Lakeview Village resident Jack Miller just celebrated his 90th birthday, but finds that turning another year older does not prevent him from remaining active, healthy, and engaged in the community.
One of Miller’s favorite ways to spend time is to volunteer Wednesday and Friday mornings at Rising Star Elementary School in Lenexa, Kan. Miller has volunteered at least twice a week at the school for the past 11 years, and on April 4, the students and staff celebrated his birthday during a “Jack Miller Day” celebration.
“It was a really wonderful day when I went to school that morning,” Miller said. “Most of the school board was there and a representative of the City of Lenexa thanked me for my service. Then, I was able to see every student in school.”
Lenexa City Council member Steve Lemons presented Miller with a birthday card signed by the Lenexa Mayor Mike Boehm and a proclamation that April 4, 2014 will be known as “Jack Miller Day” at Rising Star Elementary School.
After Miller met members of the school board, Rising Star Elementary School Principal Chris Lash took Miller to every classroom to see the children he helps. Many of the students had gifts and cards for Miller.
“Staff and students alike love the opportunity to work with Jack Miller,” Lash said. “He just has a positive energy that is contagious. He has given us so much; it was nice to do something for such a good person.”
In a fifth-grade classroom, Lash asked for students who had been tutored by Miller to raise their hands; almost every student raised a hand.
“It was surprising to see how many students I had worked with, some when they were in the younger grades,” Miller said.
Miller tutors students in all grades on their math skills. He enjoys working with children of different ability levels.
Before volunteering at Rising Star Elementary School, Miller volunteered at Somerset Elementary School in Prairie Village, Kan., for 13 years.
“My favorite part of volunteering is working with the kids,” Miller said. “I just enjoy being around young people all morning for two mornings. I am a retiree and I have time available and I want to use it.”
Miller loved seeing the students on his birthday, but said the “real party started” when he saw the family members who came to Lenexa for his birthday.
On the Saturday following his birthday, Miller’s family gathered in the Tree Top room in Southridge of Lakeview’s campus to throw a party for him. They invited every resident in the community and about 100 guests attended.
“It was a really great party,” Miller said.
Miller, who has lived at Lakeview for more than 11 years, enjoys that the community allows him to be involved on and off campus.
When not volunteering at Rising Star Elementary School, Miller works Monday mornings in Lakeview’s secondhand store, The Whatnot Shop, and volunteers Thursday afternoons in Lakeview’s Child Development Center reading to the children.
A Lenexa Volunteer Hall of Fame Inductee, Miller hopes to remind Lakeview residents that they can be active as retirees.
“I have already recruited four or five people to volunteer at the school,” Miller said. “I help get their feet wet, and they find me after and tell me they love it. There are many ways to get involved here.”