Volunteers Make a Life by Giving

May 4, 2017 ~ Hundreds of members of the Volunteers Serving Schools program gathered for an appreciation bash given in their honor. The annual event at Olathe Northwest High School is a chance to thank those who volunteer their time in classrooms and support buildings to help teachers, students and other district staff.

"We are here today to celebrate and share our heartfelt appreciation to those members in our community who have said, 'Yes, I can volunteer' and 'How can we help?'" Community Liaison Heather Schoonover told the audience.

Since August, 637 volunteers have given more than 21,600 hours of their time to help in various ways. Although district teachers and administrators consider this help to be priceless, the Points of Light Foundation puts a value of $23.56 on each hour for a total value of $510,098.

Many of those individuals have volunteered with the district for years and earned lapel pins recognizing their contribution. During the volunteer bash on April 25, 34 people received pins for five years of service. Fifteen people earned 10-year pins and one person earned a 15-year pin. One individual also earned a 20-year pin.

Schoonover mentioned that 58 volunteers earned Presidential Service Awards and were honored at a Board of Education meeting last fall. That group included one person who earned a Lifetime Achievement Award for 4,000 hours of service, and another person who received a gold award for donating more than 500 hours in a single school year.

In her comments to the audience, Interim Superintendent Pat All quoted Winston Churchill — "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

Volunteerism in the district includes Script Pals working with third- and fourth-graders at Central and Westview elementary schools, Rotary Readers who read in classrooms, Adopt-a-School partners, and many other programs.

"Our outstanding district would not be what it is today without each of our community partners," Schoonover said.

volunteers gather for group photo Longtime friends, and those who may volunteer in the same building but not know each other, gathered for group photos before and after the volunteer bash. Program coordinators are Suzie Kaminski, Terri Jarboe and Pam Wolfe.
barbershop quartet sings

Fermatta Nowhere was one of two barbershop quartets from Olathe South High School to perform for the audience. The volunteer bash involves students of all ages because table art was supplied by Black Bob Elementary students under the guidance of art teacher Erica North.

audience claps for singers

The musical groups Rolls Voice and Fermatta Nowhere earned hearty applause from the audience for their performances. Their music director is Jan Holtus.

Interim superintendent speaks Interim Superintendent Pat All thanked the hundreds of volunteers for their dedication to students and staff during the past year.
volunteers pick up gifts

As a thank you, each volunteer received a gift bag and roll of wrapping paper donated by Hallmark. Door prizes were provided by Anna Mae’s Café, Houlihans, Junque Drawer, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Smokin’ Joe’s BBQ, Strips Chicken, and cookie platters from Diane Gossage.

Photos by Marlene Colgan