Grad Takes LVC Lessons Learned, Pays It Forward

Jacob Whitfield

Building on essential lessons learned from his childhood and time at LVC, Jacob Whitfield ’19 mentors “secondary-aged students with emotional support needs” at the Yellow Breeches Educational Center in Annville. As a full-time emotional support teacher, Whitfield helps fulfill Yellow Breeches’ mission “to provide a quality, comprehensive, life-altering special education program for secondary school-aged students, identified with emotional support needs, who are at risk to fail in the traditional academic setting.” 

Having just joined Yellow Breeches, a private academic school licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Whitfield will use skills gained in his first post-graduate position as a Transitional Living Assistant at the nearby Milton Hershey School.

“My position at Milton Hershey was similar to a life coach,” said Whitfield, a history major from York, Pa. “Seniors moved into transitional apartments where they had a food budget and learned other important skills to help them transition into adulthood. We taught them how to budget, tie a tie, pay bills through a bank, and hold each other accountable.

“Growing up, I encountered adversity. My parents showed me what hard work looks like. If you want to succeed, you have to apply yourself and gather as much information as you can before you leave high school.”

At Milton Hershey, Whitfield worked with nearly 30 seniors, many of whom go to college, while others find success in the workforce or military. Along with his transitional living role, Whitfield put his four years of LVC football experience to use by creating a strength and conditioning workout program for students. 

“That’s one thing I used to help the students be active,” he said. “I want to create similar programs and outlets at Yellow Breeches. I want to focus on small talk and devotions to help change their perspectives. I also want to listen to them, too, they can teach you a lot. I’m hoping that we help each other grow.” 

In addition to playing football, Whitfield enjoyed other opportunities at LVC. Time spent as part of the Men of Distinguished Excellence (M.O.D.E.) program taught Whitfield similar lessons to those he imparts to Yellow Breeches students today. M.O.D.E., which originated through a Student Innovation Grant, provides academic, professional, and social development experiences to enable males to succeed in all areas of their LVC careers. Programming includes a mobile barber coming to campus, movie events, field trips, study halls, and camaraderie. 

Whitfield also participated as a mentor through Big Brothers/Big Sisters, but spending time working with kids was nothing new. His first summer job was with the local parks and recreation department in high school. He also spent time working at the Crispus Attucks Center, a community-based nonprofit in York, and completed substitute teaching and behavior support at Yellow Breeches Educational Center.

“I hope to be a resource with the platform I have now, but I’d like to be a part of a mentorship program and a voice for people who are voiceless.”