Emma Hornak ’18 began Key Club at Harley five years ago, and the club chartered with Key Club International last year. In partnership with the local Kiwanis Club (parent organization), they provide members with opportunities to learn how to lead and stand for what’s right through service and volunteerism.
Key Club members perform acts of service in their communities and also learn leadership skills by running meetings, planning projects, and holding elected leadership positions at the club, district, and international levels. Our Key Club efforts include blood drives, the annual giving tree during the December holidays, and—new this year—a donation drive for a local women’s shelter. They also held Harley’s first food truck rodeo, raising over $900 for Hurricane Dorian relief.
President Charlotte Allen ’21 and vice president Maggie Syrett ’21 spoke with Becoming Magazine via Google Meet:
Q: You attended a Key Club leadership training conference this year, what was it like?
A: It was inspiring to see so many other teens, seeing what they were accomplishing, and learning more about how Key Club can help support what you want to do locally. All of their stories really showed how much we can accomplish together! They held workshops tailored to positions within Key Club (President, VP, Secretary, and Treasurer) which provided skills training to learn how to lead, how to network, who to contact, and what responsibilities each position entails. Being an officer gives you an opportunity to lead the service projects;this conference helps you learn the skills.
Q: Harley’s Key Club recently gained some nice recognition; can you tell us about that?
A: Betsy Vinton and Anamaria Cole, our faculty advisors, along with the Harley Key Club, and president Charlotte Allen, were recognized for their extraordinary community service work during 2019-20, taking top honors in three categories for all of New York State:
Novice Club Award (this award is for new clubs that have served their schools and communities in exceptional ways)
Kiwanis Family Relations Award (for clubs demonstrating profound work with other branches of the K family, such as Kiwanis (for adults), and the Aktion Club (for adults with disabilities), with whom we collaborated on many projects, such as Happy Birthday Cha Cha Cha which provides gifts to underprivileged, inner-city youth).
Perfect Paperwork Award This is a very big deal for a new club. It recognizes just how much we were able to do in one year; imagine what we can accomplish moving forward! Since we are a smaller club, it was nice to realize that we can do as much as the bigger clubs!
Q: How can students join Key Club?
A: During October, the entire Upper School participates in “club rush.” Anyone can sign up for Key Club at this time. Once the club is started for the year, people can still join in and help. We are a diverse group with a passion for community service, and we work hard to be a good community for people to be in, whether they are freshmen, new students, or other upperclassmen.
Meals on Wheels
For over a decade our Primary classrooms have been sending Valentine’s love to residents of Monroe County.
All of the children in K and Grade 1 put their creativity to good use as they make cards, napkin rings, “boingy” heart Valentines, and bookmarks for delivery to recipients of Meals on Wheels.
“The students don’t sign their names, instead they concentrate on giving a symbol of kindness and love to cheer up the recipients,” reports Primary teacher Laura Joslyn, the originator of the project. “The kids really connect with this because it is hands-on and they love using the different materials to let their artistic side out.”
Every year the goal is to produce 600 cards, but this is often far surpassed—over 1,000 were created this year!
The themes of friendship and kindness (part of our responsive classroom curriculum in Lower School) help to extend our students’ understanding of the greater community. “At these ages, so much of their world is themselves, their families, and their classroom community. This is one of the first projects for people we don’t know,” said Joslyn.
By learning who they can help and what a difference they can make, the seeds are planted for larger community awareness.