January Above & Beyond Award: Ryan Key

Ryan Key felt a calling to support the students at Jardine Middle School, which he followed by becoming a WyldLife team leader volunteer. Through Young Life's WyldLife program, Key has dedicated his time to building relationships and becoming a support system for students. Ryan Key is the January Above & Beyond Award recipient. 

Despite being a full-time college student majoring in Communication Studies at Washburn University, Key finds the time to volunteer as part of the WyldLife program at Jardine. The program is specifically tailored to help mentor and support middle school students. 

"We want to build relationships with these kids that would transfer from their time in middle school to their future high school career" Key explained. "Young Life is important to me, because I believe that it is important for us to build relationships with the youth so that we can share the love of Christ with them." 

Key was nominated for this award by Mike Haire, principal at Jardine Middle School. Haire said, "Ryan spends countless hours eating lunch with students, planning for WyldLife activities twice a month, as well as the many hours mentoring and participating in activities with Jardine students outside of the school day. He even attends camp with them in the summer in Minnesota." 

Key remarks that the most impactful part of his volunteerism has been at the Young Life summer camp in Minnesota,"Just being able to get to know who these guys are and getting to experience the Lord working through us."

Lead by his faith, Key has created a significant positive impact on Jardine and its students. Haire sums it up by saying, "Ryan and his team are building positive relationships with students, supporting them in and out of school, providing a positive mentorship for students, teaching students empathy and respect for one another and getting students involved in positive activities." 

This experience has given Key a new perspective on today's youth. He explains to future volunteers to "...be ready for a new perspective. A new perspective on what it looks like to be a youth in today's society. The hurt and struggle they go through and the things that bring them enjoyment." 

Volunteers like Ryan Key are highly valued at Topeka Public Schools. School volunteers enable students and staff to have the support and services they need to be successful. If you are interested in becoming at TPS volunteer, click here.