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Sunday, September 16, 2018



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Wallace Center volunteer encourages more to get involved in ‘Beyond the Bell’ Program

Wallace Center volunteer encourages more to get involved in ‘Beyond the Bell’ Program

Mathews, LA – It seems only fitting that the Wallace Center’s most steadfast volunteer is Kellee Bell.
The 20-year-old Nicholls State University junior said she never really thought about how her last name is Bell, which just so happens to be featured in the title of the center’s Beyond the Bell afterschool program for Raceland children and teens.

“That’s funny,” Bell said laughing. “I will have to tell the kids about that one.”

According to Bell, she received an email from center director Heather Benoit about Beyond the Bell and decided to sign up to volunteer when the program kicked-off in early February.

Since getting involved with the program, Bell has since switched her major from a non-school based curriculum to school psychology.

Bell, a native of Zachary, describes the experience as one that “has warmed her heart.”

“I had been just working a lot, but wanted to do something more this semester. Instead of sitting around in my dorm room in my free time, I decided to start working with children and teens that might need my help,” Bell said.

Benoit said Bell has been a godsend.

“She (Bell) instantly connected with our youth members, and has always been dedicated to them since the beginning of the program,” she said. “She is a great asset and is a remarkable leader.”

Participating in a program that assists children and teens with their homework along with providing enrichment activities Monday through Thursday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. has been a joy, Bell said.

“I’ve gotten so much out of it,” she said. “Just getting to see the kids grow and become better readers has been amazing. I have also witnessed shy kids come out of their shell and become more sociable with others. My experience has been wonderful with this program.”

Bell is the first to tell people she doesn’t have much of a background in volunteer work, but has now fallen in love with it as a result of Beyond the Bell.

At this point, the program averages better than 30 children and teens daily, according to Benoit.

With such a large turnout comes the need for additional volunteers to step up.

Currently, Benoit only has a handful of regulars who volunteer their time at the center.

Bell said she can’t express enough how gratifying it is to be involved in such a well-intentioned program.

“It is such a good way to give back to the community,” she said. “I would particularly tell college students in the education field to get involved because this really gives you a chance to work hands on with some amazing kids.”
Benoit said she welcomes anyone interested in volunteering their time to this worthwhile program to email her at benoithe@lafourchegov.org or visit Facebook at facebook.com/beyondthebellraceland for more information.