Organization inspires community service

Emily Brown, Copy Editor

emilybrown

copy editor

One high five can make a difference.

On Feb. 10, junior Rebecca Jenkins wore a shirt with the words “High Fives that Help” scrawled in Sharpie.

On the back of the shirt, a simple promise: For every high five Jenkins received, she would volunteer for two minutes at Hopefaith Homeless Shelter.

There was no limit to how many high fives each person could give.

By the end of the day, she tallied 145 high fives — almost five hours of volunteering.

Jenkins said her goal is to get more people excited about helping others and see how easy and encouraging it can be.

“I want to keep it going for as long as I can,” she said. “I want to get other people involved and do it for themselves, for whatever organization they are interested in.”

She said she wants people to personalize their mission and choose the organization they are most passionate about. She said people could collect change instead of high fives if they wanted to.

“It is mostly a personal thing that you commit to yourself,” she said. “You make the rules for yourself.”

Jenkins does not log her community service hours on her transcript. She said that takes away from the spirit of volunteering.

“I am not volunteering for the sake of an award or college,” she said. “I am doing it to help others.”

Though she doesn’t log her hours, Jenkins said she doesn’t have a problem with those who do.

“People don’t need to stop volunteering when it is just for themselves,” she said. “But I would hope that once they start volunteering, they learn it isn’t just something to do for college.”

Jenkins said she chose Hopefaith Homeless Shelter as her volunteer destination because it opened her eyes to what is going on around Kansas City.

“You can’t leave there without being inspired,” she said.

Jenkins was the nominated as the 2011 Sunflower Ambassador for exemplifying the BV virtues.

Jenkins said she has become addicted to volunteering because it is so rewarding.

“You actually feel like you are doing something important instead of going to school, doing your activity and sleeping,” she said. “It is something that is different and exciting; it feels awesome.”

She said one of the reasons she loves High Fives that Help is that it gives her incentive to volunteer more.

“I think that I have learned a lot from volunteering in general,” she said. “You learn that you can go out there and make a difference. You don’t have to be scared of doing something original or creative. I hope to learn more from that and hear other peoples’ stories.”