Volunteers key in community events

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Youth Service Center coordinates high school service club

By Ron Benningfield

LaRue County High School has a group of young people who are the backbone of many school and community events although they are never the headliners.

The students, 70 strong, are members of the Youth Service Center’s Community Volunteer Service Club.

Marsha Duncan, YSC coordinator who has advised the club all of its 13-year existence, knows the value these students are to school and community.

“We are fortunate to have kids who have a strong commitment to our community and who are willing to help out,” Duncan stated.

Despite their schoolwork, membership in sports and other school functions as well as part-time jobs, these students find time to help in many events with their only pay being the satisfaction that they have done a good deed.

Last week, CVS members assisted with trick-or-treat activities in downtown Hodgenville, working on setups, helping with costume contests, dividing youngsters into age groups, and assisting with traffic safety.

“Our two biggest functions are the Kelly Dean Sanders and retirement dinners,” Duncan said.

There, volunteers decorate, organize place settings, serve the meals, and help with cleanup.

Other volunteer projects include a county bike ride, Reality Store, school fall festivals, various luncheons, and high school orientations.

Sometimes their duties allow them to meet famous people.

“At the Lincoln Bicentennial Luncheon in February, Gov. Beshear and his wife took time to talk to the volunteers and thank them for a job well done,” Duncan said.

Though volunteering doesn’t count as part of the volunteers’ grades, Duncan logs the students’ hours which become a part of their official high school transcripts.

“Colleges, in accepting students for admission, look at their community service and so does the Governor’s Scholars program,” Duncan said.  “With all the other activities they’re involved in, I find it amazing that some can get in 20-25 hours per school year volunteering.”

The Literacy Adult Community Education Council provides a plaque and recognizes the volunteer with the most cumulative hours.  Last year’s winner, Olivia Curry, had logged well over 75 hours, according to Duncan.

At their monthly meeting CVS club members look for even more ways to help.

For example, after learning from one of the club’s students that some people in eastern Kentucky don’t have the money to buy books, Duncan is coordinating an effort to collect books that will be sent there.

“They’re constantly brainstorming to find new service opportunities.” Duncan said.  “They realize the importance of being involved in those efforts and they’re eager to be a part of the community”