By Gaige Winchester
Levi Shelley says volunteering during the holidays serving meals at the Young Women’s Christian Association is his most memorable community service experience. It made people genuinely smile and helped them enjoy the holidays in ways they normally wouldn’t be able to.
Ashleigh Brelage says her most memorable community service experience was working on quilts for Lutheran World Relief with others in her congregation at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. She said it was the most memorable because it was helping all over the world, instead of just her small community.
“It’s nice to give back, and always help, and to give back to the community that has helped so much,” Brelage said. “It does so much good and can actually make people smile a lot.”
Brelage and Shelley are the two members of National Honor Society with the most service hours put in last year. They love giving back to their community, and it benefits them in many ways.
NHS members are required to perform a minimum of 10 hours of service per semester (although that total was lowered to three hours in the fall semester due to Covid-19 limiting opportunities).
Brelage, the leader with 87 hours put in last year for the NHS, comes from a family who is involved in many ways in their community and in other communities.
For example, Brelage’s work with the quilting program through her church.
“The finished quilts go all over the world where people need them, so that’s really cool to be involved in something that’s bigger than just the Delaware County community,” she said.
Brelage has made five quilt tops and has helped complete several more quilts with women from her church. Members of the church often work together to tie the quilt layers together and bind the edges.
Each quilt top takes at least six hours, Brelage estimates.
Shelley got introduced to community service by his experiences in Boy Scouts, but he has done more than is required and has grown to love serving his community.
“I grew up in a Boy Scout troop; I’ve been in Boy Scouts since I was five,” Shelley said. “I’m used to doing a lot of service. I generally like helping out the community around me, and it feels really nice to help others out.”
Shelley was second in service hours for the NHS last year with 70 hours of community service.
About his experience working at the YWCA, Shelley said, “We got it out on the plates and we served it out and it was an amazing thing to see them get happy. It was so wonderful.”
As adults they both plan to continue working in their community.
“It gets me in good relations with the people involved,” Shelley said. “I can always go back to the people I’ve done service for, when I need help, and I normally get help. … I’ve helped them in the past so they’re willing to help me now.”
In college, Brelage plans to study graphic design. Shelley intends to pursue a degree in software development and computer science.
They both encourage anyone who thinks they might want to get involved to do so. Brelage said it helps with responsibility, and Shelley said it helps with his general work ethic.
Anyone can help and make change. It’s just being able to put yourself out there and take the opportunities.