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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
The third-graders at Laytonsville Elementary may be small in stature, but their collective roar is mighty.
At an assembly on May 25, all 65 third-graders were inducted as charter members of the Laytonsville Lions Cub Club.
Laytonsville Lions Club president Kevin Curran administered the membership oath to the students.
Curran credits Lion Charlie Kearse and Principal Donna Sagona with the idea of starting a community service-oriented club at the school, although he brought it to fruition.
“I retired last year and I just really love kids,” Curran said. “I have five grown children and we’ve been foster parents 15 times, so I thought I’d give this a try.”
While Lions Club International sponsors Cub Clubs, they are typically for children or relatives of club members. Curran said he is unaware of any other Cub Club that is sponsored by a local Lions Club through an elementary school.
Introducing children to community service at a young age benefits everyone, he said.
“The Lions Clubs are facing an aging population,” Curran said. “But to give is to receive — no truer words have been spoken.”
The club got off the ground in January and the students have been busy serving others ever since. They cleaned and sorted more than 600 pairs of eyeglasses that will be shared with families in need.
“These glasses are collected by the Lions Club and instead of sending them off to a processing facility, we cleaned and graded them at the school,” Curran said. “It was a great project.”
For a project sponsored by the Laytonsville Women’s Club, students researched the impact of litter on the planet and created anti-littering posters that are displayed around town
Judges chose the three best posters, which were carried in the recent Town Parade, and the Women’s Club presented a check for $100 to the Cub Club for the students’ efforts.
Dr. Norvell V. Coots, the CEO of Holy Cross Hospital, spoke to the Cub Club about an orphanage in Moldova. The club held a fundraiser at the school’s spring festival and used proceeds to purchase braille books to send to the orphanage.
A representative of the Lions Club Leader Dog program took a dog to the school and taught the students how the dogs are trained and how to behave around a service animal. The Cub Club used funds from a donation it received to present a check for $100 to the Leader Dog program.
The Lions Club donated bright green T-shirts to the Cub Club members. The shirts feature a paw print on the back, designed to symbolize the imprint they are leaving on the world.
Sagona is impressed with how the Cub Club has taken off.
“Cub Club allows students to learn about and experience the importance of community service,” she said. “They learn that in order to serve others, they must first serve themselves. By serving themselves, students understand that it is their first responsibility to make sure that they learn as much as they can so that they can develop their skills and passions. They can then use these unique gifts to serve others.”
Curran credits Sagona for her support, along with third grade teachers Kara O’Brien, Diane Hudson and Regan Turner.
“They made this happen,” he said. “I may be the face of the Lions, but the peripheral support of Laytonsville Elementary School has just been fabulous.”
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