Service brings a smile

Janine Marnien

Actually getting to meet the people she has helped has given a

whole new meaning to community service for La Canada High School

senior Nicole Arboleda.

Nicole and the rest of her fellow Key Club members adopted 13

underprivileged families through a Pasadena homeless shelter for

Christmas. The project is an annual event for the student

organization, but the nature of it gives a personal feel to community

service, Nicole said.

"Some of the people can't even speak English, but you can always

see how thankful they are in their face," she said. "They're always

shocked at how much you can give them."

The 160 Key Club members divided into teams to adopt an individual

family from the Friends in Need shelter.

The students prepared Christmas baskets, filled with dinner

supplies and toys for children at an average cost of $80 to $100.

They also held a canned-food drive, offering Krispy Kreme

doughnuts as a prize for classrooms that brought in the most


Being able to deliver the baskets in person takes the focus off

some students' goal of compiling community-service hours for a

resume, said Nicole, the club's president.

"Our club does not have an hours requirement, it has a project

requirement," she said. "That way, you can pick which projects you

do, and be totally focused on that."

The club does various service projects throughout the year, but

the Christmas baskets are its favorite, advisor Mary Weaver said.

"It goes along with Christmas time and the spirit of giving," she

said. "They can watch the recipients accept the gift, and the kids

really enjoy that."

The students' activities were funded with grant money and out of

club dues.

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