There was a time when Lindsey Frye wasn't an active volunteer. You might expect a period like that to come after someone becomes a single mother of two, but in Frye's case, it came before.
Perhaps the best example of her industriousness came in 2011, when a disastrous EF5 tornado struck Joplin, Mo. Frye remembered seeing the news unfold on Twitter just after visiting the park with her recently born daughter, her second child.
She couldn't stop thinking about what might have happened if Lawrence had been subjected to that kind of force of nature, so with "no money" and "no real assistance" she organized a benefit concert at the Bottleneck that raised over $3,000 for chapters of the United Way near Joplin.
Address: 1042 New Jersey St.
Occupation: Denied medical claims collector
Education: Certificate, Johnson County Community College
Family: Two children
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"I've always been a big believer in donating to local charities here in town," said Frye, who is one of seven people running for a four-year term on the Lawrence school board in the April 7 election. "Growing up, those values were instilled, but I wasn't very active when I was younger so I feel like now that I'm adult, I can take more of a lead on that."
A graduate of Lawrence High School, Frye, 34, has lived in Lawrence most of her life. She grew up in the foster care system, living with another family that already had four children from seventh grade until she was 18, when, as an adult, they officially adopted her.
Frye works as a denied medical claims collector for Apria Healthcare, which is based in Overland Park. She has a certificate in administrative support from Johnson County Community College and is planning to return to school soon for a bachelor's degree in business administration.
She said that since her oldest child began school she's tried to involve herself in the community as much as possible. Frye is a member of the Douglas County National Organization for Women, participates in two groups focusing on biking and walking safety and is a member of the recently formed Educate Lawrence, a group that spreads awareness about proposed legislation related to schools.
"You kind of get that sense of selflessness," Frye said of having children and feeling compelled to volunteer more. "You realize that, whoa, this is bigger than me. It's a really humbling feeling."
After taking on a more active role in the last year at the parent-teacher group and site council at New York Elementary, she now wants to be a part of the school board for a chance to see "positive change happen."
"Knowing that we gave every child who walked through that door an equal opportunity to succeed and achieve is far beyond any monetary payment," she said, referring to the fact that board members are not paid for their service.
Several of Frye's chief concerns are related to race and diversity. She said the district should do more to encourage student discussions on racial matters, different lifestyles and sexual harassment without being pushed into action by something controversial, such as the incidents of racially charged graffiti that appeared near schools this year.
She has also repeatedly stated she believes Lawrence students would benefit from having a more diverse staff, in terms of gender and race. At a forum for all the school board candidates in March, she said a more diverse staff could help close achievement gaps in the district.
Frye's two children are of mixed race.
"I think that our high schools are kind of a microcosm of the real world," she said. "I think it's important to create an environment of acceptance and the only way to do that is to have diversity."