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American Fork students vying for spot in Service Club

By Barbara Christiansen - Daily Herald - | Mar 25, 2012

Service is a way of life for many students at Shelley Elementary School.

The Service Club is four years old and getting bigger. This year there are 80 participants, all from the fifth and sixth grades.

Students apply to be in the club. Adviser Kristin Kukahiko decides who to accept.

“It is hard to pick,” she said. “If a kid wants to serve and is available before or after school, I kind of let most of them in. It is amazing how many people love it and are willing to help.”

“Whenever I do it, I always think about helping others to succeed,” member Maya Olsen said. “My favorite thing is helping the teachers. We should try to help others. You get lots of rewards.”

Spencer Nixon, a fifth-grade member, writes about the club on the school’s website, www.shelley.alpineschools.org.

“It is fun being in it,” he said. “I like helping people. On Fridays we go to a theater and volunteer there. It’s at the SCERA in Orem. Some Saturdays they show screenings of movies. It is fun because we get to see the plays. I want to keep on serving all my life.”

Not everything is as fun as taking tickets and then seeing a play or movie. During the summer they help teachers get ready before school starts.

“They help put up bulletin boards, staple papers — anything the teachers need help to get ready for school,” Kukahiko said. “They also help during the summer at back-to-school night. They welcome parents and show them where the classrooms are.”

“During the school year they do so much,” she said. “They are teachers’ assistants, also tutors. They come before or after school. We are on a track system — half the students come at 8, half come at 9:15. The club members stay that extra hour and 15 minutes. They help teachers do a variety of things. They read to students, help the teacher grade spelling tests. They file things for the teachers. It is helpful for the teachers.”

They also help with peer mediation during recess and help the parent playground supervisors solve problems.

“If kids get in a scuffle, they ask who took the ball,” Kukahiko said. “They have a chat and ask ‘how do you think you can solve the problem?’ “

For various days of the week they have other assignments.

“On Mondays they help with the morning announcements,” she said. “They get on the intercom and actually give them. We hold tryouts for that.”

And during the seasons of the year they take on other projects. In November they did a food drive.

“The kids made posters and came early in the morning to help collect cans,” Kukahiko said.

In the fall they did a combined service “Super Saturday” with Freedom Elementary School.

“We made ABC books that we donated to the Native American reservation school,” she said. “They also did team building with the theme ‘I can make a difference by …’ They each thought of a different way they could make a difference and put their names on a banner. There were about 250 kids there that day.”

During December, the members each made a dozen desserts of their choice, then brought them to the school and put a variety of items on plates.

“They thought of different people in their neighborhood — widows, somebody in the military — then they took those things to them,” Kukahiko said.

Recently they did a drive for Serving With Smiles, collecting toothbrushes, toothpaste and combs to send throughout the world. That cause is close to home, with the two founders of Serving With Smiles having students at Shelley.

Kukahiko said she enjoys serving with the servers.

“I just think it is really neat,” she said. “I love the club. Everybody can participate. I had never heard of anything like that before I was asked to help with the Service Club. It is just so cute. There is a lot of excitement.”

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