The Billy Bear Hug Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is a unique service-learning and professional development opportunity that puts West Michigan high school students front and center in running a non-profit organization.


The YAB is a unique service-learning program that puts West Michigan youth at the center of running a non-profit organization. Selected student leaders serve as ambassadors for the organization and engage in projects to advance the goals and mission of BBH. In turn, YAB members gain access to unique professional development opportunities, including resume workshops and meetings with CEOs, medical professionals & nonprofit leaders. 

After a selection process, accepted members immediately jump into projects that have a direct impact on both children with illness, and BBH itself. In the past, board members have crafted marketing campaigns, assisted in the distribution of bears to children, and owned other meaningful projects that have dramatically increased BBH's impact. 

Marketing video created by the BBH Youth Advisory Board to better connect donors and community members to the BBH cause, featuring a patient with a GoPro strapped to his Billy Bear.

Being a member of the board is a learning opportunity you won't find in most classrooms - you'll learn first-hand about many different aspects of running a nonprofit organization and frequently receive mentorship from doctors, community, and business leaders that BBH works with. 

“Watching the commitment and engagement of our community’s 'next generation' of leaders in philanthropy is truly heartwarming!  Not only does their work touch the lives of patients and families currently in our care, but it gives us a special look into the future, a future in which vital organizations like Billy Bear Hug continue to embrace and empower the work of children's hospitals in the years to come.  We are all deeply grateful.” - Dr. James Fahner, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital

Youth Advisory Board

(Click on each image to learn more about each of our amazing YAB members!)