Volunteering fun at Coronado

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Spreading kindness// A brightly decorated bulletin board near the 200’s hallway gives details about Cougars 4 Change, including upcoming meetings and the club Instagram. Some upcoming club events are Holding Doors Day on October 27, and members giving out candy on Halloween. (Photo by Madeline Vernaci)

by Madeline Vernaci

When wondering what kind of volunteering opportunities are available, there are many groups that immediately come to mind: Key Club, National Honor Society, and even Coronado’s own Cougars 4 Change. Each club has a large number of students involved and they continue to grow each year, impacting more and more students. 

The vice president of Key Club, Anna Bookman is just one example of a student who has been affected by her time volunteering. As the vice president, she hopes to be able to make an even larger impact on her community this year, with bigger events and more opportunities.

“Volunteering in my community has helped me to feel more connected to Henderson,” junior Anna Bookman said. “In such a large town, it’s hard to feel like you’re helping, but going around to different schools, doing food drives, and volunteering for our own school, like in our garden has helped me feel connected.” 

Key Club, the international service organization, is well known amongst students, especially for its prioritization of completing a certain amount of service hours before the end of the year. There is a lot of overlap between volunteer clubs, as their members are often in multiple service-based clubs. Many students join National Honor Society after being in Key Club for a year or two since NHS only accepts membership of Coronado juniors and seniors. 

“I joined NHS because I wanted to elevate my involvement in the community,” senior and National Honor Society historian Emma Tsujimoto said. “I have previously done volunteering through Coronado’s Key Club and personal participation, but NHS grasped my attention due to its more prestigious and serious background. Through this club, I hoped to have first-hand opportunities to promote a better community. In addition, I wanted to participate in this group since it would provide me with the general life skills I need to work with others in the future, such as leadership, communication, and teamwork.”

National Honor Society is also a well-known organization, where students do their best to participate in community service in their free time for a specific amount of time each quarter. For juniors, the amount of hours needed is 14 per quarter, and for returning seniors the amount is lowered to 10. Unlike Key Club, where hours are cumulative, NHS has a strict quarterly deadline that is enforced. While it is a reputable club that many students initially join because it looks good on a transcript, there is an emotional benefit to volunteering in the community as well. Tsujimoto truly enjoys the time she volunteers, like many others in the club.

“I like being in NHS because it is an organized group that easily elevates your mood,” Tsujimoto said. “Serving the community through donations, item drives, and volunteer events has always been a rewarding and elating experience for me since it makes me happy that I was able to help someone else. Also, I enjoy the close connection that all members have as if we are all like a big family. Our close-knit community makes events more fun and fulfilling.”

Another service-based club, Cougars 4 Change was started more recently by Mrs. Johnson and her students. Cougars 4 Change primarily focuses its attention on Coronado students and faculty, making the school day a better experience for many of its inhabitants.

“I started the club with my students five or six years ago,” Mrs. Johnson said. “It was at lunch that I saw so many kids sitting alone. I was listening to how kids talk to each other, and I just got tired of kids being unkind. Then I posed the question to my classes, about what we could do. My students came up with the idea with me, that we could start a club, just all of us together and we could sit with kids who were sitting alone. That’s how it kind of started.”

Even now, Cougars 4 Change continues to make a difference in the school community by doing things like custodian appreciation or putting together kits for homeless communities. Each community service club, from the international Key Club, to National Honor Society, and our very own Cougars 4 Change, strives to make a change and create a better, kinder community.