By Camey Crossley
Giving back to your community can be one of the most rewarding experiences and due to volunteer-based clubs, lots of teens are more eager than ever to volunteer! Last month, my friends and I got the opportunity to volunteer for the Liberty Hospital Half Marathon with a Gary Crossley Ford volunteer team. Our Saturday started bright and early at the Liberty Square, where we handed out water to all the participating runners. It was a fun and rewarding experience, we are already planning for next year! Not to mention the half marathon supports the Liberty Hospital Foundation, which helps to assist patients and has many wonderful programs that impact the entire community. So all of our hard work was for a good cause. After volunteering at the marathon we were looking for even more opportunities to get out and help our local community, thankfully for us, there are tons of local volunteer opportunities for students in the Liberty and Kearney area. When asking around, I talked to some of my friends who volunteer in some cool ways. I interviewed a few of them and asked them about their experiences.
Madison Tucker, who volunteered with the Kansas City Zoo under a program called the VolunTEENS. This program offers different opportunities for young adults who have good leadership skills, communication skills, and a genuine interest in animals. Madison was a “Trailblazer” which means that she got to interact with guests by sharing different facts about the animals, showing them different artifacts, answering any questions they might have, and trying to give guests a more personal experience. She volunteered pretty regularly, as well as helped during the week-long kids camp in July. This program is a great way to “build people skills and conversation habits”, Madison told me, as well as just “being a fun way to get involved in something new.” It sounds like Madison had the best time being a “VolunTEEN”, but don’t just take it from me, she wants you to apply! She told me, “If you know anyone with a passion for people, animals, or conservation this program is a fabulous one to be a part of!”
I also spoke with Chase Zeller, who volunteers at the Englewood Baptist Church Food Pantry. This food pantry is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and Chase volunteers a few Tuesday’s a month. He normally helps unpack boxes, distribute food, and help with anything else they need! I asked him what his favorite part is and he said, “I love being able to give back to my local community ” and later told me that “I learn a lot of life skills from and never fail to enjoy myself when I’m there.” Chase mentioned that they’re always looking for new volunteers and any help they can get. So If you’re looking for a fun opportunity to give back this might be for you!
Liberty North High School has some great students who care a lot about our community, but no matter what your age there are always tons of opportunities to volunteer locally. Whether it’s volunteering at your local church, animal rescue, library, or food pantry anything you can do to help will make Liberty and Kearney a more enjoyable place to live. So, get out and go volunteer!