FALLBROOK – Students of Potter Junior High School participated in a variety of community service events throughout the holiday season.
First, the students sponsored a canned food drive to benefit the Fallbrook Food Pantry and La Gloria Orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico. The food drive was organized by the school’s Builder’s Club, a Kiwanis International Middle School program designed to teach students leadership skills through the vehicle of service.
Club members enthusiastically promoted the school-wide event, in which students participated in competitions to see which class and grade level could bring in the most food items, collecting over 2,800 food items total. Builders Club members enjoyed the experience of working together to reach a common goal, learning valuable team-building, decision-making, and leadership skills along the way.
“The Builders Club is like a huge family where we help each other and the community,” said member Joanna Rodas.
A representative at La Gloria Orphanage who received the items expressed deep gratitude, stating that the orphanage receives no government assistance for its programs.
“We are so grateful for this support,” he explained. “We serve over 50 children at our facility – the food and other items donated such as soap, clothes and blankets mean so much to us and will provide comfort and sustenance for months to come.”
Builder’s Club members also visited the Fallbrook Skilled Nursing Facility to sing Christmas carols and deliver ornaments along with other holiday gifts to the residents.
That same week, students volunteered at the preschool Christmas party at the Mike Choate Center, hosted by the Kiwanis Club, where they assisted younger children with art projects, pictures with Santa, and other holiday-themed activities.
Builders Club faculty advisor Ann Brennan expressed her pride in the leadership skills her students are developing through their work together.
“It is wonderful to see so many students dedicating their time and skills in service to others,” said Brennan. “Many adolescent students struggle with self-esteem and finding positive peer role models, and Builder’s Club provides opportunities to develop healthy relationships with peers along with confidence and leadership skills. Through serving others, students begin to see that they have value and purpose in society and in the world.”