Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

May 11, 2011

College student gives back to her community

By Shayla Menville - Staff Writer

May 11, 2011 —     Megan Henderson is a sophomore at the University of Kentucky, a Robinson Scholar, and a native of Olive Hill.

    The Robinson Scholar program asks that the recipients do community service projects, and Henderson chose to do hers in her hometown.

    “The town was hit really hard by the floods last year, and I wanted to help in the recovery efforts,” she said.

    She and five volunteers worked Saturday at the Senior Citizens Center in downtown Olive Hill.

    Henderson had to put together a project proposal, set a budget, and do a presentation before she could implement her volunteer project.

    The scholarship program allocated $500 for her project and she purchased a picnic table, cornhole boards, two park benches, flowers, flower pots, and tomato plants to do some landscape work around the center.

    “The Senior Citizens Center was not able to stay open before the floods and I knew they could use and would appreciate the help,” said Henderson.

    Henderson's adviser in the Robinson Scholar program, Jeff Spradling said her project was an outstanding example of what they want their scholars to be doing in their communities.

    “I am very proud of Megan for taking the lead on this and putting herself back into Olive Hill because the need there is great,” said Spradling. “This project is very near and dear to her heart.”

    “In small towns, there is a close-knit community and people help one another, I wanted to be able to do that for my hometown,” said Henderson.

    He added that the program wants to return value to the communities that the scholars are from because the students are products of their communities and it gives them the chance to network within their hometowns.

    “I met with Kim King and she had the idea to do some landscaping and beautification,” said Henderson. “The scholarship program wants us to focus on Eastern Kentucky because that is where the scholars are from and I could have done my community service project anywhere but I preferred to come back because this is my home.”

    King said she thinks it is wonderful that Henderson chose to come back to her community.

    “I think that this will greatly benefit the seniors and provide them a place to participate in outdoor recreation,” said King. “It is so good to see that young people like Megan want to better their communities.”

    King added that she wished more people would get involved the way Henderson did.

    “It would be so wonderful if more people would volunteer in their communities because it would directly benefit and impact them and their way of lives,” said King.

    Henderson and her family and friends who volunteered spent several hours planting, painting and putting together what they hope will bring continual recreation to the seniors in Olive Hill.

    “I noticed the Senior Citizens Center had a grill and so I wanted to do something that made sure they would have seating and games if they had a cookout, and it will provide an opportunity for them to enjoy themselves and spend time socializing,” said Henderson. “My family was very willing to help out in any way they could because they are from Olive Hill as well, and wanted a chance to give back.”'

    Henderson graduated from West Carter High School in 2009 and is studying physical therapy at UK.

    Shayla Menville can be reached at or by phone at 286-4201.