return to the United States, Derrin transferred from Wabash to Indiana University. He spent the majority of his summers working as an English instructor through the Office of Community and School Partnerships, where he helped develop and teach lesson plans for the Summer Achievers Academy and the Pathfinders academies. As a Hoosier, he earned his bachelor’s degree in English.
In 2010, Derrin made two visits to New Orleans to assist in the relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The experiences solidified his conviction that his future lay in community service work. Derrin targeted his goal on creating an organization that focused on exposing youth ages 12-18 to service work to allow them the opportunity to grow up confident and strong as he did. Pro(ACT) Community Partnerships, Inc., was born.
After two years of laying the foundation for the organization, in 2012 Pro(Act) gained a valuable partnership with the Lawrence Community Football League working with youth to conduct service projects in the Greater Indianapolis area in the first installment of its flagship program, “Project > (Greater Than) Me.” Youth commit to performing a variety of projects every Saturday for 10 weeks, from community clean-ups to building ramps to help wheelchair-bound residents leave their homes
To date, Pro(Act) has logged 5,705 hours of community service since mid-2012. Other notable benchmarks include:
• 1,179 student leaders completed 4,195 community service hours already in 2014
• The creation of an after-school program at Oaklandon Elementary School and Mary Castle Township in Lawrence Townships for students in grades 4-6
• More than 94 percent of youth were retained in the program
• Direct service was provided to more than 30 notable Indianapolis organizations including: Center of Wellness for Urban Women, Wheeler Mission Ministries, Outside the Box, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Second Helpings, and SAWs Ramps.
Today, Derrin juggles growing Pro(Act) while working full-time as an EPIC Credentialed Trainer at Community Health Network. Derrin trains physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals on the usage of software to update and maintain medical records.
To support Pro(Act) Community Partnerships, contact Derrin directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or make a donation by visiting http://www.proactcp.org/get-involved/financial-support/
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