Christian Heritage students volunteer across Routt County | SteamboatToday.com

Christian Heritage students volunteer across Routt County

Jack Weinstein

Christian Heritage School eighth-grader Andie Baker calls out a card during a game of keno Friday at the Doak Walker Care Center. Forty-three students from the school spent part of the day volunteering at organizations throughout Routt County.

— Doak Walker Care Center resident Grace Dubendorf was fortunate to have Christian Heritage School seventh-grader Andrea Clark as her keno partner Friday morning.

Dubendorf, 86, isn’t very fond of the game.

“I’ve never played keno, and I don’t think I’ll do it again,” she said. “It’s boring.”

But her lack of enthusiasm for the game didn’t prevent Dubendorf from enjoying her time with Andrea, whom she knows because they both attend First Baptist Church.

“I love her to pieces,” Dubendorf said. “I always have a good time with this young lady.”

Christian Heritage students joined Doak residents for the keno game Friday morning as part of the school’s community service outreach day. Dave Entwistle, administrator at Christian Heritage, said 43 middle and high school students spent time in the morning helping organizations across Routt County.

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“I wanted to expose them to serving others and to recognize how fortunate we are,” said Entwistle, who before moving to Steamboat Springs spent 18 years teaching at a school for missionaries’ children in Kenya. “Let’s face it, we’re blessed. I wanted the kids to have an outward opportunity to serve others.”

The Christian Heritage students were split among LIFT-UP of Routt County, Integrated Community, Horizons Specialized Services and the Steamboat Springs Pregnancy Resource Center. A group stayed at the school and assisted Come Let’s Dance, some students collected canned goods in Steamboat II, and another group worked on a Habitat for Humanity project in Hayden.

The group of four seventh-graders at LIFT-UP helped sort donated winter clothing and food. Pam Graham, food bank and case manager, said LIFT-UP has received more interest in recent years from schools.

“We work with them the best we can because we feel it’s valuable for them to see a place like this where people need help,” she said, adding that student volunteers see there’s a need and that organizations exist to help people. “It’s an educational tool serving them as much as they help us.”

Entwistle said he hoped Christian Heritage could build on the experience by having community service outreach days each semester and involving more students.

At the Doak, Kathy Ulmer, the care center’s community life recreation assistant, said the residents typically play keno Thursday nights. She said they were playing Friday morning only because the Christian Heritage students were visiting.

“We like it,” she said about their visit. “The residents like it. I think everybody has a good time.”

Andrea, the seventh-grader, said she and her classmates were spending time with the residents because they’re “awesome.”

“It’s so much fun to smile at someone and for them to smile back,” she said.

Eighth-grader David Kissane said he enjoyed talking to people who had been around longer than he had.

“Helping out and having conversations is fun,” he said. “You learn things. It’s a pretty cool place.”

David added: “Another fun thing about coming here is, it’s easy to make people happy.”

That was true for 89-year-old Mollie Mahony. She said it was the first time a group of students had visited the Doak, as far as she could remember.

“Oh, I think it’s great,” Mahony said. “I have lots of kids myself, and I love it. I’m enjoying it very much.”