Serving it Up

Sydney Kitt, Fall 2014 J1 student

See what it’s like to give back.

Community service is a way to give back to the community without receiving anything back in return.

“It makes you a better person and can give you amazing leadership qualities. Volunteering has a positive effect because you see the change in, not just others, but yourself,” sophomore Jenny Karner said.

When people realize they’ve made a difference in their world, some are really happy about it and want to keep doing more.

“What is the one step we can take to make the world a better place? When we take that step, it’s a lot easier and effective than I thought,” Blue Valley teacher, Kristoffer Barikmo said.

There are different reasons why people like to help out, it could be to get away from problems at home or just to relax and get rid of stress caused by school. It depends on what goes on in the students life.

“I volunteer because I like to help out and I love seeing the change in people’s lives and how it positively affects them,” Karner said.

Wayside Waifs is an organization some students volunteer at weekly. Students need to be 14 years or older to volunteer, but 16 years of age to volunteer alone without supervision.

AnnMarie Thomas, the volunteer coordinator at Wayside Waifs, said the volunteers are one of the most important factors to keep Wayside up and running to help the animals become adopted. There are about 1440 volunteers and they gain a lot more every year, she said.

The Presidential Community Service Award is given to students who have submitted 100 or more hours of community service throughout the entire year.

To get the award, you will need to get 100 hours for bronze, 175 for silver and 250 hours for the gold award in high school.

“Consistently every year, about 8 percent of our student body achieves the Presidential Service Award, what that means is they submit over 100 hours a year, which is a pretty significant portion of our students. We get a designation as a Presidential school of service because we meet the minimum requirement of 7 percent, which exceeds the amount we have to meet,” Barikmo said.

Some colleges don’t mind students not having volunteer hours, but others are more likely to accept your application/resume if you have hours in the system. For example, Kansas State University gives out a few scholarship for community service. One of which has a first, second, and third place prize.

“I crunched the numbers from [2013-2014] and about 75% of the student body had turned in at least some hours of community service,” Barikmo said.

There are multiple ways to get community service hours, including animal-welfare, homeless shelters, food banks, etc.

“We have many volunteer opportunities here on campus like Relay for Life, the Blood Drive and the Della Lamb Toy Drive,” Barikmo said.

There are places to volunteer at, not just in school, but in Kansas and Missouri. Some places include Wayside Waifs, Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, Harvesters and ReStart.

“Probably the most popular type of community service would be helping the poor and the homeless to make sure they don’t starve to death or get frostbite from the freezing weather in Kansas.”

Different people are attracted to different types of community service. If someone likes animals, they’ll volunteer at an animal shelter/zoo, if they like helping people, maybe they’ll work at a retirement home or homeless shelter.

“Probably the most popular type of community service would be helping the poor and the homeless to make sure they don’t starve to death or get frostbite from the freezing weather in Kansas,” Karner said.

According to, the most common community service done is for religious reasons, the participants will help fundraise, sing in a choir and others. Also said by, teens 16-19 years old had a 26.2% for volunteering in America in 2013.

“One of the basics of the way we operate in our government and our society is that we have to look out for each other and make our world, nationally and internationally, a better place. If we can do that, we can work to make the world a better place.” Barikmo said.

Barikmo also said the best opportunity students have is completing selfless service for the community.

“If they’re volunteering at a homeless shelter, maybe they’ve never thought about the struggles the homeless people have to go through. All they’ve done is go in, prepare the meal, serve the meal, and go home, but the reflective component (on the application) has shown me students are actually thinking about, not just how my work is making a difference today, but what more can I do, what more am I expected to do?” Barikmo said.

He has also said that students said ‘We helped out the world and we had fun, too.’

“Doing community service shouldn’t be for an award, points or to be the top, it should be you doing good things for the world and being proud of it, know you made a difference in that person/animals life,” Barikmo said.