Great Bend High School’s Seventh Annual Community Service Day led over 800 students and staff out of the school and into the community on Wednesday, April 24. Students and teachers were scattered throughout Great Bend and Barton County, working on various projects that included everything from painting, sorting, picking up trash, working on city, church, and school grounds, and helping local non-profits and businesses. With students logging hours of community service and working hard to better the community, job sites across Great Bend served as “classrooms” for life skills and community pride.
“Community Service Day has been a huge success at GBHS by giving us one day where we can show our entire community that 800 teenagers can, and do make a difference in this city,” said Great Bend High School Principal Tim Friess. “The day is a great way to give back a little to those that have helped us and to show the value of helping others. Our students seem to get as much satisfaction out of the day as those who are being helped.”
Morgan Stevens, owner of Yoga Central in Great Bend, welcomed students to her business to help refresh her landscaping and a few other small projects.
“It means the world to me that these kids come out and put the effort in,” Stevens said. “To do the work of these eight people would take me days and days, when as a business owner, finding even one day seems impossible.
“Community service day helps bring things together; helping our students be a part of our community builds the connections that keep our community afloat,” said Stevens.
At the Barton County Historical Society Museum and Village, students divided and conquered to accomplish both indoor and outdoor tasks. Monica Bowers, volunteer and master gardener, commented about students clearing flowerbeds and landscaping, saying, “we are so grateful for community service day. This day gives us a fresh start for the season and makes the work of our volunteers attainable.”
The idea for this project came from a few passionate students more than seven years ago and continues to be refined and enhanced with the help of several student organizations and Andrea Stalcup who serves as the Community Service Day coordinator. Generous corporate sponsors underwrite expenses from the day. The event has garnered tremendous support over the years, giving the student body the opportunity to select a charity to support with the excess funds. This year, Kans for Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation was chosen and representatives Deb Reif, executive director, and Kaito Richter, cancer survivor and Kans for Kids ambassador, accepted a check in the amount of $1,250 for the organization. Additionally, Tina Hiss led a district-wide effort, involving the elementary buildings, in the collection of cans to be donated to Kans for Kids.