By Jackie Ruiz, Editor
Key club members work on volunteering projects to better the Grand Island community.
Key Club stands for Kiwanis Empowering Youth. It is an organization where students volunteer in their communities and learn leadership skills.
It was founded in 1925 and has spread globally since then. There are over 1000 different clubs worldwide.
Key Club often works with Erika’s Lighthouse, Schoolhouse, Thirst Project, and UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) to give back to the community.
Students help pick up trash, organize food drives, and help shelters in need. They also plan projects, hold meetings, and elect leadership positions.
Elected officers include a president, a vice president, a secretary, and a treasurer. Officers this year include Mariana Andazola, Hannah Madison, Olivia Madison, and Claire Gartner.
“Key Club is an awareness club that deals a lot with volunteering and community service,” said Andazola, the club’s vice president.
Andazola has been a part of Key Club for 2 years, but said she wanted to join earlier.
“I should’ve joined earlier, but I didn’t because I was too scared. Joining earlier would’ve allowed me to be involved sooner,” she said.
As vice president, she helps schedule events and meetings with the secretary and president. She also takes over in meetings when the president is gone.
The club’s official statement reads: “Key Club is an international, student-led organization that provides its members with opportunities to provide service, build character and develop leadership.”
Key Club is very student-led and directed. It has four core values they honor: leadership, character building, caring, and inclusiveness.
All Key Club members pledge to uphold these values by reciting the following,“I pledge, on my honor, to uphold the Objects of Key Club International; to build my home, school and community; to serve my nation and world; and combat all forces which tend to undermine these institutions.”
There are currently 15 official members in Key Club. There are also a few extra unofficial members that did not pay their initial fee who still want to be a part of the volunteering aspect of the club.
Andazola said that it’s taken a little while to start volunteering because COVID restricted many volunteering opportunities.
“We are starting to schedule some volunteer activities and are working on getting more students involved in the community. Our officers are still trying to learn about their roles,” she said.
Andazola added that they are trying to schedule more activities for the upcoming year.
“Close to Christmas break, I will be calling the Salvation Army and Hope Harbor to see if they have any opportunities for us,” she said.
She said that this Christmas, the club is working with their parent club, Kiwanis, to help ring bells outside of local Walmarts. She has also started working on a produce giveaway that takes place at GISH once every month until June.
Andazola said that Key Club has helped her build relationships with other people and has allowed her to gain confidence.
“Key Club is a good place to get volunteer opportunities and get involved in the community. It also looks good on college applications to show that you have taken a step to be involved,” she said.
She added that their goal as a group is to spread awareness and show that youth are involved in their community and can make a difference when they are not required to.
“A lot of people perceive our youth as not really caring and I think it’s important to show that that’s not true. We can go out and make a difference,” she said. “Joining Key Club is a very rewarding thing,”