|Bonner Leaders named Volunteers of the Month
RELEASED: Oct. 28, 2004
DANVILLE, KYCassie Brownson, Hillary Eason and Ryan Reynolds have been named September's Volunteers of the Month at Centre for their work developing KICS (Kids in Creative Surroundings), an after-school program for community children.
KICS is funded by the local Salvation Army and run by Centre student volunteers.
Brownson, Eason and Reynolds are Bonner Leaders, a service-based work-study program. Bonner Leaders meet regularly and reflect on their community work.
Two years ago, budget constraints caused Danville's Housing Authority to suspend its after-school program. The student trio requested the opportunity to create and run a program of their own for the Bonner project. At the same time, the Salvation Army was completing a community-needs assessment that determined the top community need was for alternative youth programs. When the students and the Salvation Army joined forces, it was a match made in heaven.
Three afternoons a week, local children are given the chance to get homework help, eat a healthy snack and participate in a fun activity such as learning to make banana breadall with the help of Centre volunteers.
Reynolds, a junior from Sumter, S.C., says, "We're getting about 12 to 15 kids on a regular basis now, and they seem to be getting a fair amount out of the program. From what they tell us, they're excited about the activities and getting that extra edge in the classroom we hoped to provide."
Captain Zach Bell of the Danville Salvation Army is equally enthusiastic about the student volunteers.
"They're a tremendous asset not only to the Salvation Army, but to the community as a whole. They've benefited the community in ways that can be seen now, as well as ways that will be seen well into the future."
Eason, a sophomore from Johnson City, Tenn., is pleased with the response from the Centre community.
"We imagined we'd have difficulty getting volunteers to staff the program, but the Centre community's response to our request has been phenomenal," she said. "Students have jumped on this program, and we've had almost more interest than we can handle. Each volunteer who has come to us has brought unique strengths to the program."
According to Brownson, a sophomore from Morristown, Tenn., the children may not be the only ones benefiting from the program.
"The impact of this project can be seen already not only in the lives of the children but in our lives as well. It's permeated our lives to the point that it's changed the ideas of many of the volunteers, including myself, as to what their future career plans might be."
The volunteer award program at Centre recognizes some of the many students who provide service to the local community. Each year, around 60 percent of all Centre students become community volunteers. The College encourages volunteerism with a community service day each year as part of the orientation for first-year students.
For more information, contact Trina McFarland, director of community service at Centre, at (859) 238-5479 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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