Earline Medcalf

Camdenton R-III School District
Camdenton, Missouri

I retired to Lake of the Ozarks in 1993, after 34 years of teaching second graders. After settling into a new home and getting everything just right, I would wake up in the morning feeling depressed and useless, thinking, “What am I contributing to the world, especially to my new community?” I missed the contacts of people, specifically those dedicated to helping children grow into well-educated, responsible adults. And I especially missed the children.

photographs courtesy of CAMDENTON R-III SCHOOL DISTRICT

Luckily for me, a neighbor told me about a new volunteer program in the Camdenton School District. She said, “Why don’t you join?” I did! I have now served in the program for around 26 years.

>> Anything I can do to help <<

The Camdenton School District has a great volunteer program. One of the best in the state, if not the best. It is supported by not only many individuals, but churches and community organizations. Several hundred volunteers give of their time, but like me, I’m sure they benefit more from their efforts than the children they serve.

I have tied a shoestring, zipped a zipper, and comforted those with a hug who just need it to get through the day.

Most of my time has been in the kindergarten classes. I have worked with the children in many areas, such as helping and developing programs for children having difficulty in a certain area, art projects, reading to the students and them to me,  and making yearbooks for their parents that feature activities from throughout the year.

I have especially enjoyed making holiday treats for them. I have tied a shoestring, zipped a zipper, and comforted those with a hug who just need it to get through the day.

TOP Earline not only serves children by assisting with assignments and projects, but she uses her connection with each one to reiterate how valuable the student is. BOTTOM In 2009, Earline was acknowledged as Volunteer of the Year. Her nominating teacher, Amber Keeney, wrote, “The kids always notice your presence immediately. It’s like they can feel your kind spirit, and they know how much you care.”

Not only do I so enjoy helping the children, but the overworked teachers need help with the many little things that need to be taken care of. So I try to assist by running errands, designing and making bulletin boards, making copies for their students, helping with classroom activities and anything else I can do to help give them more time with their students.

But, who has been the real beneficiary? ME!!

>> One Life, impacted <<

I look forward to each day I go into the classroom. I always receive big smiles and greetings from both the children and the teachers. Quite often, a student will run up and give me a hug. That’s all I need in order to know I am making a small difference in a child’s life.

After all these years, I meet students who were in classrooms I volunteered in sometime ago, and they will say, “Do you remember me?” Or, “Do you remember when we ________ ? Then I know, I might have made a little impact on his or her life.


The superintendent of Camdenton R-III School District believes volunteers are valuable assets in assisting staff and students, as well as the district, in the vision of “Everyone Learning Every Day.” For more information on volunteering within the school district, click this space.

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