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EXIT STUDENT MINISTRIES AT HILLCREST PLATTE

The first thing I saw was a small, uncovered trailer jammed with lawn mowers, rakes and leaf blowers. The next image was a small garrison of high school students armed in work gloves and yard sacks swarming the back yard of six different housing units.

On April 12, 30-plus members of the Exit Students Ministries from Northland Cathedral put in two and a half hours of yard work at the housing units of Hillcrest Transitional Housing – Platte. From weed pulling to raking to hedge trimming, the youth group gave the homeless organization a deep spring cleaning.

While several thoughts ran through my head, one rose above the rest: seeing society’s youth volunteer makes you feel good about the future — and proud.

Thank you to Jerome Sack and all of the Exit Student members for their willingness and hard work. If you’re interested in getting a youth group involved with a community service project around town, let us help. Contact us at thecallkc@gmail.com or 877-203-5848.


TEXT MESSAGES, TEENAGERS AND AN EPIPHANY

What started as a random text message ended in an epiphany.

Over the weekend, a small group of students from Park Hill South High School reached out to us about volunteering. They needed service hours for their National Honor Society applications and they needed them fast.

We obviously were happy to help and I even joined them at one of the outings on Tuesday — packaging food for Harvesters. Little did I know that I would have a moment of inspiration from these procrastinating, but well-meaning teenagers.

Upon arriving at the facility, I came to find out that most of them had already fulfilled their required hours for NHS. In fact, only a few needed more and the others came just to help. And that’s when it hit me, like a bat smacking a baseball — they actually cared.

I know that sounds cynical because most people care, yet we don’t always show it. We say we want to volunteer, but we won’t follow through. We say we are going to feed the homeless, spend time with the sick, give back to the less fortunate, but we never make the effort to do so. That’s true for all ages.

However, after seeing this teenage trio work, I realized that it’s not that the we don’t care — we simply need a vehicle in which to do so. We need guidance. Whether it’s motivation, encouragement or a place to start, we need direction.

Since that evening at Harvesters, the same group of students has already completed another volunteer project and are signed-up for one more next week. It’s not about NHS anymore for them, but about giving back to those who need it.

The message is clear — it’s not that people don’t care, they just need to be shown how to. Let The Call KC fill that void by contacting us right now and scheduling your next volunteer outing.

MLK DAY SERVICE PROJECT

Character unmatched. Integrity unequaled. A legacy untouched. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatest Americans in our nation’s history and it’s because he stood up for what he believed in — equality for everyone.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal,’” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Every year we celebrate the honor of Dr. King with a national holiday and a day of service. To commemorate that tradition, The Call KC has teamed up with VolunteerMarkto complete a community service project on Monday, Jan. 20.

The two organizations will be cleaning up road debris at Ermine Case Jr. Park, Mulkey Square Park and Richard L. Berkley Riverfront Park from 11 a.m. to noon. The outing is open to the public and supplies will be provided, except for work gloves. To sign-up, follow this link and apply for the volunteer shift.

“It’s important to me that we continually strive to improve our community and what better way to do that than to honor a man who embodied the word community,” VolunteerMark president Andrew Stanley said.

In conjunction with the service project, VolunteerMark will also be offering a $49 monthly subscription rate for any organization that signs up throughout the month of January. As always, volunteer subscriptions are free of charge.

“You grow up learning how great a man Dr. King was, but you can’t truly appreciate how he genuinely cared about other people over himself until you experience it yourself,” Call KC founder Brent Lager said. “Even the simplest act of picking up trash in a local park can foster that feeling and then hopefully it grows from there.”

For more information about the MLK Day service project, contact thecallkc@gmail.com or 877-203-5848.

CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR GILLIS

With Christmas just two weeks away, The Call KC and VolunteerMark are teaming up to provide any last-minute shoppers the opportunity to give back to the Kansas City community this holiday season.

Over the next 12 days, the two organizations will be collecting gift donations for the kids ofGillis to give to their families and loved ones. As one of the longest-standing nonprofits in Kansas City, Gillis helps at-risk children and families reach their potential through counseling, education and social services.

The “Christmas Gifts for Gillis” donations can range from bath and body products to small household appliances to watches and other apparel accessories. Also, the organizations ask that all items be newly purchased and not gift-wrapped.

Items can be donated in various ways: dropped off between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the VolunteerMark’s offices located inside the Archer Foundation, 5250 W. 116th Place, Suite 200, Leawood, KS 66211; or contact info@volunteermark.com and a VolunteerMark representative will set up a time to come collect the donations.

Final donations will need to be made by Friday, Dec. 20.

After delivering the gifts to Gillis, the kids will then select one or two items to gift-wrap and present to their loved ones on Christmas morning.

For more information about “Christmas Gifts For Gillis,” contact TheCallKC@gmail.com or 816-721-5529.

HOORAY FOR HOLIDAYS ART AUCTION TONIGHT

The first snow of the season is always an exciting time and what better way to celebrate than with a holiday charity event.

Tonight from 4-7 p.m. the Hooray For Holidays art auction will take place at Mission Farms, which is located at Indian Creek Parkway (106th Street) and Mission Road. All proceeds from the event will go towards Variety Children’s Charity of Greater Kansas City, an organization that is dedicated to raising funds to assist special needs children and their individual families.

Bidding for the artwork is currently ongoing online here, or can be done in person beginning at 4 p.m. today at VanBrock’s jewelry store inside the Mission Farm’s complex. The art will be on display and last bids can be made up until 6:30 p.m.

For more information on tonight’s event or Variety Children’s Charity of Greater Kansas City, follow the links above.

2013 HOME RUNS FOR HUNGER A HIT

Fighting hunger never takes an off-season. It’s a year round effort and that’s why we sent a group of volunteers to a vacant Kauffman Stadium in mid-November last weekend.

Teaming up with Harvesters and the Kansas City Royals, our volunteers helped host the 2013 Home Runs for Hunger event on Nov. 8-9. The effort, which allowed participants to donate food or money in return for the chance to hit a home run and shag fly balls inside the Major League stadium, raised over $8,000 and 2,000 pounds of food.

In total, the combined donations will equal 41,718 meals for the hungry in our community.

For more information on how to help fight hunger here in Kansas City, visit Harvesters.org or contact us at TheCallKC@gmail.com.

HELP WANTED: KANSAS CITY MARATHON

Twelve-thousand runners. That’s how many participants the 2013 Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon with Ivy Funds is expecting this year. To serve the masses, the race directors are in need of 1,800 volunteers, which brings us to this important message — we need your help.

The Call – Kansas City has signed up to provide more than 40 helpers for this year’s races, which is scheduled for Oct. 19. Not much time, we know. But we are confident that we can fulfill this quota and be a service to not only our city, but more importantly, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society — this year’s charity benefactor.

The LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer and funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world while providing free information and support services.

So, contact us as soon as possible if you can help — TheCallKC@gmail.com. The jobs range from course monitors to aid stations and we have numerous shifts throughout that Saturday morning that need filling.

Come help us help others and get involved today.