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4-19-19 — Pilot Mentoring Program Announced at Volunteer Bash

April 19, 2019 ~ The 2019 Volunteers Serving Schools celebration was more than a time to honor hundreds of people who donate their time to students and staff. It featured the announcement of a new pilot mentoring program that will extend to post-secondary.

Adam Fuller of Olathe North High School received the Pam Murphy Memorial Mentoring Scholarship and will be the district’s first graduate to participate in an extended mentoring program as he enters college in the fall. He and his mentor, Cody Kennedy, have established a friendship over the past six years.

More than 560 volunteers (senior adults, mentors, etc.) were recognized April 16 at the district’s annual volunteer bash at Olathe Northwest High School. Volunteers help as one-on-one mentors, classroom helpers, office helpers, and myriad other roles. This school year, through the end of March, volunteers gave 20,384 hours to benefit students and staff across the district.

“Volunteers are needed and we are meeting the need,” said Community Liaison Heather Schoonover, before adding that more volunteers are always needed and welcome.

Each of those 20,000-plus hours of volunteer time is valued at $24.69 by the Points of Light Foundation, resulting in a half-million-dollar benefit for the Olathe Public Schools. Last fall dozens of volunteers earned recognition in the Presidential Volunteer Service Award program. Forty-eight volunteers gave 100-249 hours in 2017-18, qualifying for the bronze award. Another 10 gave 250-499 hours and earned the silver award. Gold awards were earned by six people who donated more than 500 hours last school year.

Dedicated volunteers range from longtime school board member Ruth Ann Hackler who continues to volunteer into her mid-90s, to the dozens of people who earned their five-year pin with Volunteers Serving Schools this year. Two 25-year volunteer pins were given at this year’s event.

“Thank you for all that you do,” Superintendent John Allison told the crowd. “I haven’t had a school visit that didn’t include our volunteers. Our district is unlike any place in the country.”