The key to community service


By Heather Whitty | Managing Editor of Copy

A recently restarted Key Club at Marshfield is devoted to helping people in both the school and community. Through fundraising and community service projects, members work to make the city of Coos Bay a better place.

Key Club Vice President and senior Brittney Loper said the club participates in many projects throughout the year, including running a Halloween costume contest at the Pony Village Mall, babysitting for school board members during meetings and setting up smoothie booths at events, such as the Blackberry Festival, to raise funds for various activities.

“Key Club tries to do a service project and a fundraiser every month,” Loper said.

The Key Club is sponsored by the local Kiwanis Club, which works to raise money for children in need throughout the community.

Kiwanis member Megan Claren mentors the Key Club and aids them in their endeavors. The money provided for the Key Club by Kiwanis goes toward setting up fundraisers and events they devise.

“Kiwanis is a sponsor of Key Club, so basically we have a budget that we allow them to use for their fundraisers and projects,” Claren said.

Although Marshfield has a rich history with Key Club, the club had dissipated by the time senior Simon Alonzo arrived from Coquille two years ago. Alonzo took it upon himself to revive a club he had previously been involved in and thought was important for the school.

“When I moved from Coquille, there was no Key Club here. I guess there was a Key Club in the past and I restarted it when I came here,” Alonzo said. “There wasn’t one the first year I came here and I started one the second year.”

Alonzo went to MHS staff member Neil Winberg and asked him to be the Key Club faculty advisor, which was a requirement for starting the club. After getting the club started, Alonzo needed to make students aware of the club and maximize involvement.

“When I first started the club, I went to some people I knew and I just said, ‘Okay I really want to do this, will you guys help?’” Alonzo said.

In its first year of activity, the Key Club had between 10 and 15 members. However, this year student involvement has gone up almost five times, with about 50 students in regular attendance at their weekly Monday lunch meetings.

Loper believes Alonzo’s determination and perseverance has led to the success of the club and its boost in membership.

“Simon is really good at talking to people at registration and getting our ideas out there,” Loper said. “Simon does everything. He’s amazing.”

While Key Club is important to the community members who benefit from it because of a need for the funds and donated items, it is also beneficial for the students involved. Winberg feels participation in the club can boost leadership skills and improve a student’s chance of getting into college and earning scholarships.

“One very important thing [students get out of Key Club] is a chance to participate in leadership and organization skills,” Winberg said. “Kids should find ways to get into leadership positions and have to take responsibility and see how that works. It’s only going to serve them well.”

Winberg said getting involved in activities that help others could also make a student’s high school experience more gratifying.

“A lot of times a high school student will just come to school, maybe they’re in with a sport or in the band or whatever, but everything is just kind of a routine that’s set out for them and they just kind of follow instructions and go through their day following instructions,” Winberg said. “This is more like taking responsibility to make something go and make something happen.”

As well as raising money for various events, Loper said the members of Key Club enjoy being active in helping the community through their community service based activities.

Alonzo feels similarly about fundraising versus community service.

“We’re more about not only raising money, but we want to help more in the community,” Alonzo said. “I mean, yeah, we need money sometimes to plan those events, but our focus really is helping at different things that are going on and helping give back.”