Chatfield SM Drafts (December)

Volunteer Spotlight: April Houk

December 4, 2023

April Houk has strong connections to Chatfield. Living just a mile away, she often rides her bike or walks through the campus and even got married in Chatfield’s historic Sacred Heart Chapel. Her husband’s family has farmed nearby land for almost 40 years and his grandmother was even a cook at the former boarding school of the Brown County Ursulines for nearly 50 years.

As a college student, earning an associate degree from Southern State and later her BSN from Purdue University, April doesn’t recall having significant support, something she hopes to change as a mentor with The Chatfield Edge. “It’s important for students to know that someone is in their corner and that no question is a dumb question.”

April’s nursing career included home care, outpatient surgery, administration, and eventually school nursing in Brown County. While she connected with young people in the community as a school nurse, she was simultaneously helping her husband farm 1300 acres of land. Two years ago, she acquired her commercial driver’s license so she could drive a semi to haul harvested grain to Cincinnati’s riverfront for export.

When April heard that The Chatfield Edge was looking for mentors, she immediately wanted to seize the opportunity. She wanted to give back to a community that came out to support her after the death of her daughter, Allie, who was tragically killed in an ATV accident in 2021. “The community was so good to me. I can’t give back enough.”

As a mentor, she hopes to walk alongside of and be an access point for young adults, guiding them through their struggles, sharing her own perspective, and ultimately helping them succeed in life by pursing education. “You have to wade through the trials that life gives you and ask: ‘Will this matter in six months?’ If not, don’t sweat it.”

In reflecting on her experience with her mentee she said, “I have witnessed substantial growth and independence and enjoy watching her blossom in her educational journey.”

The Chatfield Edge is growing and needs more mentors like April to accompany its first-generation and non-traditional students who are enrolled in college, trade school, and certificate programs. We provide training for our mentors who meet with students about four times each semester to encourage them along their path to gain success in life through education. To find out more or to sign up to be a mentor, contact David Hesson, Director of Programs, at or call 513-875-3344 x 115.