St. Labre Indian School sophomores served at the Billings Food Bank

Volunteering probably isn’t high up on most kids’ list when they hit the city.

But it was the No. 1 priority Wednesday for about 35 St. Labre High School students in Billings. They spent a few hours volunteering at the Billings Food Bank, Montana Rescue Mission Bargain Center and the Ronald McDonald House.

The work is part of a renewed emphasis on service learning, St. Labre director of Ministry and Mission Integration Emily Ruef said.

“Sometimes coming to the big city can be a little intimidating,” for students of the small Ashland school on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Ruef said. But Billings abounds with volunteer opportunities. Going in a group helps kids ease into things.

“Our goal was to build those relationship with these services,” she said.

Dartanyon Waterhouse and Donovan Wind helped load and unload donations alongside the bargain center.

“It kind of picks us up,” Waterhouse said. He hadn’t been having his best week and had his deceased grandfather’s name written on bracelets in his memory.

“They taught me how to live as a traditional, helpful person,” he said.

Mariah Tendore knows that stocking shelves probably isn’t going to save the world, but she realized that little things can go a long way. Wheat Icon