Club, which promotes volunteerism. In her freshman year, she participated in Hempfield’s Mini-THON to raise money for cancer research. In addition to serving as captain of her soccer team for five years, Gochnauer has also helped with soccer training camps for all ages. When a classmate passed away from a drug overdose, Gochnauer was one of the students who volunteered for the fundraiser that sold t-shirts and car washes to raise a few thousand dollars toward his family’s medical bills. And this holiday season, when you hear the familiar tolling of the Salvation Army bells, Gochnauer might be the person ringing them. For five years in a row, Gochnauer has rung the donation bell at the mall, a bank, a pizza shop, and a grocery store. “People are generous,” she noted. “It’s cool to see all the kids asking their moms for change to go put in the bucket.” As is so often the case, volunteerism runs in Gochnauer’s family. She has helped both her volunteering grandmothers at a Manheim thrift shop, sorting donations and helping to price items. Her father and mother are longtime volunteers as well and started Gochnauer off young, encouraging her to help them sort cans donated to the food bank at Thanksgiving. For parents struggling to find a way to initiate their children to the value and importance of volunteering their time, Gochnauer said that following one of their interests is the easiest path. “Do something that they’re interested in,” she said. “A sports team, church—there are always things you can do … or through school. There are always clubs you can get into. If your child’s interested in something, it’s going to be easy to get them to volunteer, especially if their friends are doing it.” At Slippery Rock, Gochnauer is studying to become a physical therapist, an occupation in line with her longstanding desire to help others. And despite the rigors of collegiate academia, Gochnauer has continued her volunteer work by joining the Best Buddy program, where she is paired with an adult who has mental health challenges for regular activities. Gochnauer has also chosen to assist the American Cancer Society as a leader for a fitness fundraiser and hopes to become a student ambassador for her college in the future. Just one of many young adults challenging the negative gen-Y characterizations, Gochnauer reiterated her motivation for serving her community. “It’s just nice knowing that you can help other people,” she said. “It’s also [knowing that] someone out there is benefitting from what I’m doing, and the little bit of time I can give is helping someone out a lot.”
Katy Gochnauer has been extensively involved in activities at her church, including participating with vacation Bible school and conducting the weekly video presentations.