Learning to serve

Key Club members sorting through coats donated to their “One Warm Coat” drive are, from left, freshmen Corey Clark, Sarah Kelly and Rav Singh; sophomore Alexa Valenta. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

Students at Avonworth High School have formed one of the newest chapters of America's oldest and largest service program for high school students, Key Club International. The student-led organization works toward the goal of teaching leadership through serving others.

Learning of the club through a close friend who attends North Allegheny High School, where the club has been offered as an extracurricular activity, sophomore Alexa Valenta led the effort to establish an Avonworth chapter that will be chartered by Allegheny North Kiwanis.

Club members already are involved with some major projects, including a clothing drive titled "One Warm Coat," as well as a drive to collect personal items for members of the military, "…with many more to come," Alexa said. "Key Club allows students to volunteer and to give back to the community."

Alexa's interest in bringing the organization to Avonworth started in her freshman year when she realized "…I had the opportunity to start a Key Club as my senior project. I brought it to the attention of others in my sophomore year. Students in all grades at the high school are welcome to join, and we had a sign-up of 103 members."

The club launched the "One Warm Coat" drive about a month ago and will collect coats through Nov. 13. "The coats will be taken to Door of Hope Community Church, Downtown," said Breanna Maisner, who shares faculty sponsorship with Melissa Reagle.

"Community members are invited to become involved, as well," Maisner said. "There will be many opportunities for residents to volunteer or donate."

Sophomore Christine Wintermantel said that her personal reward in being a member of Key Club is "…being able to meet other people and helping where needed. In the end, I can look back and say that I helped out."

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