Palmetto High School senior Amy Loveless has earned hundreds of volunteer hours over the years. Every other Sunday she volunteers at her church, Old Cutler Presbyterian, and teaches kindergarten children in Sunday School.
“I teach them stories and we work on crafts,” she says.
Loveless was involved in the same program when she was younger. She found it to be so much fun that she wanted to continue as a volunteer teacher when she was older.
“I started do that when I was in the sixth grade,” she says. “I’m still technically a teacher’s assistant, but at a little higher level.”
Each summer, Loveless volunteers to work in the church’s summer program.
“In the summer, we have this gigantic Vacation Bible School,” she says. “There are 500 kids from around the neighborhood that attend. We teach them dances and stage stories.
There are songs that we begin learning and practicing as early as April. We teach them all the verses.”
Vacation Bible School accepts children from three years old up to those in sixth grade.
Loveless says they get all the kids into the big sanctuary.
“We’re performing and teaching. Every day for that whole week,” she says. “In the morning and in the afternoon.” Loveless also has been volunteering her time at Southwood Middle School in the Equal Access Club. “It used to be called Bible Club but the school made them change the name,” she says.
Loveless plans to incorporate the Equal Access Club into her Girl Scout Gold Award project. She will work with Samaritan’s Purse, a worldwide organization, collecting toys, clothes and hygiene items at Southwood through the Equal Access Club.
The items collected will be packed up and shipped to Samaritan’s Purse to be distributed to needy children either in this country or out-of-the-country.
“Just to bring a little joy to them,” Loveless says. “I did it the last two years. This year I’m going to ramp it up. I’m trying to make it school wide instead of just from the club. I started it in sophomore year. We got 30 boxes or so from just one club.”
The collection is probably will begin in October.
In the up-coming school year Loveless will be busy as president of Future Educators of America.
“We help out teachers. We help them organize their classrooms,” she says. “If they need help teaching lesson we help them teach it. On holidays we give them goody bags.”
Through her church, Loveless has been involved in a number of missions — one out of the country, one to St. Louis and several in Miami, including one that she is working on this summer.
“They were amazing, I’d do them again in a heartbeat,” she says. “I’m also volunteering this month as a leader for a middle school Miami Mission Trip at my church.
On this Miami Mission Trip, middle school students will work with homeless ministries.
Last summer she went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. “On that trip we helped build a house in a rural little village,” she says. “We had a miniature Vacation Bible School for the children there.”
Going on the trip made her realize how privileged she is to live in the United States.
“They were excited about everything,” Loveless says. “All their floors were dirt. It flooded when it rained. I was amazed.”
Now entering her senior year of high school, Loveless is beginning her college search. Her first choice is the University of Florida because her sister is student there. She plans to major in public relations and minor in environmental studies.
— By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld