Every year Churchill County High School seniors volunteer six hours for a number of organizations that improve the quality of life in the community.
English teacher Monica Fairbanks has been involved with the program for eight years, her first at CCHS. She said students attend a small fair at the beginning of the school year to learn of the many opportunities ranging from last weekend’s Show and Shine car show at Oats Park to the Churchill Animal Protection Society.
“We have many students interested in CAPS every year,” Fairbanks said. “Students love working with the animals.”
For the next two months, students will volunteer and then write about their experiences for their senior project before presenting their findings to the class. Fairbanks also said many scholarship and university applications look for community involvement.
After students learned more about the different opportunities during a short introduction in the school auditorium, they met community representatives at their respective tables. A line formed immediately at the JustService program, which pairs individuals with different organizations seeking help.
“It depends on whom we’re working with, what is needed and what volunteer opportunities are available,” said Terra Koenig, who attended her second fair.
The website shows various groups such as schools, government agencies, churches and nonprofit organizations that need volunteers in many communities such as Churchill County. One of the events that will need volunteers is Domestic Violence Intervention, which, Koenig said, stages several community-wide events.
“Domestic Violence Intervention has its big campaign in October,” Koenig said.
DVI decorates the downtown area with purple streamers and posters, and also has a “No Hands for Hitting” school bus that is part of the downtown Halloween event, Spooktacular.
Another downtown business that needs volunteers is the nonprofit The Fallon Theatre.
“Most of our volunteers help in concessions,” said Michelle Berney. “A few students come in to learn the ropes.”
Berney also said The Fallon Theatre relies on volunteers during the year.
“That’s how we run,” she added.
Lisa Gonzales with the Churchill Economic Development Authority said the agency looks for help in the office and with technology with students working on surveys or updating the website.
Many students said volunteering leads to a better rounded person. Amber Wilcox said she would like to volunteer for CAPS.
“I think it’s good for us,” she said. “Scholarship and college applications want us to be involved with the community.”
Likewise, Gracie Homma loves animals, and CAPS would be a perfect fit.
“I want to be a veterinarian,” she said, adding she also volunteers for a local veterinarian.
Homma said her family operates a goat dairy, and she loves the experience.
Skyler Tennison said she’ll probably volunteer at The Fallon Theatre because of its community presence.
Ben Jamieson has enjoyed his various experiences of volunteerism. He said the community benefits when those volunteer.
“I think it’s good to have students learn more about the community,” he said. “It builds character.”