Key Club continues to help others through service and inspiration

When students and staff alike began another school year at Boca High this August, the race for community service hours also began for students, especially seniors. Twenty hours are required to graduate, but the Bright Futures scholarship requires 75 or 100 hours, depending on which scholarship students are looking to earn. Unfortunately, many students wait until their senior year to even begin fulfilling their community service requirement.

“When the school year starts, I go through the last names of about 100 seniors to check if they have their required community service hours,” said Boca High assistant principal Mr. Berthiaume. “If they don’t, I usually recommend they join a school club to fulfill the requirement.”

He said that getting involved in clubs dedicated to community service is not only a great thing for students to do for themselves and others, but it is often much simpler than finding service opportunities on their own. The school clubs normally plan the volunteering events for their members and also accept input from others, so all that really needs to be done is join the club, attend meetings, and go to some of the service projects.

Some of the recommended clubs are Habitat for Humanity, Bobcat Alliance for Student Excellence (BASE), Paw Pals, Bobcat Buddies, Interact Club, Save the Children, TLC, and National Honor Society.

One of the most commonly recommended clubs is the Boca High Key Club, led by senior co-presidents TJ Lievonen and Jason Dossantos. The club members have participated in a wide variety of community service opportunities, such as walks for various causes, making dog toys to donate to local humane societies and pet rescues, spending time with the elderly at assisted living facilities, making sandwiches for Boca Helping Hands, and helping out at the community garden.

A Boca High Key Club member, junior Kristen Luger, said that Key Club is definitely worthwhile to join.

“It’s a great, world-renowned organization,” she said. “It’s a good way to meet new people, help others in the community, and be more involved in the school.”

Key Club International, sponsored by Kiwanis International, is a much larger organization than most students realize. It’s the largest and oldest high school service program in the world, and it is active in over 30 countries. There are over 260,000 Key Club members in the world. The main focuses of the club are on leadership, character-building, caring, and inclusiveness through community service.

Key Club works in close partnership with the Children’s Miracle Network, March of Dimes, and UNICEF, especially in matters involving their current international project. It is devoted to eliminating the risk of maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) and has been dubbed the Eliminate Project. MNT is fairly rare in the United States because most people get their tetanus shots regularly. However, in 26 other countries, MNT is often contracted by mothers and their newborns while giving birth in unsanitary conditions. It is estimated that one child dies from this disease every nine minutes. Fortunately, this project has already shown positive results worldwide, and Key Club played a major part in those outcomes.

The Boca High Key Club participated in several walks and fundraisers for the Eliminate Project last year, and the officers said that they also have several events for the project planned for this year, including Trick-Or-Treat for UNICEF, which is a fundraiser for the Eliminate Project. They also said that they plan to attend at least one walk for the cause.

Students who joined Key Club in previous years easily fulfilled their community service requirement, sometimes within just the first semester if they went to enough of the service events.

The Boca High Key Club requires that its members attend most of the meetings, which are every other Tuesday after school, and at least a couple events each month if possible. This year, the officers also added on a five service hour requirement for entry into the club, which students can attain themselves or by coming to some of the Key Club events.

Boca High Key Club faculty advisor Ms. O’Bryan said that community service is important, especially when you’re young and in school.

“When you start doing service early in life, it carries on through your entire life,” she said. “It makes you realize that there are more important things in life than money or labels.”


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