Shane Williams, 18, of North Platte, Neb., a senior at North Platte High School, has volunteered to work on the state's annual NEBRASKAland Days (NLD) celebration since he was 10, and has led his high school class in collecting canned goods for an annual food drive over the past four years. Shane began volunteering by working with his mother on projects she coordinates as an NLD board member. As he grew older, he took on more and larger tasks, including painting a pavilion and grandstand, building a storage shed, coordinating cleanup days, organizing data in the office, ushering at a rodeo event, and serving as a talent show emcee. In his biggest project, he coordinated the complete remodeling of NLD's offices, raising money for the project, recruiting and organizing volunteer help, and working on all aspects of the renovation.
Shane assumed the leadership of his class' efforts in North Platte High's annual food drive when he was a freshman, and has collected more than $6,000 in donations each year. In addition to soliciting donations, he recruits other volunteers; arranges for storage space; and helps transport, sort and deliver the canned food. "To volunteer, you have to get out of your comfort zone and have a positive work attitude," Shane said. "I would encourage other young people to get their feet wet in volunteering. It has many payoffs that one can never imagine."