Archive for Thursday, September 21, 2006

Greeters scarce for district

September 21, 2006

The halls were silent.

The conversation and rustling Dorothy Westerhouse expected from inside Eudora High School just wasn't there. She watched the students walk by worried as she sat in her desk in front of the main office.

Hours earlier the World Trade Center's twin towers crashed down in New York City. On Sept. 11, 2001, the school was locked down, but she was there.

If someone wanted information, Westerhouse was there. If someone needed a smile then, she was there.

"We had a few extra things added to what we were doing, but that truly stands out in my mind," she said.

Westerhouse is in charge of the greeters at Eudora High School. Every morning and afternoon the greeters represent the first faces visitors see when arriving to the school.

The volunteers also work at Eudora Middle School and Eudora West Elementary School.

Although at different schools, the greeters share common features. It's not odd for students to see greeters finish multiple knitting projects over the course of the year or exhibit a fondness for crossword puzzles.

But this year another commonality has Westerhouse and John Scott ---- greeter coordinator at the middle school ---- worried.

The volunteers are leaving faster than Westerhouse or Scott can replace them.

"At the middle school, we are very short," Scott said. "We need at least five more."

The shortfall leaves holes during the week, Scott said.

"There are people who have been doing it year after year ---- just like all of us ---- and each year we get older. Some of our long-term greeters just aren't able to do it this year," Scott said. "So we're having to find replacements."

Westerhouse and Scott have been searching for ways to locate potential replacements.

Westerhouse said she took over the recruitment because she didn't thinhe'd be pressured.

She had found substitutes, but they haven't been called up heavily she said.

Westerhouse said. "But right now I don't think they have been used because they don't want to be full time."

Scott drafted a flier during this year's Eudora Middle School open house and has submitted calls for help to be published in The Eudora News. He also plans to contact the Eudora Ministerial Alliance to find volunteers.

The opportunity is open to anyone willing to volunteer time, Scott said.

"Of course this not limited just to mothers because I'm a grandpa, but a lot of times we get the mothers because the fathers are working," Scott said.

It's not hard for Scott to find advantages when telling people about his job as a greeter.

"I enjoy saying 'hi' to kids and 'hi' to the parents when they're coming in," Scott said. "It's always fun when the kids come up and say 'hi' and they come up and tell what they're doing over the week or over the weekend."

Greeters can help the student, Scott said.

"I think a couple of time it's been real helpful to the youth, but it's when they're feeling sad," Scott said. "It's just nice to say 'hi,' and it's nice to have someone something nice to you."

Eudora High School greeter Bunny Chilcoat shares Scott's view that getting to know the kids is the best part.

"The sixth-graders especially," Chilcoat said. "There so in awe of coming into school and they love so much to learn. They're like sponges."

Being a greeter also gives volunteers a chance to be recognized, Westerhouse said.

"They do have about the little get togethers where they serve us refreshments or lunch, and some of the music groups entertain us," Westerhouse. "That's one of the things we enjoy, too."

The greeters also get to enjoy the fact that when needed they ---- like Westerhouse ---- could be there.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.