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Students 'leading by serving'

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

(Photo)
Clay City High School senior Madison Jackson, who is also the president of the student-led community service organization Leading By Serving, and LBS sponsor Susan Rhodes unload and sort cans of vegetables to help prepare food baskets at the Lighthouse Mission, Terre Haute. The event is one of the many service events the Clay City's LBS does to help the community every year. [Order this photo]
What started as a Clay City Jr./Sr. High School Bible Club has transformed into a group of young people "taking the world by storm."

Three years ago, the school's student-led Bible Club decided they wanted to do more than meet and talk about God and the Bible.

They wanted to lead others by example, so they changed their name to Leading by Serving (LBS).

"We felt like we needed to do more," LBS President and Clay City High School senior Madison Jackson said. "No matter how big or small it is we're willing to help."

Since the switch, the students have been actively reaching out to help others around the Wabash Valley and various parts of the United States.

(Photo)
Clay City junior high students, Andrea and Amber Shouse, who are involved in the student-led community service organization Leading By Serving, help Clay City High School senior Isaac Bahney and club sponsor Susan Rhodes break and package bread to give to those in need while serving at the Lighthouse Mission, Terre Haute, Monday evening. The food the students sorted was put into food baskets. [Order this photo]
"We do lots of service projects throughout the year," Jackson said. "We donate our spring break every year, and last summer we went to Joplin, Mo. to clean-up after the tornado disaster."

Jackson and her LBS peers said they feel contributing with the others involved makes the world a better place.

"My parents raised me to help others," senior Isaac Bahney said. "I find personal enjoyment knowing I'm helping people have a better life."

In recent months, LBS students partnered with the Clay City Food Pantry, and they've been hard at work making Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets for those in need.

"Our original goal was to make 50-60 baskets for families for Thanksgiving," LBS Club sponsor Susan Rhodes said, "but we ended up making 95. We're about ready to start it up again for Christmas."

LBS members notified surrounding churches about their food basket project, and some of the churches told the students of people they are aware of who need help.

Together, the students, churches and food pantries were able to distribute the 95 Thanksgiving baskets to needy families at First United Methodist Church, Clay City.

The baskets included an entire turkey, instant mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, pancake mix, syrup, cereal, instant whipped topping, Kool-Aid, tea, salt and pepper, gravy, a roasting pan, a pie pan, pumpkin mix and condensed milk.

"At Thanksgiving, people are the most needy, and it's a great way to give back to the community," Bahney said.

Both Bahney and Jackson said they've been met with extreme appreciation.

"They are happy to know there are people out there thinking of them," Jackson said. "It makes us feel good to know we're making the world better one step at a time."

Monday evening, LBS students traveled to the Lighthouse Mission, Terre Haute, to help the organization prepare even more food baskets.

While volunteering, the students sorted canned goods and non-perishable items, and helped make food bags and baskets for those in need.

In addition to helping those in need, club members benefit in an indirect way.

Rhodes said she's seen how being in LBS has enriched the lives of former students well beyond high school.

"The club is really good character education. I keep in contact with kids who've been in LBS and graduated," Rhodes said. "Most of them have gone on to be missionaries or get involved in some form of community service. It's all about using the talents you have to help others."

In coming weeks, LBS members will be volunteering even more of their time to try and out-do 95 Thanksgiving baskets. They welcome any monetary or food donation from community members.



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