Local student volunteers, learns lessons
A passion for helping others drove Amanda Kirkpatrick, a senior at Missouri State University, to major in elementary education.
However, it wasn’t until she volunteered at Ozarks Food Harvest that she realized the scope of what a teacher can do to help make a difference in the lives of students who are hungry.
“Volunteering here is going to impact me as a teacher because I am going to be more focused on my students’ home lives,” Kirkpatrick said. “If you are hungry, you are not going to be able to focus, and I want to know the home lives of each of my students and realize if they need that extra snack to keep them focused.”
Originally from Jefferson City, Kirkpatrick was surprised at the number of homeless people in Springfield asking for money on street corners. She wanted to do something to help them.
“Springfield has a higher homeless population than I’ve ever seen back in Jeff City,” Kirkpatrick said. “Just going around Springfield and seeing all these people who are hungry is always sad for me because I don’t have the money to give to them. Being able to come here and help I guess is my way for making up for that and helping the community.”
When she becomes a teacher Kirkpatrick plans on incorporating hunger themes into her lesson plans. For example, when teaching about photosynthesis she will encourage children to garden and donate the produce.
“I am going to try to get my students involved in the community whether that is in a lesson or telling them about what they can do,” she said.
Although Kirkpatrick has completed all of her scholarship hours, she wants to keep volunteering because she enjoys giving back to the community.
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