By Lucas Zhang
“Children: Their Future, Our Focus.”
Key Club International is a high school organization spanning over 20 countries and sponsored by Kiwanis International. Kiwanis has a mission to serve the children of the world, and Key Club was created to help them achieve this task. In these clubs, high school students perform service for their school and community, such as organizing food drives, collecting clothing, cleaning up parks, and raising money for charities. Key Clubbers gain valuable leadership skills by planning local community projects as well as planning and attending meetings within the club. Members can also hold executive positions in their division, district, or international councils to further coordinate service projects. Key Club International unifies the efforts of high school students to focus efforts on their Major Emphasis: “Children: Their Future, Our Focus.”
Lisgar Collegiate Institute’s Key Club is just one of seven sponsored Key Clubs in Ottawa. These high school clubs synchronize under the banner of service that deals with youth, arguably the most important component of any neighborhood. Key Club International teams up with its three partner organizations, March of Dimes, Children’s Miracle Network and UNICEF, for the fundraising element of the Major Emphasis annually. Every Key Club participates with these partners as they join together to make a difference in the lives of children.
The Key Club service initiative is a practical constituent of the Major Emphasis. All of the hands-on service provided to children by Key Club International members is directed to a single area of need in the international community to make a substantial impact. This year’s service initiative, The Eliminate Project, allows Key Clubbers to join forces with Kiwanis International and UNICEF to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.
Neonatal tetanus kills one baby every nine minutes—nearly 60,000 newborn children every year. A significant number of women also die due to maternal tetanus. The effects of the disease are excruciating—tiny newborns suffer repeated, painful convulsions and extreme sensitivity to light and touch.
At Lisgar, we have hosted many fundraisers to support the Eliminate Project. At both our Spaghetti dinner and Fiesta night, both executed in partnership with Reach for the Top, we have managed to raise thousands of dollars for Kiwanis International. We also were lucky to hold silent auctions in both of our night events with generous donations from local businesses. Furthermore, Lisgar’s Key Club is dedicated to raising leaders within the high school for the local community.
This year, the Lisgar Key Club been involved in numerous charitable acts in our region. During first semester, Key Club was able to send members to Key Leader: a leadership camp in Arden, Ontario where students got to learn about service leadership (as well as enjoy some great food!) Along with members of Kiwanis, we got to meet with Key Clubbers from all over the Ottawa region and beyond through team-building games as well as workshops. We also more recently planned a service project for the Ottawa Mission and held a clothing drive for the city’s homeless. The Key Club organization is an amazing way to get volunteer hours with friends as well as being part of the Kiwanis family.
Overall, Lisgar’s Key Club is a great way to get involved in the community and develop important leadership skills. It is an exciting place to volunteer with friends and to take part in a greater movement to improve the Ottawa Region. I hope that you would also like to become a friend in service and help build your neighbourhood.