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4-21-22 — Volunteer Bash Returns after Two-Year Hiatus

April 21, 2022 ~ Volunteers spent more than 9,180 hours helping in district classrooms and offices so far this school year. They continue to return each day to help students and staff in myriad ways. Those selfless individuals were the focus of a celebration held April 19 at Olathe Northwest High School. 

The Volunteers Serving Schools and Adopt-A-School Bash returned to Northwest after a two-year hiatus because of COVID-19. Attendees were treated to colorful artwork on the tables by Ravenwood Elementary School students, and peppy music from the Olathe Northwest Jazz Band under the direction of Robert Davis. 

Community Liaison Heather Schoonover thanked the district’s 540 volunteers and 120 partner organizations for their dedication and said the Points of Light Foundation values every volunteer hour at $28.54. A mock check for $262,226 worth of volunteerism was presented to Dr. Brent Yeager, superintendent.

Yeager commented on how many retired district employees were in the audience as volunteers. “You choose to make a positive impact on our district every day,” he told the volunteers. 

Two of those volunteers shared some of their experiences of lending a hand to the district. 

Liz Tatham of Journey Bible Church spoke about their partnership with schools. “I love watching how, together, we can stretch resources. We should all focus on ‘What can I do?’” she said. 

Steve Hill, a member of the Volunteers Serving Schools advisory board, began volunteering at his grandson’s elementary school several years ago. What started as a visit during lunch grew year by year to include helping at recess, reading to students, helping with group work, math, and field trips.

“My grandson is now a junior in high school, but I’m still in second grade at Arbor Creek Elementary,” Hill joked. “I come back because of the children. Thank you to all you volunteers. You have your own list of motivations for being here.”

The afternoon event also celebrated 22 individuals who received five-year service pins, 11 people who received 10-year pins, two for 15 years, three for 20 years, and one who achieved 25 years of volunteering with the district. 

The Adopt-A-School program connects business, faith, civic and parent partners to each school. Olathe’s Volunteers Serving Schools program includes mentors and what was originally known as Seniors Serving Schools. That aspect of the program will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year. For more information about Volunteers Serving Schools, please visit their webpage.