2018-01-01 / Spotlight News

Kids help others and build their own skills in Rotary program

By Ann Marina

RotaKids Club at Bonita Springs Charter School prepared and packaged turkey craft kits for children at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. RotaKids Club at Bonita Springs Charter School prepared and packaged turkey craft kits for children at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. In the Rotakids Club at Bonita Springs Charter School, students in grades three through five learn about local resources as they carry out projects to benefit the community. The club is part of the school’s “Leader in Me” pro­gram, and is sponsored by Bonita Springs Rotary Club Noon.

“Through the Leader in Me program, students have opportunities to develop their full potential, beyond just improving test scores,” said Danielle Forrey, assistant principal at Bonita Springs Charter School. “It’s good experi­ence, deciding which projects to do, and carrying them out together.”

In November, the Rotakids assembled 24 tur­key craft kits for pediatric patients at Golisano Children’s Hospital. Each kit contained a brown paper bag, crayons, a glue stick and cut-outs for making a turkey puppet.

“It felt good, knowing these were for children who may be spending Thanksgiving in the hospital,” said Hailie McClain, a fifth grader and president of the Rotakids Club.

There are 14 members in the club, and Hailie is building her communication skills by frequently speaking to the group, which is mostly student-run. “It’s a big responsibility and an honor for me to serve this way,” she said.

Content from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen R. Covey, is a key component of The Leader in Me process, which emphasizes goal-setting, integrity and teamwork.

Last spring, the Rotakids created labels for shelves at the local food pantry, a facility of the Bonita Springs Assistance Office.

The labels contain both Spanish and English words, and bilingual club members helped streamline the process. “It was a chance for many of us to learn and practice words in Spanish,” Hailie said.

Near the end of the school year the Rotakids took a field trip to the pantry and saw the results of their efforts. “We learned how the pantry operates, how donations are received, and how canned goods are rotated by expiration dates,” Hailie said.

The club recently gave a “Josh the Otter” presentation for kindergarten students. “It’s a lesson in water safety told from the perspective of the otter,” Forrey said.

One of the Rotakids wore an otter costume and explained how he learned to flip onto his back and float. Students received a booklet to take home.

In other recent projects, the Rotakids made dog biscuits for the humane society and wrote letters to U.S. troops stationed overseas.

Vivian Malicki, a member of the Rotary Club of Bonita Springs Noon, and fellow Rotarians Carolyn Pitt and Bob McClain help coordinate the various club projects.

“Rotakids use their creativity in coming up with activities and setting priorities,” Malicki said. “They bounce ideas off each other and work well together as a team.”

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