greeters were at the Chanute High School on Friday, April 18. |
Jim Schoenberger was the Easter Bunny. He is pictured with CHS students,
from left, Madison Dispensa, Rena Stair and Rebecca Wendt.
In part two of our series, we feature the School Greeter Program, of Chanute, Kansas. (Read part one)
The first intergenerational program in Chanute, Kansas, the School Greeter Program originated from a Chanute Vision Committee in 2005.
A struggling rural committee engaged the “Public Square,” which comprised of citizens in government, education, health and human services, and business with a focus on identifying and taking action to improve the community.
After the needs were identified the committees made proposals to meet the community need that would have a stimulating effect on the community.
A student from Chanute High School stated, “We need school greeters.” Her recommendation was accepted and Chanute High School was the first school in the city to have the greeter program.
The Southeast Kansas Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (SEK-RSVP), a program for those over 55 years of age, was instrumental in recruiting, training, scheduling, honoring volunteers and evaluating the intergenerational program.
Since the program’s inception it has expanded to the point that all schools in Chanute participate in the greeter program. The description of this program centers on students receiving a welcome as they enter school in the morning.
Older adult volunteers at the schools open doors, shake hands, high five, give hugs, visit with and share a smile with each student as they enter school. The schools give back by offering breakfast to the volunteers to show their appreciation, as well as providing an official t-shirt and identification badge.
The students acknowledge the older adults when they see them out in the community and the older adults participate in other school activities besides the morning greeting.
One volunteer greeter has said, “The greeter program has been the most rewarding volunteer program I have ever participated in.”