Celebrating People in Action – 2013

April 25, 2013- Manhattan, KS: HandsOn Kansas State announces the four winners of the ninth annual Celebrating People in Action community service awards.  Outstanding Student Volunteer is Emily Campbell, graduate student in Sociology at Kansas State University. Outstanding Student Organization is Wildcat Buddies. Outstanding Youth Volunteer is Mira Bhandari, a fifth grader at Bergmann Elementary school.  Outstanding Community Group is Construction Craft Laborer Trade: Flint Hills Job Corps.

All winners are chosen based on their demonstration of exemplary leadership in service and commitment to addressing a need in the K-State and Manhattan community.  Each winner was recognized at the Celebrating Service and Leadership ceremony on April 21 and received a $250 check to donate to the nonprofit organization of their choice, provided by Community 1st National Bank.  

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Open House – 2013

HandsOn Kansas State hosted a service event during the K-State Open House Celebration on April 20th in the School of Leadership Studies. Continuing with this year’s emphasis on hunger, we conducted a food-packaging event with Outreach, Inc. Through the involvement of over 35 volunteers, we were able to package over 1,728 meals for needy families in Riley County. Check out photos from this event!

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Connecting Corporations to Service!

On June 30th the Accenture Eco Volunteer Team become volunteer leaders and participated in their Eco service project, in support of their Corporate Citizenship initiative, Skills to Succeed. Twenty-three (23) corporate, community and youth volunteers contributed their labor and resources to Cultivate Kansas City and the Kansas City Community Gardens, and completed over 90 hours of service as a group.

Volunteers worked at four different sites throughout the Kansas City Metro area in Kansas and Missouri.  At the Juniper Garden Training Farms (KS) for new immigrant urban farmers, volunteers painted storage sheds and mulched public walk ways. They also learned how new urban farmers become self-sufficient through land acquisition and marketing crops at local Farmers’ Markets. Accenture also purchased tools for new training farm graduates as part of their commitment to this new training program for Cultivate Kansas City.

     Quote from Volunteer “Meeting a refugee farmer from Africa and being able to     communicate with him in Swahili, was the highlight of my day

The Niles Home for Children (MO), the Little Angels Day Care (KS) and the Metro Learning Center Pre-school (MO) saw volunteers clean up an established schoolyard garden for residential youth 6 – 17 years, and build new raised beds for two pre-schools.  Kansas City Community Gardens help establish and maintain schoolyard gardens for over 100 schools to help children, families and teachers learn about food production, healthy eating and promote outdoor activity. Accenture purchased materials for the raised beds and new tools

     Quote from Volunteer “My most memorable moment, eating fresh strawberries and finding a snake in the garden”


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What does Manhattan think of Manhattan?

The Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce invited HandsOn Kansas State to participate in the annual Get Around 2 It event, which is aimed at highlighting family opportunities in summer in Manhattan.

HandsOn Kansas State wanted to gather community opinion on areas on need.  We asked two interactive questions, and invited everyone to write in their response.  The responses were pretty enlightening and entertaining- check them out below and comment what YOU like or would improve!

What is something you like about Manhattan?

Bike trails                                  Small city

Willie                                          Good school system

Pools/Arts in the park            Bike Trails

Friendly people                        City parks

Zoo                                             I love that it is all about family

KSU                                           I like that it is very pretty

Fort Riley                                 The Discovery Center fountains

Small                                          Parks and Rec

New pools                                 K-State gardens

McCain                                      Day Care

Friendly people                        I love KSU

My home!                                  the hills

Parks and walking trails         Flowers

The Flint Hills                           The people

Parks and nature trails            Bike Trails

Mall!                                            Willie the Wildcat

K-State                                        Eating establishments

2 dog parks                                 The Public Library

Restaurants                                Call Hall ice cream

Things to do!                               Parks

K-State Athletics                        Splash parks

Library                                         Manhattan hill

Zoo                                                Cold Stone


What is something to improve in Manhattan?

More bike trails                            Aggieville sidewalks

Fake Patties Day                          Increase dog-friendly parks

Would like more opportunities for disabled adults

More events                                  Better transportation routes

Public transportation                   Potholes

Ongoing transit                             Paint the Markerson roads

Public Transportation                 Sidewalks

Streets                                           Pools open earlier

Mapping for walking and biking trails

More museums                            Bring back Hardees

Bike paths                                     Cheaper apartments

Sidewalks connecting the Northeast side of town

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Outstanding Student Volunteer 2012: Rebekah Carnes



Rebekah Carnes is a graduate student in Sociology at Kansas State whose main passion is activism.  She is committed to a career in the field of social policy, and not only researches volunteerism for her graduate project but also serves in Manhattan herself.  Currently she volunteers for the Manhattan Emergency Shelter, tutors for International Friends of Manhattan and is part of the Faith Evangelical Free Church in Manhattan.  As her nominator Dr. Nadia Shapkina says, “clearly the choices that Rebekah makes in her life demonstrate that she is very passionate about and strongly devoted to the causes of peace, human development and social justice.

As the Outstanding Student Volunteer winner for the Celebrating People in Action awards, Rebekah is our guest writer this week talking about what volunteering means to her.




Volunteerism is a funny word. On the one hand, it can conjure up images of a quick hour shift in a Saturday fundraiser; on the other hand, it can be intertwined with a person’s true identity. My research has found that the lifestyle of volunteer work is one of the most powerful motivators for social change. Some people have a volunteer identity that runs deeper than any occupational or professional identity.  At a party, they might introduce themselves, not as: “hi, I’m so and so, and I am a…(insert profession here)”, but as: “hi, I’m so and so, and this is what I really care about…” For these people, “volunteer” just doesn’t quite cover it.

Once, there was a pastor who also volunteered his time to organize people to peacefully protest against inequality. This volunteer, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. started one of the greatest movements for justice and equality that this country has ever seen. Once there was a nurse who also volunteered to organize other health care professionals to help with medical emergencies. This volunteer, Ms. Clara Barton, founded the American Red Cross and led it to profoundly impact people’s lives all over the world. Another volunteer, Mr. Art Palmer, was a volunteer firefighter in Manhattan, KS, and continued to save lives from behind the scenes at the Flinthills Free Clinic long after he retired. Yet another volunteer, Mrs. Joyce Marr, helps to rescue families from poverty in Manhattan, KS by organizing emergency bill paying from Shepherd’s Crossing. For these people, volunteering is not just how they spend their time, it is wrapped up in who they are. These people are volunteers, but the word is synonymous with “activist”, “missionary”, “visionary”, and “servant”. These are the people that inspire me to serve my community.


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Autism Meets Optimism: Jillian Tinkel

Jillian Tinkel is the Lead Therapist for Autism Meets Optimism in Manhattan, and is working hard to organize the 2nd annual Walk for Recovery taking place this Sunday, April 15 from 1-5pm in City Park.

Check out ways to volunteer for Autism Meets Optimism here!

Autism Meet Optimism is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded by William R. and Brandy A. Porter, in honor of their son Will.

The purpose of our walk will be to raise funds for local community activities for children and their families affected by autism here in Manhattan.
However the primary goal is to raise enough funds to start a therapy center in Manhattan for children with Autism. Autism Meet Optimism along with the help of many friends and family want to provide our community with a facility that will allow our children, teens and adults with autism to lead happy fulfilling lives.  One that will provide quality research based methods of teaching with trained professionals, a place where they can learn and grow.

We hope you can all make it to the 2nd Annual Walk for Recovery! The event will take place in the Manhattan City Park, Sunday April 15, 2012 from 1-5pm!

Volunteer for the walk here!


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Volunteer Highlight: Jeremy Holliday, Academic Mentor


Hello, my name is Jeremy Holliday and I’m a sophomore this year majoring in Elementary Education. A few things you should know about me:

  •  I grew up in a small town in Kansas called Soldier.
  • I am the oldest of eight kids.
  • I wanted to play in the NBA when I grew up.
  • Twitter is one of my hobbies.

Now that you know a little bit about me, I want to take some time to tell you about my job as an Academic Mentor through K-State. When I first heard about the opportunity to hang out with kids, I was ecstatic! What a great opportunity to surround myself with elementary students when I’m going to be an elementary teacher someday. I applied for the job, and let me tell you, it’s been one of the best experiences of my life.

I work at two different sites, Saint George Elementary and Marlatt Boys and Girls Club. Both sites are great places to be, and I absolutely love walking into the building to see kids filled with energy and smiling faces. There are several different things that I enjoy about both of them. At Saint George I’ve been given the opportunity to work with kindergarten through second grade kids one on one in areas such as reading and math. This has been very beneficial as I prepare to be a teacher, and it’s helped direct me to the age range of kids that I would love to teach. I also love the Boys and Girls Club. I love being able to spend time with kids outside of that classroom setting, as I’ve really been able to get to know kids more so than just instructing them in how to do a homework problem.

As I wrap this up, I want to share the best thing about being an Academic Mentor. There is no greater feeling in the world than walking into a classroom and hearing all the kids tell you hi. To be that role model that the kids look up to is so special. To be a person that puts a smile on a kid’s face. To get pictures drawn for you. To have kids run up and give you a hug just because you’re there for them. That’s what life is all about, to make a positive difference in a person’s life. And let me tell you, there is no greater feeling in the world than knowing that you are making a difference in a young child’s life. A difference that a child will remember for the rest of their life.

Learn more about Academic Mentors on our website!

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