Student Volunteerism at Liberty

Maddie Marquardt, junior, and Alana Just, junior, share their volunteering experiences in hope to inspire others to participate as well.

Emma+Dreyer+and+Maddie+Marquardt%2C+juniors%2C+sit+together+with+University+of+Iowa+students+at+a+volunteer+event.

Courtesy of Maddie Marquardt

Emma Dreyer and Maddie Marquardt, juniors, sit together with University of Iowa students at a volunteer event.

Maddie Marquardt, junior, used to spend a lot of time in the hospital due to complications with her health. Being surrounded by hospital staff and later experiencing physical therapy introduced her to her passion, taking care of and helping others. Marquardt began volunteering in junior high as a way to pass the time, but eventually, it became a serious hobby.

Her first major experience was through the University of Iowa’s junior volunteer program. During her time in the program, she learned how to set up hospital rooms and help families who had lost loved ones, and from there she only got more involved. Now, Marquardt works in the patients’ library and in the rehabilitation unit, where she shadows physical therapists each week. 

“Volunteering at the hospital made me realize how much I enjoy helping people and making things easier for others. I am able to follow my passion while being provided with an amazing learning experience,” said Marquardt.

Volunteering at the hospital made me realize how much I enjoy helping people and making things easier for others. I am able to follow my passion while being provided with an amazing learning experience.”

— Maddie Marquardt

Marquardt’s mother also had a large influence on how Marquardt decided to spend her time. Her mom has served on multiple non-profit boards such as IC Compassion, where Maddie also eventually got involved. Having a family member who does community work has a large impact on how the rest of the family spends their time, evidenced by Marquardt’s passion for helping out in her community. 

“It’s really amazing to see how much [my mom] impacts the community and to begin to follow in her footsteps. I have taken some different steps in my volunteerism, but my passion for it definitely comes from her love for helping out as much as she can,” said Marquardt.

Marquardt isn’t the only one with a family involved in volunteerism. Alana Just, junior, likes to serve meals with her grandmother at local soup kitchens among other activities. Volunteer opportunities are open for multiple events all over the community, and it’s easy to find opportunities that fit into one’s interests. 

“I volunteer at several locations that correspond with my interests. Currently, I volunteer at [University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics] and have volunteered on the 9th floor of the Stead Family Children’s Hospital, which helped expose me to medicine. When I volunteered at the children’s hospital, I loved to cheer up kids who might not be feeling the best,” added Just.

When I volunteered at the children’s hospital, I loved to cheer up kids who might not be feeling the best.”

— Alana Just

Getting involved in volunteerism during high school is a great way to interact with the community and build an appreciation for the work others do for you on a daily basis. One easy way to get involved at Liberty is through INteract Students Helping Our Community (IN SHOC), a club led by Peggy Dolson, which both Marquardt and Just are a part of. The primary goal of the club is to provide services to those in need through events like the Ronald McDonald monthly meal and the bingo night for Keystone Place at Forevergreen. 

“Students should consider joining IN SHOC because happiness is found through helping others. Volunteering allows companies, schools, and institutions to better provide for their community members [as well as teaching] the values of caring and giving,” said Dolson.

IN SHOC isn’t very active during the summer when school is not in session, so some members decide to host more events during those hot months without being associated with IN SHOC. One of these instances was with Marquardt setting up her own Ronald McDonald House meal at her church, further benefiting her community.

IN SHOC sets Liberty students up to be successful and passionate in their volunteering, which translates into more helping hands in our community, but by no means does anyone have to be a part of the club in order to get started. Simply by going out into the community to look, one can see that there are so many opportunities available for community members to take part in.