For some students, summer means more time to relax, but for others, it means more time to dedicate to volunteering.
A number of New Albany high school and college students give back to their community through various avenues – including churches, schools and the Farmers Market – and they’re not the only ones. In 2012, 27.4 percent of U.S. residents between the ages of 16 and 19 volunteered, according to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Frederick Jenny, a 2012 graduate of New Albany High School who recently finished his freshman year at Valparaiso University, is in his third year of volunteering at the New Albany Farmers Market.
Jenny, 19, was on the lookout for a project for his senior seminar, a requirement for all NAHS seniors. He saw the New Albany Farmers Market was in its first year, so he began volunteering through Healthy New Albany.
“I jumped right on board,” Jenny says. “I wanted to help bring something new to the community.”
Jenny helped coordinate the other volunteers as they set up for the market, which is located in Market Square. He also served as a liaison between the market and his high school, recruiting other students to volunteer.
And Jenny didn’t stop after he met the requirement for his senior seminar. He is continuing his work this summer at the market every Thursday until he returns to school in August.
Jenny says he gets a lot out of volunteering, but the main thing he enjoys is interaction with the New Albany community.
“I get to meet people who I normally wouldn’t meet,” he says. “It’s quite interesting to see how they live and get to know them.”
Jenny also volunteers every three months at Joseph’s Coat of Central Ohio – which provides clothing, household goods and personal items to those in need – through his church, Peace Lutheran Church. Now that he’s home for summer, he will expand his role there as well.
Katherine Snyder, another 2012 NAHS graduate who just finished her freshman year at Columbus State Community College, volunteers through her church, Five14 Church, as a youth ministry leader for both middle school and high school students.
This past school year, she began working two nights a week with high school students in a program called Young Life. More than 100 youth leaders are assigned to various high schools around central Ohio, and Snyder was one of 13 assigned to Gahanna Lincoln High School.
As a youth leader, Snyder helps the younger students develop community spirit through activities and Bible study. She has in-depth knowledge of Young Life, as she was once one of the high school students involved with the program.
“It’s more for the kids to see there are other kids in their school who believe what they believe,” she says.
The program continues this summer for one day a week.
Snyder spends her Sunday evenings doing much the same thing with a group of seventh grade girls in a program called Boom at Five 14 Church in New Albany. She has been with the same group of girls since they were in sixth grade, and she hopes to continue with them next year too.
“It’s good to help them through whatever they’re going through,” Snyder says.
What Snyder likes best about her volunteerism is the chance to inspire younger students.
“Some of these kids can go on and maybe do the same thing in their lives,” she says. “It’s something I can see myself being a part of for a while.”
Both Jenny and Snyder see their work as a service to the community.
“It’s giving back for stuff you have,” Jenny says. “I’m privileged, and I know I can give back to people.”
“Even though it’s something extra to balance in your life, it’s fulfilling,” Snyder says. “I really enjoy it because you feel like you’re making a difference and being involved in something bigger than yourself.”
Eric Lagatta is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at email@example.com.