Kalin Lamus represents SM East as a gymnast, competing in a sport that requires great physical strength, agility and style.
But on a recent Friday, the 17-year-old senior demonstrated another skill – compassion. Lamus and her team mates from SM East and SM South volunteered at the Kansas City Community Kitchen serving people in need.
“It was really fun and the people were fun to talk to,” she said. “We worked in the kitchen and as servers at the tables. We were told to treat it like it’s your favorite restaurant so they don’t feel weird about it.”
The gymnastics team is one of several sports teams at East that represent their school off the field doing community service projects. Last winter, the SM East boy’s basketball team rang bells for the Salvation Army.
The girl’s tennis team recently completed a walk to raise money to find a cure for leukemia; the girl’s volleyball team played seniors living at Claridge Court, and the football team was going to visit seniors living at Brighton Garden.
“We eat lunch with the residents and talk to people,” said Eli McDonald, 18, a senior on the football team. “It’s a satisfying feeling helping out people in need. It brings joy to them and everybody else.”
Debbie Katzfey, the new athletic director at SM East, said the students have embraced the idea of bringing their team spirit to charitable endeavors.
“We’ve got fantastic student-athletes in our building who are often highlighted by their wins and losses but not necessarily what they do behind the scenes,” she said. “This allows them to show the well-rounded people they are.”
Two representatives from each team are chosen to be members of the Student Activity Advisory Council. They work with coaches to decide what community service activity works for them.
Emma Henderson, 17, is a senior on the volleyball team. Their activity was to play a volleyball game with a group of seniors at Claridge Court using a big beach ball–while their team sat in chairs.
“The only rule was we couldn’t leave the chair,” she said. “It’s hard not to be as aggressive as you want.”
And Henderson said the residents plan to return the favor by coming to Senior Night at SM East.
“They come and hold signs for us,” she said.
Katzfey said the teams welcome ideas for where they can volunteer. She invited groups to contact her at 913-993-6643.