Meredith VanSkiver’s involvement in her community reaches beyond normal standards


Junior Meredith VanSkiver has a knack for lifting up the people around her. Whether it’s lifting her fellow teammates up while stunting for cheer or lifting her community up in spirit and support, Meredith will be there.

Through her effort, Meredith aspires to help people in whichever ways she can.

“I think the thing that motivates me the most is trying to just be the best person that I can be,” Meredith said. “I know that I have so much potential to do stuff in my community and in my school.”

Meredith’s involvement in her community began at an early age. One example is when she entered the realm of cheerleading as a young kid. Its lasting impact has caused a continuation of the sport in her life, and Meredith has stuck with it to this day.

As a base, Meredith holds crucial responsibility on the team. Often, while stunting, she acts as a part of the foundation that holds her teammate up at the top of the pyramid.

“[When] I’m holding the girl, it’s just a really empowering feeling,” Meredith said. “It feels like you’re super important and integral; you’re literally holding a girl’s life in your hands.”

Along with stunting, many aspects of cheer have brought light into her life. However, the coaches themselves play a large role in the sport’s impact in Meredith’s world.

“When I first got into cheer, other than all of my friends and the excitement of the sport, it was the coaches that really helped me,” Meredith said. “I thought they were like the coolest people on earth. I looked up to them.”

Meredith has taken what she’s learned through her own experiences and decided to reverse her role on the cheer team. Recently, in the fall season, she decided to reserve five hours of her week to coach younger cheerleaders in 5th and 6th grade, and she believes she’s become a better person because of it.

“I just kind of thought about all that those [old coaches] have done for me, and it would be cool to be that for somebody else,” Meredith said. “I wanted to inspire [the younger cheerleaders] and just be that leader-type person for them like another girl was for me.”

Other than Meredith’s influential career in cheerleading and coaching, she impacts her community in other ways as well.

Through her position in the student council as secretary of the board, Meredith was placed in a position of leadership in the school. In this position, she is held to higher expectations than that of a typical member of the student council; not only does she help run school-related events, but she also assists in running the council itself.

However, her favorite part about her involvement in the council reaches farther from the school.

“While I do love doing stuff that directly helps the school, because that is mostly what student council is about, Family Promise is directly changing people’s lives,” Meredith said. “[Family Promise] is a really cool way of helping my community. I think without student council, I would have no idea that it even existed.”

Family Promise is an organization that assists in transforming the lives of people who do not have a home. As a member of the student council, Meredith helps this organization and the people who are a part of it by raising money through the school and volunteering.

With her involvement in the community, Meredith is able to directly impact people’s lives in several different ways.

Whether it’s because of the student council, cheer, or even the little things in life, Meredith consistently tries to find ways to help the people around her. Her actions and positive outlook on life display her effort and her determination to become the best version of herself that she can.

“I don’t want to float through life,” Meredith said. “While I’m [in Grand Rapids], I might as well try to put in as much as I can and be the best person, student, and citizen—try to leave an impact, if I can.”