Key Club service project creates dog toys for shelters

Juniors Olivia Zolecki and Emily Anleu work with sophomore Gabriel Avitia work on dog toys to be donated to the Naperville Area Humane Society. “I think it’s very nice to have us to come all together and just make these toys,” Avitia said. Photo by Savina Trujillo.

On January 26th, East’s Key Club hosted a meeting to complete the  2021-2022 school year sophomore-led service project, to reuse and recycle old t-shirts as toys for dogs in shelters.

Sophomore group leaders along with board members of the club came together to decide on the class project for this school year.  

The idea of starting a service project hit close to home for sophomore leader Jensen Coonradt, who aimed to bring her involvement with the Naperville Area Humane Society to East as a sophomore class representative for Key Club. 

“I figured I could combine working with the Naperville Area Humane Society with this volunteer and organization to help the animals present in shelters that could really use the help,” Coonradt said.

The meeting, organized by Coonradt, was centered around making toys that will better the lives of the animals until they find their forever home, a mission that was important to many of the members who contributed to the project.

To sophomore Gabriel Avitia, working to donate to dogs in shelters had a deep family connection. 

“When I was really little, my family had a dog that was a  foster dog, he would always be there,” Avitia said. “Sadly, the dog passed away but we still keep one of his toys so I know how important it is to make these for dogs in shelters.”

Coming to a project decision that was important to members comes from the liberties that are given through the club. 

Key Club sponsor Patrick Sweeney gives students involved in the club most of the liberty when choosing a service project for the upcoming year.

“The process of picking a service project entails a club member seeking out opportunities in the community, whether it’s with an organization, or whether it is with a foundation,” Sweeney said.  “Anything that hits close to home.”

Senior Key Club President Zoe Griffins said that her family could also personally relate to the cause.

“I have two dogs at home so I love dogs,” Griffins said. “I think it’s important to give the ones without a home some toys.” 

According to sophomore Katie Ries, this service project was a fun gathering for a good cause.

“I think this is a fun opportunity and I really want to help the animals,” Ries said. “Since we’ve been in a pandemic, it’s really cool to see people come together and do something good for the community.”

Griffins added that the meeting was enjoyable and effective, especially since it was one of the club’s first in-person service projects after a year of virtual meetings. 

“It’s exciting because last year everything was virtual. So we didn’t really get to see (members) do the projects but everyone seems really into this one, so it’s fun,” Griffins said.

The Key Club’s mission to help the community was successfully met with the sophomore class project bringing the return of in-person service projects. 

“The core of Key Club is helping others and not getting anything in return, not even recognition,” Sweeney said. “To see our members want to literally help people, this time animals, but not have a pat on the back for it is really humbling because the more people we can help, the better we make our school community and local community.”

Savina Trujillo is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl

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