Volunteer program earns state acclaim
In the six years since the Basehor-Linwood School District implemented its YouthFriends volunteer program, more than 25,000 hours have been dedicated to approximately 3,000 students.
Figures such as these, as well as the efforts of 173 volunteers, have impressed more than just district officials.
This week, school district officials learned that its YouthFriends program earned a lofty state award.
The Kansas National Educators Association named Basehor-Linwood's program, and its partner, YouthFriends Greenbush, as the top joint volunteering effort in the state.
"Research shows that when children have adults in their immediate world who work with them on a regular basis, they are more successful in their schoolwork , in social settings and at home," said Jill Hackett, Basehor-Linwood School District superintendent. "We in Basehor-Linwood are fortunate beyond words to have this well established and effectively managed volunteer program in our school district."
Also honored by the educators association were YouthFriends volunteers.
The Basehor Gold PRIDE Performers earned second place in the community/civic organization category.
For three years, the group has performed educational skits at each of the district's elementary schools.
"This is so worth it," said France Rake, PRIDE Performers president. "You see their smiles and you realize you're not even thinking of all the aches and pains you have. You're worried you'll forget your line. When you deliver it, and see how they light up, it makes you light up too."
Patricia Wolfe, a YouthFriend volunteer for the past three years at Linwood Elementary School, received a third place award in the top volunteer category.
Tammy Potts, YouthFriends coordinator, said she's beaming with pride regarding her organization's awards.
"Our community has three huge reasons to celebrate," Potts said.
"This is a statewide salute to their dedication to kids, and the gift they give of themselves in doing so."