La Cueva High School’s Key Club provides more than just an after-school activity. Members are always giving back to the community.
Just this year, they volunteered at Hot Rods for Hunger, served snow cones at the BMX National Event, helped with Camp Adventure Summer Camps for the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation, volunteered to help Locker 505 move into its new building, scanned tickets at the Balloon Fiesta, volunteered at Walk to End Alzheimer’s, parked cars at the Doggie Dash & Dawdle event, collected donations for the Salvation Army and most recently helped collect supplies for the Barrett House Foundation during the school’s 12 Days of Giving, among other community outreach projects and activities.
Later this week, they plan to take unclaimed coats and jackets from local middle schools to Locker 505 to give those in need. The club meets at Cherry Hills Library on Mondays and posts their agenda on the Key Club website.
The Neighborhood Journal asked Key Club Co-President and La Cueva senior Erica Ho more about the club. Here is what she had to say:
What is the Key Club all about? What is its mission?
Key Club is the high school branch of Kiwanis International, a service organization that was founded in 1915. To date, there are over 250,000 student members in Key Club across 40 different countries. We emphasize community engagement and leadership skills through active service projects in which we direct and participate.
Why did you join the Key Club?
(From my perspective:) I joined Key Club in my freshman year of high school. At La Cueva, Key Club is the largest afterschool club with a current roster of 146 students so it is well-known and highly regarded. As a freshman, I was desperate to get involved both within my school and throughout my community. Key Club, which provided countless opportunities to do so, was the perfect match.
What do you enjoy most about being a member of the club?
I have been a member of the Key Club for four years now. Being in this club has proved that being an engaged community servant can be one of the most rewarding activities. Additionally, I feel that while we all desire to volunteer from time to time, the largest deterrent can be not knowing where exactly our services are needed/wanted. By being a member of Key Club, you can take advantage of a program of volunteering opportunities that are arranged for you. This eliminates the burden of finding volunteering opportunities yourself and enables volunteering to be as simple as showing up and doing the work.
As a leader of Key Club, my primary job is to find and arrange volunteering opportunities for our members. By doing so I have learned so much about how to work with and communicate with organizers throughout the city. Additionally, I have learned critical skills about communicating with a large group of students and encouraging participation and engagement. I’m so thankful for all of these lessons and the wonderful people I have met along the way.
What has been your favorite project/volunteer experience with the club?
In addition to volunteering projects, Key Club also fundraises to earn money that can be redistributed to community events or student scholarships. Our largest annual fundraiser is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Kiwanis is in charge of ticket scanning and selling. Key Club members can volunteer to scan and sell tickets at the gates of the Balloon Fiesta for morning ascensions and evening glows. These memorable shifts, which often start at 2:00 in the morning and are accompanied by freezing hands, endless hot cocoa, and an unbeatable view of the 2nd largest balloon fiesta in the world, are the root of some of my lasting friendships and core high school memories. This year, La Cueva Key Club provided 89 volunteers who showed up to support our community!
Why should students join the Key Club at La Cueva? Why should students join or start a Key Club at other schools?
Key Club is versatile. We’re a community service organization and we provide opportunities for students to volunteer. Key Club is the perfect opportunity to serve and learn about our community, meet new people, learn leadership skills, or even hold leadership positions, and begin a lifelong habit of service and selflessness.
What else do you want people to know about the club?
Joining your high school’s Key Club or starting your own is easy and has been the most rewarding part of my high school experience (coming from a high school senior). If I could do it all over again, I’d do Key Club all over again too.