Spring Hill Volunteer Club members each spend an average of 200 hours per year doing community service projects ranging from helping the less fortunate make home repairs, helping the elderly with lawn work, visiting assisted living homes and battered wives centers, and tutoring younger students in the school district. File photo

Mark Taylor
The Spring Hill High School’s volunteer club has built a reputation for public service, helping others, and benefiting the community over the past several years.
The club, which has more than 125 active members (about one-fourth of the student population) helps elderly neighbors with household chores, tutors younger students in the Spring Hill District and visits assisted living centers and battered women’s shelters, among other things.
Club members just last week traveled to Reading, Kan. to help clean up debris from the tornado and have future plans to assist with clean up in Joplin and help flooding victims in Atchison and Leavenworth.
But the volunteer club is going to be about $10,000 short this year after state budget cuts axed a grant the club has received for the last 13 years.
The $10,000 grant money mostly paid for transportation and supplies for the Volunteer Club’s projects.
Now club members – who average about 200 hours of volunteer work per year — are seeking donations to make up for the shortfall and allow them to continue their good work.
“We had no idea it was really coming down at all,” sponsor and teacher Lynda Jochims said of the grant’s termination.
Sponsor and teacher Kerri Rodden added, “It was a matching grant. The school is still contributing and is being supportive. They are doing what they can. We are looking for donations. Local businesses have been donating money, and we are applying for another grant.”
Heather Mahoney, a senior who is in her second year of service to the Volunteer Club, said the club has taught her and other students how much of a difference they can make in the lives of others..
“Volunteering to me is everything,” Mahoney said.  “Knowing that I can make a difference in someone else’s life, for someone who doesn’t have a lot, shows me that one little person or small group can make a huge difference in people’s lives.”
Mahoney particularly enjoys the group’s homework club, which pays twice weekly visits to the intermediate school to tutor students.
“I see a huge difference in going to the homework club every week,” she said. “The students there are so phenomenal to work with. They tend to connect with us on a different level than some of their teachers because we are closer in age, and they feel they can talk to us.”
Mahoney’s favorite project is visiting an area battered women’s shelter. She said many of the children of the center’s clients have “little to nothing” and are excited when Volunteer Club members arrive.
“It is so important to make those kids feel special and that people care about them,” she said.
Among the club’s other projects are “Christmas in October” where they help less fortunate residents with house repairs.
The club also has “adopted grandparents” they visit every week.
Club members also adopt a family in November for Christmas and provide Thanksgiving meals for families in the battered women’s shelter.
“We have also have people in the community that need help with raking their lawns,” Rodden said.
The Volunteer Club, which was organized in 1997, serves the entire metropolitan area.
The club was recently recognized by the state as one of the top volunteer groups.
Persons who want to make a tax deductible donation to the Volunteer Club are asked to make checks payable to the Spring Hill Education Foundation and send them to the attention of Volunteer Club—Kerri Rodden, Spring Hill Education Foundation, 19701 S. Ridgeview Rd., Spring Hill, KS 66083.
For more information, contact Jochims or Rodden at (913) 592-7299 or roddenk@usd230.org.