Fostering a welcoming community in North Newton has been part of Jane Schmidt's work, in more ways than one, for the past decade — both in her role as Enrollment Activities Coordinator at Bethel College and as a member of the North Newton City Council.

At Bethel, Schmidt has held several positions over her nearly 30 years at the college, but having the chance to shape her current one upon its creation was an opportunity she jumped at. Through the years, she has helped reveal all the college has to offer to prospective students, getting them to "give it a chance" and assisting them further if they choose to make that final commitment.

"Basically, I set up all the campus visits — individual visits, group visits — and then also when students are ready to enroll I get them ready for that whole process," Schmidt said.

Learning a lot about kids through her role, Schmidt noted she enjoys encouraging students to come out and experience Bethel College to see if it is the right fit for them. Additionally, learning is a common theme in the other work Schmidt has taken on over the past six years as a member of the North Newton City Council.

Coming onto the council to fill an unexpired term in 2012, Schmidt noted there was a lot her eyes were opened to, from the number of people involved to the various projects addressed by the council and the length of time that goes into approving said projects — but she was ready when called upon to serve her community.

"I hadn't really done anything along that line, but it was something I could do to give back to the community," Schmidt said. "It's just kind of an ingrained thing to do service wherever I can. I think I've just grown up with it, in my faith, that service is a part of life — to help other people, to help communities. It's giving back and working to help organizations grow and be able to reach out in what they're doing, too."

On top of her work with the city and the college, Schmidt is also very involved in her church and has also helped with various community events, like Kansas Day at Kauffman Museum.

Schmidt recently stepped down from her role on the city council, but she noted what she has enjoyed about both realms of service she is involved in is the realization of years of work — seeing that come to fruition, either in terms of students graduating at the end of their careers at Bethel or a city project (i.e. new sewer system, walking/bike path, etc.) being completed after all the work that has gone into it, starting with the initial proposal.

Through it all, Schmidt noted she has had the opportunity to work with a number of great people, and that is part of what has kept her going. From the staff at North Newton City Hall to those she works with in the Bethel College Admissions Office, she has had a lot of help and that is something she believes will be there for anyone looking to make an impact in their community.

"If you have a little bit of interest, go for it," Schmidt said. "People support you along the way, and you can learn so much. I guess just be open and consider helping out and do what you can to be of service."