Being new at Garibaldi Secondary, Grade 11 student Nick Nichols was searching for a way to fit in to his new environment and get involved.
The idea hit when chatting with his step-grandfather. He suggested Nick start a KEY (Kiwanis Educating Youth) Club at the Maple Ridge high school.
“I was fully intrigued,” said 17-year-old Nick, who immediately began researching details about the junior Kiwanis group.
He was instantly impressed to learn that KEY clubs were operating around the world – teaching leadership, service, and community participation.
His idea was conceived in October, and with the principal’s nod Nick connected with the local Golden Ears Kiwanis Club and went to work organizing an information meeting for November.
Twenty like-minded individuals attended that first meeting, and as of last week – when the fledgling club received its official charter – membership was up to 30 and growing weekly, Nick explained at a charter dinner in the school cafeteria last Thursday night with parents and members of the local Kiwanis club in attendance.
Depending on whether students are needing to complete 150 hours of community service work to graduate under the International Baccalaureate program, or they’re just keen to be involved in the school and the community, Nick said he’s thrilled to see such participation.
The club has already raised $1,000 for breast cancer through a fundraiser in Haney Place Mall in December, and they just finished a drive that generated 700 pounds of clothing and blankets for the Salvation Army’s Caring Place in two and a half weeks.
More projects are in the works, with new ideas coming forward every Friday during their lunch meetings.
For Nick, he said this has been a great experience, and has really allowed him to immerse himself in his new school.
Nick and the KEY Club were presented with their charter certificate, as well as their own gavel and bell by regional lieutenant governor for KEY Clubs Eli Costea at last week’s event.