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Giving back new competition at Keyes Charter

POSTED September 11, 2009 10:06 p.m.

Serving dinner to the homeless on Friday nights, helping stabilize blood donors with juice and crackers, putting books on shelves and sending Valentine’s Day cards to soldiers over seas. These are some of the activities students at Keyes Charter School will volunteer to do.  
Keyes Charter School has created a friendly competition between each class from grade seven to 12 to donate hours for communities around the area. They are hoping to accomplish more than 800 volunteer hours.  
Volunteering was required in the past for eighth grade students, but this is the first year the whole school is competing between classes to get the most volunteer hours, said Vicki Harmon, adviser for Keyes Charter School.  
“We started this competition because the students react to a little competition and it is a fun way to volunteer,” Harmon said. “They are playing a game of competition and giving back to the community.”  
Classes are working with the Modesto Gospel Mission, Habitat for Humanity, American House, Delta Blood Bank and Keyes Charter School. One class chose to volunteer helping local veterans and the Armed Forces.  
Each class got the first couple of weeks to pick their organization and now they can start volunteering after their orientations, Harmon said. The students are also encouraged to bring friends or family members to volunteer and their hours are also counted toward the competition.    
The students’ deadline to get all their volunteer hours in is the end of the school year, Harmon said. They will announce the winners in May and the winning team will receive a pizza party, a plaque and an announcement at the school board meeting.  
“Overall, they all win because they are all donating and giving back to the community,” she said.
The school is asking for about 10 hours during the school year from each student. That will give the school at least 800 volunteer hours put together. Harmon is hoping this will instill a new lifestyle into her students.  
“These kids all have time for community service, they watch at least 10 hours of television a week so they can put in some volunteer hours,” Harmon said.  
“They are not only helping strangers but they are changing themselves into a richer person.”
To contact Maegan Martens e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.

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