There’s nothing like seeing a smile on someone’s face.
This is what keeps Mahomet-Seymour High School junior Zoe Hovde coming back to volunteer opportunities year after year.
Hovde, who began to see the effects of helping neighbors as part of the Community Action Program at Mahomet-Seymour Junior High School, was looking for a way to connect with volunteer opportunities as a freshman.
“I asked if the high school had something similar,” Hovde said. “They said no because not enough people joined last time they had it. So when I heard about (the Interact Club during sophomore year), I thought that that is something I’ve been waiting for, so I decided I had to join because I enjoyed it so much in junior high.”
In its first year at MSHS, the Interact Club, led by Math Teacher Rhonda Starkey, had more than 30 participants.
“I was really excited to see all those people show up, and a lot of them stayed and kept helping with different things,” Hovde said.
Students collaborated to come up with ideas to help in East Central Illinois communities throughout the year. They were then tasked with the responsibility to reach out to different organizations to see what was needed.
Hovde said her favorite event was helping at the Holiday Shop at Lincoln Square Mall.
“A lot of people showed up and a lot of people got involved. You got to meet a lot of new people, too,” she said.
But it was the smiles on the kids’ faces that made the event worthwhile.
“You could really tell how the kids enjoyed it,” she added.
Earlier in the school year, students raked leaves for people in Mahomet who may have had trouble doing so.
“You can see how the older people we were raking leaves for enjoyed it,” she said.
As Director of Accounting for the MSHS Ag Supply Business, Hovde has also experienced different ways of being involved in the community through digging up onions, working with junior high students in the Ag Club and providing a convenience for those looking to purchase dog food or mums locally.
“A lot of people who think about kids my age, don’t think we enjoy helping others or that we’re just kind of doing our own thing or that we don’t see or take the opportunity to help others,” Hovde said.
“I think that’s kind of a misconception. I really like helping others, and people I know like helping others.”
With school work, responsibilities in the ag store and making sure she gets into the community, it’s a wonder Hovde has time for anything else.
But, being a part of the MSHS Drama Club brings her joy, too.
“It has the same effect; you see people smile and enjoy the show. I really like that,” she said.
“All those things together make my year 10 times better just knowing that I helped a lot of people or made a lot of people happy.”