West High’s iJAG program hosts resource fair

On Dec. 2 West High’s iJAG program hosted its second-ever resource fair in the cafeteria.

Jane Lam, Sachiko Goto, and Erinn Varga

West High’s iJAG program hosted its second annual resource fair on Dec. 2 during AFT. iJAG, which stands for Iowa Jobs for American Graduates, is a program that partners with various schools around the state to help students graduate high school, go to college or get a job. At West, iJAG is a year-long course that is available to all grades. The resource fair sought to connect West High students with community resources that support students and their families. 

Students were able to walk around the cafeteria and stop at different local organizations’ booths. Organizations such as TRIO, United Action for Youth, Iowa Legal Aid, and CommUnity Mobile Crisis Response were there to connect with students and advertise their services. 

“We saw that sometimes students need resources that … reach outside of the classrooms and outside of the school settings. So we said … why don’t we invite them into our school and have it be convenient and accessible for everybody?” said Shenika McGill, West’s ninth through 10th-grade iJAG specialist. 

The resource fair is only an extension of what West’s iJAG is trying to accomplish. President Heba War ’23 hopes to make the class a welcoming environment for everyone to get connected. “iJAG isn’t just a class that people of color take, it’s a class for everyone. It’s just a really great environment for people,” War said. iJAG students have the opportunity to work on homework during the period and also work in different committees on in-class projects that reach out to the larger community at West.  

“This resource fair is a project that our students came up with, to get community resources in front of the student body here at West,” said Josh Kidman, West’s 11-12th grade iJAG specialist. “There are resources from mental health counseling, to college aid, all the way to legal aid, sweeping through all the diverse needs of West High. We’re trying to address [the fact that] there are resources in the community, and they’re here to provide for our students.”

Students who are interested in joining iJAG can reach out to their counselor.