ARCADIA - Members of the Hamilton Heights High School's Key Club celebrated community service with members from across the nation during Key Club Week, held every first full week in November.
This year also marks the 10th year that the Heights' Key Club has been making a difference in the community.
The Heights club was formed in 2007 and has 95 members.
Key Club is an international, student-led organization that offers its members opportunities to provide service, build character and develop leadership. It is the largest high school service organization in the world with hundreds of chapters in 38 countries.
An important part of Key Club Week is creating awareness about the club, utilizing this opportunity to highlight projects, promote the club, and show the community what Key Club is all about - service.
"As members, students have the opportunity to give back to the school and community in many ways," said Felicia Tindal, club sponsor. "How can you do wrong when you are completing tasks for the benefit of others and not realizing how it is helping you grow in the process? Club members are learning amazing life skills while making a difference."
Tindal recommends students get involved early to help build connections, philanthropy, and servant leadership throughout their high school years. She said twelve are four-year members who have, to date, completed 121 service events.
"We have multiple service events that take place throughout the year," Tindal said. "I encourage members to be involved in everything they find interest in and can fit in their schedule - even if it's only a 30-minute event, it's still benefiting others. No act of kindness is too small."
Some of the annual projects Key Club members participate on their own or in collaboration with other school clubs and community groups include road blocks with Cicero Kiwanis Club and helping with the club's annual Veteran's Day Breakfast; assisting at Headless Horseman for Conner Prairie and the Carmel Farmer's Market; donating candy for the Trunk or Treat and/or participating in the Trunk or Treat event; Cicero Christmas Parade; King's Treasure program; helping fill backpacks for the Beck's Backpack Buddies initiative; and creating Valentine Day cards with the K-Kids and delivering those valentines to a local nursing home among others.
"We are always looking for new service projects to fill voids and contribute in time, talent, and treasure where this is a need," Tindal said.
The president of Heights Key Club, senior Riley Tindal, said the club offers students a great way to get involved in with the community and school.
"You get the opportunity to do things you probably wouldn't have done otherwise and meet new people," Riley Tindal said.
Tindal said she joined the club because she loves giving back to her community and helping people.
"Through Key Club I have learned that there are ways that I can get involved and help in my community as a teenager. Although, the Hamilton Heights community may seem small, there is always something that needs done and someone that you can help.
"My favorite project is Kings Treasure," she said. "I love seeing all the families come in with their children having a good time. There is a definite Christmas spirit during this event and feeling of community."
Freshman Sierra Keel joined the club because it seemed like a great opportunity to make friends and get more connected in her community. She has enjoyed the many opportunities to contribute and make new friends.
"One of the reasons I joined Key Club was because I enjoy helping people and finding any way to do my part to make our community better," said junior Aubrey Bentley, who noted her favorite project is making and delivering Valentine's Day cards to nursing home residents. "I would encourage other classmates to join Key Club because it is offers an awesome opportunity to better our school and community. I have definitely grown as a person by getting myself more involved through this club."