Barton Instructor and Coordinator of Business Kathy Boeger has a reputation on campus for her positive energy and upbeat attitude. An email from Kathy has the power to uplift the spirits of the entire campus. It’s not surprising that with her sunny disposition and outlook on life, she’s made it a personal goal to enhance students’ lives through community service groups, which in turn benefit the community at large.
“I’m a different person because of my husband and he’s one of the most positive people I’ve ever met,” she said. “I’ve just taken on his personality from way back, and life is too short to not be happy,” she said. “It’s hard not to be positive when you have kids out there doing really great things and learning. How can you not be happy about that or excited?”
Boeger is a sponsor for Barton’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society and the Community Service Organization. Both groups have completed numerous community service projects including food, supply and clothing drives, volunteering at the Healing Hearts Ranch, supporting local churches with their service projects, helping other campus groups with projects like Easter egg hunts and the veteran’s breakfast and volunteering to help the facilities plant do work on campus. While PTK members have to be selected, CSO is open to all students.
Boeger said these projects benefit the recipients of the students’ efforts but the students also learn and grow.
“These kids get to meet people they would never have met before, make connections and really see a different world,” she said. “These are good kids. They want to get out, do stuff, be involved, meet people and interact.”
Boeger said community service projects and being community oriented is important and is something that has to be taught because not all students are exposed to these concepts earlier in life.
“I think a lot of the kids have never had this option,” she said. “Some of the inner-city kids find out that Great Bend is sort of a safe environment compared to what they’ve seen and they can see how people live and grow up, and I think that helps a lot and these kids go and do things and they will talk about the fact that they don’t have the same life at home and we have discussions about what they see and how they want to change things where they live.”
Barton Executive Director of Business, Technology and Community Education Jane Howard said the Workforce Training and Community Education division understands the benefits of Boeger’s involvement, and her actions fit within the community-oriented nature of the division.
“Supporting Kathy in her involvement with her students in both PTK and the CSO is a no-brainer for the WTCE Division,” she said. “Kathy believes in and has dedicated herself to her students’ success both in and out of the classroom. The activities these groups are involved in teach them more than a career focus. It teaches them to be compassionate and giving in their everyday lives as well. It is easy for students, staff and faculty to follow Kathy’s lead in making the world a better place one person at a time.”
Working on these projects makes Barton visible in another way to the community, and Boeger said it’s great for community members to get more than a traditional idea of what a Barton student is and some of what Barton does.
“I think the community needs to know that we don’t just teach in the classroom,” she said. “I think this helps them realize their money is going toward a really good thing. Some of these kids are getting an education they would not be able to get otherwise and donors of the Foundation are seeing that their scholarships are going to good use. These kids acknowledge this generosity and realize they need to give back to their community.”
Boeger knows her efforts will develop students who are community oriented.
“It’s part of our responsibility to teach lifelong learning and how to be a responsible person within a community and I’m confident these kids will go back to their communities and give back, because they learned how to give back here through these organizations,” she said.