It's no wonder that Bethany Rineer was given the Humanitarian Award by her peers at Solanco High School.
"I like helping people," she said. "I try to be an example to others with what I do."
Rineer, who will graduate from Solanco June 5, is probably most known for her volunteer work in training service dogs through the New Life Assistance Dogs program for United Disabilities Services, but she does much more than that.
The soft-spoken friendly girl who is mature well beyond her years, has been teaching English to Banner Esquivel, a freshman at Solanco from Quatemala who has only been in the United States for seven months.
Rineer said she was asked by Jane Eddy, guidance counselor for the senior class, if she would be interested in tutoring him because she has been taking Spanish classes for four years at Solanco and is interested in studying a foreign language in college and possibly teaching in a third world country one day.
"When Banner came he only said hello," she recalls. "Since he moved from Quatemala he knows a lot more English."
Rineer said she provides academic support to Esquivel and they work on a lot of English together. His favorite subject is science.
"He learned how to log on to a computer, common things," she said. "He's doing very well in school since he doesn't know the language. He can understand a lot - he just can't speak it."
Rineer said she has enjoyed teaching Esquivel and the reason she stuck with studying Spanish is because she thought it would be a good language to know. "One out of every four people in Lancaster speak Spanish," she said.
She is also proud of Esquivel's progress.
"It's really neat to watch. By the end of the first week he was understanding things," she said. "He's come a long way."
Rineer, the daughter of Rick and Linda Rineer of Holtwood, who will turn 18 on a trip to the Caribbean with 12 of her friends at the end of June, plans to attend Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit, Pa. to major in elementary education. She is also planning to take a foreign language and possibly teach in another country someday, like India.
"I've always liked cultures and languages," she said. "I'd like to go to India."
Rineer, whose grade-point-average is higher than 3.5, is a member of the Interact Club, Young Educators Association (YEA) and Christians In Action (CIA). She also plays percussion in the pep band, which performed at home basketball games and school assemblies, and has been involved with the Providence Outdoor Site.
Outside of school, Rineer is on the staff at Solid Rock Youth Ministries in Quarryville, is a member of the youth group at Colerain Baptist Church, and volunteers as a waitress at Black Rock Retreat during "Special Week," which is when a group of mentally and physically disabled people come to the Christian retreat center south of Quarryville.
Ever since her sophomore year, Rineer has been bringing the service dogs she and her mother help train to school every few weeks. This year she is training Campbell, a yellow Labrador Retriever that everybody likes. They also go to Clermont Elementary School as part of the "Paws to Read" program.
"I enjoy helping other people," she said as the reason she wanted to learn how to train service dogs. "It really changes people's lives."
Rineer was given the Violet Richardson Award by Soroptimist International of Solanco last year, which honors girls between the ages of 14 and 17 for volunteer action, such as helping people in the community.
She and fellow classmate Wes Weaver are pictured in the beginning of Solanco's yearbook for being given the Humanitarian Award by their peers.
Rineer has an older sister, Sherry, who recently graduated from Baptist Bible College with a bachelor's degree in youth ministry. She is a 2002 Solanco graduate.
Rineer said she credits growing up in a Christian home with her faith in God.
"I feel I have a relationship with God that's important to me," she said.