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home : news : news Tuesday, May 24, 2016

11/16/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Students create philanthropic clubs at Central, Northeast

By Kate Howes
Staff writer

Area high school students are taking notice of the range of opportunities there are available to them to make a difference in their own communities and beyond.

For example, students at Central Community High School and Northeast High School recently established clubs that welcome their fellow students to learn about the issues plaguing their schools, cities and even the world, and what part they can play in making the world - and their little corner of it - a better place.

Central juniors Karlee Eberhart and Justine Kagemann co-founded a chapter of club hOpe, similar to the community and government student organization at Maquoketa High School.

The overall goal is to show students they can make a difference on a local, regional, national and even international level.

Members of Maquoketa's club came to speak to Central's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter and Eberhart and Kagemann became inspired.

"(At Central), we have other clubs, but we wanted to create one that is more hands-on," Eberhart relates. "We want students be able to have direct contact with the people they'll be helping."

The pair also intends to raise awareness about global issues and brainstorm ideas as to what they can do to address these issues at a local level.

One of their biggest passions is something many of us take for granted - clean water.

"We want students to know how many people there are who have to live without clean water," Eberhart says. "We also want to discuss poverty and providing a good education for children."

Hunger is another crisis they plan to focus on and Eberhart says to enable her fellow students to get an up-close-and-personal experience, club members are going to serve meals at various soup kitchens in Davenport.

club hOpe's first official fund-raiser, "A Night of Giving," has been scheduled for Monday, Nov. 25, 5-8 p.m. in the high school atrium.

Visitors will have the chance to donate to Toys for Tots, Soles4Souls and Free the Children, an international charity that works to empower youth to remove any barriers that keep them from being active, local and global citizens.

Central foreign exchange student Nathan Swartz is going to take some of the donations of shoes, toys and clothing back with him to South Africa to give to needy children and families.

In 2015, both Central's and Maquoketa's clubs will travel to Ecuador where they jointly will sponsor a village.

Other plans include going to inner city Chicago to assist philanthropic organizations there.

"We just hope the community and other students will become as passionate as we are about these issues and will see what we can accomplish," Eberhart shares. "I'm inspired to learn more and be more hands-on. I've learned a lot about the different things going on in the world. Everyone has a way they can make a change, especially if it's something they're passionate about."

Northeast students urged to "Interact"

Northeast junior Emily Bray has founded the Interact Club, a community service-based group through the Rotary Club for which she got the idea while attending a leadership conference at Wartburg College.

"We learned about team-building and being better leaders, and the counselors there talked about interacting and giving back to our communities and being there for one another," Bray recalls.

Once she returned home, Bray took matters into her own hands and created the club and since then 10 other students have joined her and come up with a number of ideas as to how they can help members of the military all the way down to young people in the Northeast School District.

"We want to send care packages to troops," Bray says. "We also want high school students to become 'buddies' with some of the younger students and hang out with them for the day. We also are planning to have 'purple outs' at basketball games and wrestling meets to help raise funds for cancer and the March of Dimes."

The Interact Club also will hold a benefit for Northeast High School student Andrew Gambleton, who has been hospitalized for several weeks due to a car accident.

"I think this will be a really great thing," Bray relates. "The students we have involved now seem to be very excited and passionate about it. I think our school needs this. Once we really get started and people see what we're doing, we'll have a much better outcome than we ever imagined."

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