Shelly Shumate’s pay-it-forward philosophy has made a difference in the lives families throughout the school district. Mrs. Shumate, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Transportation Department training coordinator, volunteers her time to help organize a number of charitable activities among the school district’s transportation staff members while also reaching out to others in the community.
“I get a lot out of helping others,” she said. “I believe what you give comes back to you. Every day I pray that I can be a blessing to someone else.”
Within the Transportation Department, Mrs. Shumate organizes approximately 40 transportation staff members to walk together in Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation’s Race for the Future 5K run/walk. “It is really important for us to step up and do our part to raise money for kids,” she said.
She also organizes several charitable activities among the Transportation staff members including an annual food drive for Lee’s Summit Social Services as well as Christmas gifts for the organization’s families in need. In previous years, she helped with the department’s Toys for Tots drive.
During the fall, Mrs. Shumate has assisted with Transportation’s community outreach efforts at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Oktoberfest. Transportation staff members volunteer to work at an Oktoberfest booth where children learn safety tips from Buster the Bus, a mini talking school bus.
“We really get close to our kids and the parents — they become our family,” she said about the bus drivers and the families on their routes.
Mrs. Shumate has worked for the Transportation Department for 16 years including 11 years as a bus driver before becoming a trainer and now the training coordinator. She is a fourth generation Lee’s Summit resident.
Encouraging a team atmosphere within the Transportation family is important to Mrs. Shumate. She helps organize the annual outing to a Missouri Mavericks hockey game, which traditionally has around 100 employees and family members attending.
During her years as a bus driver, she enjoyed decorating her own school bus for holidays and now helps others with bus decorations to encourage a positive environment. She has been a frequent volunteer when the Transportation Department assists with Lee’s Summit North High School’s annual Safe Halloween event and volunteered at this fall’s Halloween event at Longview Farm Elementary. She has also been a volunteer for the Transportation Department’s Book Buddies program at Prairie View Elementary.
Away from her job, she keeps her community service low-key but shared that she enjoys informally adopting a family during the holidays or paying it forward by purchasing someone’s drive-through meal or paying for a stranger’s Christmas layaway gift.
“I enjoy working for the school district,” Mrs. Shumate said. “I’ve been on the receiving end of someone helping me and whenever I can, I want to help others.”