Students on spring break lend a hand to nonprofits

03/18/2013 5:46 PM

03/18/2013 8:09 PM

After two decades, it has almost become a rite of spring: Wichita-area students volunteering during spring break to help out nonprofit organizations.

This week marks the 20th annual United Way’s Youth Days of Caring. More than 270 students are registered to help 29 organizations accomplish more than 40 projects, according to a news release issued Monday by the United Way of the Plains.

Some students, such as Brett Manahan, a freshman at Maize South High, will spend as many as three days volunteering at various organizations.

“I wasn’t going to do anything over spring break. I wasn’t going to go anywhere,” Manahan said.

On Monday, he sorted Wal-Mart goods that will be donated to nonprofit organizations. On Tuesday, he’s working with the Salvation Army. On Wednesday, he’s off to TFI Family Services.

He doesn’t know yet what he will do at some of the places he’s volunteering. He said he sees it as a way to get a jump-start on qualifying for some college scholarships.

“I think it is a really good thing,” he said.

Students will perform a wide variety of tasks.

At the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, students will be cutting, pasting, painting and sewing in order to get hand-out materials ready for the museum’s school tours program.

At the Sedgwick County Zoo, students will work with the zoo’s horticulture department by planting, landscaping and getting flower beds ready for spring.

And at Rainbows United, students will help put on a carnival.

“We cannot do what we do without the help of volunteers,” said Michelle Eastman, spokeswoman for Rainbows. “Volunteers enrich what we do. The students will bring games, prizes and all the fun. Our kids love it.”

Jason Green, spokesman for the Kansas Children’s Service League, said volunteers will sort through 150,000 bookmarks the league is planning to distribute during April, which is child abuse prevention month.

“To have the students give us the extra help in getting the bookmarks sorted and distributed is awesome and perfect timing,” Green said.

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