Janesville50.3°

Craig students volunteer united through new club

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
June 23, 2009
— A year ago, most students at Craig High School didn't know much about the United Way or what it does in the community.

But that's changing.


Some Craig students got together in March and decided they wanted to start their own group, the Live United Club.


Their focus is to build a better understanding of volunteerism while promoting a united and diverse northern Rock County, said Linda Lyke, United Way of North Rock County community relations manager.


The club was born after Barry Badertscher, a member of the United Way brand strategy/marketing committee, contacted advisers of service clubs at Craig and Parker high schools.


Michelle Herbst, adviser of Craig's National Honor Society, welcomed the United Way because National Honor Society students are required to do 30 hours of service each year and always are looking for ways to volunteer.


To date, Live United has met monthly and participated in two volunteer activities:


-- Cleaning Palmer Park as part of Youth Service Day on April 18.


-- Sorting and cleaning collections at the historic Lincoln-Tallman House on June 9.


"They had a great time volunteering," Lyke said.


Live United Club member Cy Badertscher agreed.


"I had a lot of fun, surprisingly. Nobody was bored. We put in a lot of effort, had a lot of success and showed a lot of people we can work together to get a positive outcome."


Handling the collections at the Lincoln-Tallman House made Cy feel privileged.


"We got to go on the third floor and see all that stuff and work with it. It was cool to see," he said.


The club's volunteer efforts already are making a difference, Cy said.


During park cleanup day, staff told Live United Club members they saved the park's staff a week's worth of work; the curator at the Tallman House said their volunteering saved her an entire day of work.


And that's what Barry wanted to see happen.


"They get to do something good for the community and feel good about what they've done while creating an awareness (of volunteering) with their age group."


The creation of the club also provides the opportunity for United Way to connect with youth.


"It brings a new energy and teaches us, while showing the young generation ways to get involved. Years from now, they'll be much more eager to do things like this because we've shown them how and they've seen the results," Barry said.


Upcoming volunteer activities will be decided after meeting discussions, Cy said.


The goal is to establish more Lived United Clubs in other Rock County high schools through personal visits and social networking. A club Facebook page already has been established and has 70 members, Cy said.


Bob Smudde at Craig High School has agreed to be the club's adviser. The group will continue to meet over the summer and hold one volunteer event each month. In the fall, club members will elect an executive committee to lead the group.



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