Making a Difference…One Day and Student at a Time
As a parent of four, the end of August not only signifies the changing of the seasons but a new school year. I’m sure many of you reading this can relate. This year, I’m sending two of my kids, Zach and Evan, back to the University of Iowa. I’ll also be watching keenly as another student I’ve gotten to know very well over the summer heads back to school.
You see, Innovative Captive Strategies (ICS) had the pleasure of working with University of Iowa student Jacob Newcomb this summer. As an accounting student, Jacob keeps plenty busy with school work. Outside of classes, he sets the bar high when it comes to a part-time college job. Where most students would just be worried about making new friends, getting that perfect internship with Holmes Murphy, or trying to keep that spot on the Dean’s list, Jacob had bigger plans in mind. Any guesses? How about starting a nonprofit organization?
Jacob and his fellow fraternity brother did just that at the University of Iowa when they co-founded Students Care. The idea behind this startup is to assist students with disabilities by providing everyday home healthcare. Their mission? To improve the college experience for these students through reliable student-to-student, on-campus care rather than working with a third-party healthcare company. Students Care is a registered nonprofit organization that currently uses Medicaid waiver funds to fund their operations (with the hope of one day supplementing these with grant funds and fundraisers).
To say these students are just providing healthcare is an understatement. Students Care is fully immersing students with disabilities into the college community. They are providing tutoring, scheduling assistance, friendships, and support that home healthcare services just can’t match. What started as a two-person investment to help one student who is quadriplegic attend college classes directly on the University of Iowa campus has now turned into a 50-employee operation that assists 10 students throughout the school year and even extends to the Iowa State University campus.
As for the employees of Students Care, the reward is far greater than receiving a little extra cash. Their lives are completely changed after assisting students with disabilities. The job comes with a whole new sense of responsibility and integrity to make sure each client is properly cared for every day. If someone can’t make a shift, they have a group messaging system to make sure another student on campus can cover the shift and help the client in need. They are building relationships with these students and gaining a new outlook on life and appreciation for what many of us take for granted. I am lucky to have my own children, Zach and Evan, volunteer with Students Care, and their experiences have been life changing.
So where do you go after creating your own nonprofit at a Big 10 university? As an incoming senior at the University of Iowa, Jacob’s mission isn’t over yet. The Students Care team hopes to meet with various universities to discuss the advantages of their program. They want to eventually get ADA compliancy for after-school care for students with disabilities at all college universities. We’ve seen how impactful the “Iowa Wave” had throughout the university AND all over the nation, and I know Jacob and his team will continue to have a similar impact on university students.
Published on: 08.26.19