Bearing News

Rock Bridge Reaches Out

John Gillis


Cedar Creek The Intersection Stream Team Wheelers and Dealers Babies at Boone Project Linus Ronald McDonald House RB R1 R2 O
Interviews By: Nomin-Erdene Jagdagdorj; Art By: Richard Sapp; Interactivity By: John Gillis








Cedar Creek
Junior Mikayla Bessey, core leader

What does your group do? Why are or should RBHS students care about it?

Our group goes over to the Cedar Creek riding center and helps kids with disabilities ride horses, or we help with chores around the farm. It’s a really great opportunity to help the disabled and represent Rock Bridge.

How often/when/where are your meetings?

We meet seasonally. (Once in fall, once in winter, once in spring). Normally we’ll meet on Wednesdays after school in the cafeteria. … [Volunteers] go over individually- we don’t go as a group. They have to go for 2 hours a week, and they are responsible for keeping track.

How did you get involved? Why did you want to become core leader?

I got involved with RBRO sophomore year, while doing Wheelers and Dealers. I wanted to be a core leader for an organization and so I decided to try something new and be one for Cedar Creek.

What is the best or most rewarding part of volunteering at Cedar Creek? What makes it different from other volunteering groups?

The best and most rewarding part about volunteering here is the smile on the child’s face when they ride a horse for the first, or even second, time. And you get to be a part of that. Cedar Creek is one of the only groups where you help to work with a disabled child to help them learn how to do something new and that’s really neat.

What skills are necessary to volunteer with your group?

There aren’t any skills new volunteers really need to volunteer here. If you have previous horse experience, that’s great, but if you don’t — the organization trains you at one of their training meetings.

The Intersection
Senior Rasheeq Nizam, core leader

What does your group do? Why are or should RBHS students care about it?

The Intersection is an after-school program aimed at giving underprivileged and at-risk kids a good place to be because their home situations aren’t very stable. The volunteers that go to the intersection hang out with the kids and play with them. We make crafts some days, and some days we make food. The kids are usually up for anything, so we just do something fun. This kind of experience is important to the volunteers because it’s not only a fun way to volunteer, but for some of us it also puts things into perspective and helps us realize what life can be like for other kids, just like us, who live in different circumstances.

How did you get involved? Why did you want to become core leader?

I got involved with The Intersection in my sophomore year because I wanted to volunteer and I heard it was a fun place. Plus, some of my friends were doing it, too, so I figured “Why not?”

The reason I wanted to become a core leader is another story. After 2 years of volunteering there, I wanted to do more for The Intersection. I wanted to be able to make the experience of going there and volunteering there more enjoyable. I felt like some of the core leaders in the past really didn’t do that, and almost disappeared after they finished applying to colleges and put “core leader” on their resumes. I wanted the kids to be eager to see the volunteers, and vice versa. And so I figured becoming a core leader would give me more of an ability to make an impact.

What is the best or most rewarding part of volunteering at The Intersection? What makes it different from other volunteering groups?

For me, the most rewarding part of volunteering at The Intersection has been going for two years and watching the kids grow up in that time in a safe and stable environment where I know they’re being taken care of and they’re having fun. This point is so much more moving when you realize that were it not for The Intersection, were it not for the students who volunteer there, these kids would have it much worse off, worse than most of us can even begin to imagine. Realizing that, that maybe I’m not making their lives amazing, but at least for an hour and a half a week I’m making their lives a whole lot better than they could be, that’s what puts The Intersection close to my heart. And that’s also what sets it apart from other groups.

The volunteers at The Intersection do really important work that needs to be done and just can’t be done without them. Without The Intersection, kids would be hanging out on the streets getting caught up in things that they know they should avoid. A regular Rock Bridge kid might wonder how they could ever relate, but the experience of an average kid at Rock Bridge really offers a lot to the kids at The Intersection. It gives them a chance to know what they can make of their lives and helps them realize there’s a lot more to life than what they know. A volunteer at The Intersection could potentially be saving a kid’s life. How many other volunteer groups can say that?

RBHS students volunteer at The Intersection Monday – Friday from 5 – 6:30 p.m. Volunteers usually come once a week but are welcome to come more frequently.

Stream Team
Junior Adam Zaghouani, core leader

What does your group do? Why are or should RBHS students care about it?

Members of stream team will participate mainly in aquatic restoration projects in and around the city of Columbia. Our activities revolve around maintaining riverbanks, cleaning rivers and water quality testing. RB students should join; not only is this an outdoor activity that is often fun (and muddy), but also, students will be able to see an immediate, direct impact on their own city.

How often/when/where are your meetings?

We meet twice a month, our outdoor activities usually number about once per month, in the EEE room, or wherever our outdoor activity is.

How did you get involved? Why did you want to become core leader?

Last year, I was very interested in volunteering for RBRO, specifically for a core that I thought would make a noticeable difference in Columbia beyond just the surface. When I asked Ms. Weaver for any openings, luckily Stream Team was available, because it correlated well with my wants.

What is the best or most rewarding part of volunteering with Stream Team? What makes it different from other volunteering groups?

The most rewarding part about volunteering for Stream Team is the ability to develop a better connection with the town that you live in as well as with it’s people — by improving the nature of your environment you feel as though you’re physically improving the community for yourself and others. Furthermore, you meet people who you wouldn’t typically meet on a daily basis — people affiliated with improving the city of Columbia, people who just love improving nature and lastly, people who don’t like seeing their city’s natural beauty being overshadowed by unwanted plants and species.

Stream Team is different from other cores because it stresses outdoor volunteering for the sake of physically improving the environment. Other cores, on the contrary, deal more with helping and improving the lives of other people — we just do that indirectly and in a different manner.

Wheelers and Dealers
Junior Sophi Farid, core leader

What does your group do? Why are or should RBHS students care about it?

We go to the nursing home and play cards with people there. We do whatever they want to have fun for the hour that we are there.

How often/when/where are your meetings?

We meet Wednesday’s after school every week and go there for an hour.

How did you get involved? Why did you want to become core leader?

I started doing it last year and just had a lot of fun with it! By the end of the year, only a few people were still going, so the leaders asked if I’d be interested in being the leader and I said yes.

What is the best or most rewarding part of volunteering with Wheelers and Dealers? What makes it different from other volunteering groups?

Just knowing that those people who seem stuck up in the nursing home with not many activities are having a good time and smiling, it makes me feel good inside knowing that I’ve made somebody’s day better.

Babies at Boone
Senior Haley Evers, core leader

What does your group do? Why are or should RBHS students care about it?

We are making cards and sending some clothes and diapers to the families when their babies reach a center weight because that’s a big deal for premature babies. We should be concerned about this because the babies born at Boone Hospital are often over looked because people focus on helping the women’s and children’s hospital but all the babies and their families deserve help.

How often/when/where are your meetings?

We will meet about once a month at the most. The meetings are at 6 p.m. in the Rock Bridge cafeteria.

How did you get involved? Why did you want to become core leader?

I job shadowed a nurse who worked in the NICU who used to make the cards and baskets, but she retired, so they asked if I could do it.

What is the best or most rewarding part of volunteering with Babies at Boone? What makes it different from other volunteering groups?

Our group is brand new this year. And it’s different because we schedule our meetings around RB athletics so people in sports can still be involved. It’s also something that everyone can help with because it’s such an easy way to get involved and help.

Buddy Packs
Junior Brittany Cope, core leader

What does your group do? Why are or should RBHS students care about it?

The Food Bank Buddy Packs provides a way for children … to get the food they need and cannot afford through backpacks filled with essential food for the weekend. Our volunteer group will help to fill the backpacks for such children. If backpacks are already filled, then we will go ahead and volunteer with other jobs that need to be done within the Food Bank. I feel that Rock Bridge students should have a deep burden to want to be a part of this group and make a difference. All it takes is a total of three hours per month to make a huge difference for parents and children who can’t afford to have a pantry of food in their homes. To be able to know that you have made a difference in your local community is so rewarding.

How often/when/where are your meetings?

Our meetings are every first and third Thursday of the month. … We meet by the cafeteria at 3:15 and then head over to the food bank to work from 3:45 – 5:00.

How did you get involved? Why did you want to become core leader?

I got involved in the Buddy Pack program by volunteering to be a core leader. This is one of the newer branches of RBRO, and I am determined to make it more popular any way possible with my co-core leader David Mellitt and our fellow group members. I wanted to become a core leader because I wanted to make an impact in Boone County, specifically Columbia, MO. I wanted to be able to say 20 years later in life that I had the ability to make a difference locally and that I succeeded. I am very emotionally invested in this group, and I can’t wait to see it flourish.

What is the best or most rewarding part of doing Buddy Packs? What makes it different from other volunteering groups?

The most rewarding part is knowing I made a difference in some child’s life. I have a picture in my mind of a child receiving a Buddy Pack and feeling cared for and not having to worry about skipping a meal. I would say that this group is very different from other volunteer groups because it is so rewarding and makes you feel like, for lack of a better word, a guardian angel to a child in need. Most groups are direct with the people they volunteer for, but this way you’re kind of like the secret behind-the-scenes person, and it all becomes sort of mysterious.

Project Linus
Junior Katy Shi, core leader

What does your group do? Why are or should RBHS students care about it?

Project Linus makes blankets for children in need. Many of us growing up had security blankets, and we’re looking to provide children whose environments may be volatile with that security as well. It’s a simple way to reach out to others and help those in need.

How did you get involved? Why did you want to become core leader?

I got involved through RBRO last year. I wanted to be a core leader because I wanted to be actively involved in Project Linus, and I also wanted to help motivate people to volunteer and give back to the community.

How often/when/where are your meetings?

Our meetings [are] generally going to be on the first Wed. of the month after school in the EEE Center (229).

What is the best or most rewarding part of doing Project Linus? What makes it different from other volunteering groups?

The best part of Project Linus is being able to know you’re helping others while spending time with friends. Project Linus is different in that it allows people to be hands-on and creative while still ultimately working towards the same goal of helping others.

Ronald McDonald House
Junior Meghan Schwartzkopf, core leader

What does your group do? Why are or should RBHS students care about it?

RMD helps families who can’t afford hotel rooms when they have a ill one with them. In those situations, a family is stressed enough as is, and RMD helps out with food and shelter through their time of need. Rock Bridge is full of diverse people, that come from many backgrounds, so when kids help at RMD, then they could be helping a friend without even knowing it.

How often/when/where are your meetings?

This year there will be a bulletin board up in the main hallway to advertise dates for all RBRO cores, but if they have questions about RMD than they can come to me or Isabel (the others core leader) for info, and we would be happy to help.

Students involved with the RMD group volunteer monthly at 4.

How did you get involved? Why did you want to become core leader?

Although I hadn’t been involved in ANY groups, I felt a connection to RMD because my grandmother was a nurse, so I grew up hearing stories about how great RMD was.

My grandmother was the head of the OBGYN … so she would hear of moms who got helicoptered in, and the baby would be in the NICU, and they wouldn’t leave their kid, and they would have something a few min. away so that if anything bad happened, they were close enough to get to their babies.

What is the best or most rewarding part of volunteering at Ronald McDonald House? What makes it different from other volunteering groups?

RMD has a vast amount of people, and … by getting involved, you’re not just helping a great cause, you’re making new friends and connections through Rock Bridge along the way.

RBRO
Junior Kelsey Harper, co-President

Read Harper’s RBRO blog here.

How did you get involved with RBRO?

My brother was a president his senior and junior year and really liked the club. I heard all about it growing up, so when I got to Rock Bridge as a sophomore, I made sure I was at the informational meeting.

Which groups did you initially start volunteering with? Why did you want to become a president?

I originally wanted to be involved in Wheelers and Dealers, and Ronald McDonald House and Project Linus. Unfortunately the events were always scheduled on show choir nights, which made it possible for me to only frequent Project Linus. I also originally applied for a core leader position with Project Linus, because I love the group, and I have been making blankets for them since about 5th grade, but somehow I got chosen to be one of the presidents.

Why does RBRO matter? How is it better than a ton of individual groups?

I believe RBRO matters because it’s really important for high school kids especially to get involved with their community and make a habit of helping others. It’s beneficial for both the students and the community. I think the reason RBRO is so successful is because we have a big group to support all of the individual cores, which gives members tons of projects to choose from within our group.

I think having all of the individual groups under one big name also gets more people involved, because if someone came to our meeting to get involved in Wheelers in Dealers, but heard about The Intersection and also thinks that sounds cool, they may have signed up for both. In that way I think we can grow as a group with all the cores helping each other. This year we are also trying to establish projects for everyone in RBRO to participate in. Since we are such a big organization, we think we can make a big impact as a whole group.

What’s been the most rewarding part of being RBRO president so far? What do you hope will come from the club this year?

Well the most rewarding part of being president thus far was probably when so many Rock Bridgers came to our informational meeting. Seeing the PAC halfway filled both before and after school was amazing. I felt so proud to be in a community where kids want to volunteer.

I hope the club grows this year and really helps the community out. I’m really excited for the whole group service projects, and I hope we can get those started. I know most core groups had about two or three pages of people sign up and each page had room for about 20-25 names so my best guess right now in terms of people who signed up is around 300ish.