No holiday from service for high school clubs

No holiday from service for high school clubs

No holiday from service for high school clubs
Key Club president Meredith Edmonston took a pie or two for the Clayton Valley Charter High School service club as part of its Gratitude Giving activities held ahead of the Thanksgiving break. (Photo courtesy of Meredith Edmonston)

CONCORD, CA (Dec. 6, 2022) — Much is being given, but it’s an appreciation for the needs of the world around them that underscores the activities of the area’s high school service club members during the holiday season.

“So many people today face harsh living situations, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that they are heard and supported,” said Tommy Nguyen, president of Concord High School’s Key Club. “There is so much to learn by stepping up as student leaders and providing support to those who need it most.”

Meredith Edmonston, Clayton Valley Charter High School’s Key Club president, shared Nguyen’s sentiments. “It is easy to forget all that we have to be thankful for but helping others who are not as privileged as ourselves often acts as an awakening for us,” she said.

Area young people are putting the needs of their community first – from a pre-Thanksgiving collection of donations with Concord Kiwanis Club members at an area Safeway store to helping out with the horse/carriage rides at the Concord tree lighting on Dec. 2, and then spotlighting food insecurity issues through food sorting at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano in the weeks before Christmas.

Supporting ‘The Golden Rule’

The high school Key Club efforts coincide with the Kiwanis’ wider goals of creating a supportive community where children can thrive in a positive environment and making resources more accessible to those in need.

“The objectives of holiday service, giving back and spreading cheer, coincide with Kiwanis values first and foremost by demonstrating ‘The Golden Rule.’ Secondly, we are helping to build better communities, and third, we show importance in humanistic qualities rather than the material values of life by spending time to lend a helping hand to others,” said Edmonston.

The week ahead of Thanksgiving break, Clayton Valley’s Key Club organized Giving Gratitude. Members created cards for teachers, family members and friends, while a pie throwing event raised an estimated $400 for the History Department, chosen at random. Some key clubbers also stayed after school to help beautify the campus by picking up trash and organizing classrooms.

Connecting to a larger community

Service club leaders hope to create a mindset of greater understanding and empathy.

“There is so much to learn by stepping up as student leaders and providing support to those who need it most,” said Nguyen.

Mt. Diablo High Key Club president Maria Stamps echoed those thoughts, suggesting that the joy generated through these events makes students aware that these activities are so much bigger than themselves.

“If there is something they can do for others, reach out and do whatever you can,” Stamps said, pointing to the division-wide Pennies for Pediatrics that raised $300 for area pediatric hospital trauma programs, food and coat drives, or helping at soup kitchens.

“Whether we give thanks or gifts during this holiday season, it is just as important to give back to the community that we live in. Supporting each other will open so many new doors and opportunities to those around us,” said Nguyen.