2 volunteers share Basehor-Linwood YouthFriends award
Two women share the Basehor-Linwood School District YouthFriends of the Year award.
Jeanette Kleoppel and Connie Lillich donated the same number of hours for 2002-03, 168 hours apiece, while volunteering to help students at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School.
Both women have volunteered since 2000.
"I like to get to know the kids." said Kleoppel. "It's very important to volunteer. It starts them on a positive path for the rest of their lives. I go once a week into my children's classrooms. It doesn't take a lot of time to make a huge difference. The kids soak up a lot of attention."
Lillich was named top volunteer in 2001-2002. She mentors and tutors in six classrooms, two of which are her children's classes.
"I feel like I've accomplished something wonderful. Each time I walk down the hall and get a high five, it makes it all worthwhile for me."
The YouthFriends Corps "Care Cat of the Year" goes to Basehor-Linwood High School senior Jennifer Douglas.
She volunteered Monday through Friday, both semesters and donated a total of 176 hours.
"I loved watching their eyes light up when I worked with them," she said.
Rachel Wacaser, with more than 100 hours donated, is YouthFriends "Pioneer" Care Cat. She is the first Care Cat to mentor at BLMS in the history of Care Cats.
A YouthFriends Corps "Care Cat" pizza party took place last Friday to recognize all 54 of the Basehor Linwood High School mentors.
Other YouthFriends volunteering more than 100 hours are:
- From Glenwood Ridge; Belinda Kraemer, Laura Carroll and Mary Kamm
- From Basehor Elementary; Cyndi Kenton, Vicki Keating and Shelley Stevens
- From Linwood Elementary: Dorothy Coder, Pat Wolfe and Marceline Turner
The YouthFriends recognized for traveling from school to school, volunteering are:
- Sara Jump, who volunteered at Basehor Elementary, Basehor-Linwood Middle School and Basehor-Linwood High School
- Belinda Kraemer, who volunteered at Glenwood Ridge, Basehor-Linwood Middle School and Basehor-Linwood High School.
"We've been so fortunate to see strong numbers with our middle school mentors" said Tammy Potts, YouthFriends coordinator. "Six of our seven middle school YouthFriends doubled up between an elementary school and middle school."
YouthFriends also honored Kraemer and Stevens for their roles as volunteer educators with the Operation Wildlife Learning Sites.
Kraemer spends long hours organizing Glenwood Ridge's OWLS program while Shelley Stevens organizes the OWLS program at Basehor Elementary.
It's estimated that each woman volunteers more than 100 hours with the OWLS program and help maintain the school's gardens.
YouthFriends is also honoring its male volunteers.
"Our YouthFriend male volunteers deserve a special pat on the back too," Potts said. "The majority of our YouthFriends in the district, and statewide for that matter, are women. That's why it is so unique that we have six dedicated men who are in the classroom, helping kids to read and looking over their studies."
Male volunteers are Linwood Elementary's' John Kane, Glenwood Ridge's Larry Jennings, and Jeff Storms, Basehor Elementary's Jeff Foster, David Long and Joe Falley III.
Long and Falley also mentor and tutor at the high school.