For the last few years, students in Ferrucci Junior High’s Builders Club have participated in the organization’s annual scrapbook contest.
Builders Club is a student-led community service organization that operates under school regulations and draws its members from the student body.
Puyallup Kiwanis serves as the club’s sponsor. Builders Club is structured on the local club level but is supported by the Kiwanis International Office in Indianapolis, Indiana, which provides guidelines, programs, and opportunities to relate to teenagers from countries worldwide.
The Ferrucci club has placed in the scrapbook contest a number of those years, but this year it walked away with first place.
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The Builders Club is comprised of seventh- to ninth-grade students, said Ferrucci teacher Baron Coleman.
The club currently has more than 169 active members, he said.
Students do a lot of work on school activities and events and a number of community events through United Way and Kiwanis.
“Our biggest event is our annual food drive. Almost every month we do something,” Coleman said.
During the holidays, the club identifies families within the school who are low income and then work hand in hand with Kiwanis clubs to raise money to purchase gifts for the families and distribute food baskets.
Gina Greaves, a Digitools teacher at Ferrucci, said Kiwanis has various competitions with their Builders Clubs, and the scrapbook contest is just one of them. The scrapbook is a combination of photos of events the club has participated in from September through the end of the year.
“Kiwanis has certain requirements — it is not just a photo album,” Greaves said. “The scrapbook consists of many things, newspaper articles and original artwork from students. There is a list of strict requirements, and you have to show service.”
Approximately eight students signed on to work on the scrapbook.
“We are doing events throughout the year: a clothing drive, an outdoor event in late September, a trip to Mother Earth Farms. I take photos of (club members) working,” Greaves said.
Students sign up for an event they are interested in being responsible for and Greaves works as the coordinator, making sure all requirements are being met, but the students do all the scrapbooking.
Bryanne McCoy and Erin Holden were two of the students who worked on the scrapbook.
“I’ve been in the community service club for three years,” said McCoy, who earned her varsity letter in May for serving more than 145 hours of community service for the year.
McCoy said it was difficult at times to balance her homework and volunteer work but she was glad she was able to make it work.
“It was an amazing experience and we were really excited to win,” she said.
Last year was Holden’s first year in the community service club.
“We met every Wednesday and the scrapbook showed all the hard work we put in,” she said. “It was overwhelming to win. We did our best and it really showed and paid off.”
Greaves said it was an honor to win the contest.
“We’ve been building up to that,” she said. “We’ve always taken first place in our district of five western states, including Alaska, but three years ago we came in third place internationally, then second place and then this year, first place.”
The winning scrapbook was displayed June 23 to 26 at the 2016 Kiwanis International Convention in Toronto.
Greaves enjoys working with the students.
“I like interacting with the students on a different level, getting to know them personally and build connections with them,” she said. “When the students get involved in community service projects, it really opens their eyes.”
The reward for me is usually through the students. Quite a few toward the end of the school year wrote me letters thanking me for getting them interested in community service. One student said that community service had changed his life.”
This is a monthly column from the Service Clubs of Puyallup highlighting Puyallup-area service clubs and their contributions to the community.