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Amber DeJonge: Making a Difference in the Community

Amber Dejonge, A Forest Hills Eastern Junior, is a powerhouse athlete with many passions.

She participates in three sports: softball, ice hockey, and field hockey. She is also involved in three nonprofits: Toys for Tots, Griffins Youth Foundation, and Billy Bear Hug. Lastly, at school she is a member of the National Honors Society, Student Government, and Volunteer Board. Even she wonders how she has time for it all.

Amber plays hockey on 19U travel girls AA tier two team. This is her sixth year playing hockey but her first not playing as a goalie. She now plays defense and center for the Graha Griffins. Her favorite part is finally being on the same team as all her friends she has been playing with for the past six years: “being on the same team is a lot of fun because now we can actually do plays and  we just work really well together.”

Amber is also on the varsity softball team. She has played since elementary school and plans on continuing the sport through high school. “My favorite part of softball is probably all my fun friends I get to hang out with. We’ve all known each other for a very long time and have been playing together since elementary school. It’s really fun to be playing with the same people and playing against old teammates.”

Amber is the captain of the varsity field hockey team. Her team is a member of division one and is ranked seventh in the state. Her love for field hockey brought her family a new member: Karlijn Gorter. Kar is a foreign exchange student from The Netherlands that has come to live with her family for the year to play field hockey. She loves getting to play with her sister. “Even if we’re not winning every game, it’s still fun to say that I’m a part of one of the top teams in the state. We aren’t an easy team to beat.”

Amber DeJonge playing field hockey.

In her downtime, Amber volunteers with nonprofits. Ever since she was born, her family has worked with the organization, Toys for Tots. Her dad runs the operations of Toys for Tots in Kent County and her mom is now the secretary. The Dejonge’s don’t count down the days till Christmas, they count down the days till toy distribution day. “When I was a baby I’d sit with the check-in ladies like making all the parents smile. Then once I could start working I’d put toys on tables and break down boxes. Now, I actually get to walk around with parents, helping them pick out toys and translate for Spanish speakers.” Another organization she works with is The Griffins Youth Foundation. Her family got the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2017. They bring the sport of hockey to underprivileged children throughout West Michigan. Lastly, she works with Billy Bear Hug, bringing the cure of comfort to kids in the hospital with life-threatening illnesses. “We were just ice skating on January 11th with a cancer survivor named Aiden. it was a lot of fun seeing him fulfill his dream of playing ice hockey. He was in awe of the varsity players.”

The Bille Bear Hug team.

Amber says the key to juggling all her extracurriculars is, “being on top of everything, using your planner, making sure that your academics come first.” 

 

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