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Premier High School of Amarillo students helped raise money this fall to benefit special needs children by volunteering at the Ambucs annual Pancake feast. With their help, Ambucs served more than 2,000 people and raised $14,000 to benefit special needs children.

Campus director Manuela Allen says giving their time to help others plays an important role in helping students recognize their responsibility to help others in their community.

“Events like this enhance our focus on character education. In a lot of cases our students are the ones receiving aid, and events like this gives them a chance to provide instead of just receive. For many students, volunteering is the first step towards being an adult and a responsible member of their community,” said Ms. Allen.

Students first started volunteering at the Pancake Feast through the work of Craig Brucker, who works as the front office secretary and register. For the past 18 years, he has been a member and former president of the Amarillo Ambucs chapter, a nonprofit focused on community service . Recognizing the need for students to have a positive impact on society, he connected the school with Ambucs. This is the second year students have volunteered at the Pancake Breakfast.

“Students did everything from help make batter to clean tables and serve food. It provides a great way for students to have fun while making a difference. They get to see the direct results of their hard work. Several of our students have written in their English class about how the experience changed them and helped them grow,” said Mr. Brucker.

Child receiving her AmTryke therapeutic bike

Through the money they helped raise, special needs children receive AmTryke therapeutic tricycles. These tricycles were designed by physical therapists to help special needs children who can’t ride bikes have fun while gaining mobility and developing muscle strength.

Samantha Modisette, a senior at Premier, said the day helped open her eyes to other people in the community who she can help.

“I really liked that we weren’t there to benefit ourselves. We all live in the same town, but we have different lives, and we don’t often get to see someone else’s perspective. Before volunteering and seeing the bikes, I didn’t know about a lot of these disabilities like immune deficiency. It was a huge eye opener for me,” said Samantha.

Ambucs also helps support Maverick Boys & Girls Club of Amarillo where several Premier students have started volunteering as mentors. The club provides at-risk youth with a safe environment outside of school that helps develop the qualities they need to become responsible citizens.

“High school can be a transformative time for students, and I think it is really important to provide them with opportunities that change them in a positive way. At Premier we seek to not only build the academic strength to go on to college, but also the character strength to be helpful and responsible members of society,” said Ms. Allen.

With the great experience they have had with Ambucs, Ms. Allen is looking to build out Premier High School of Amarillo’s community service opportunities.  

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