The ASYMCA Kids Care Club Twentynine Palms (ASYMCA KCC) recently received a letter and certificate from George W. Bush 41st President of the United States and Points of Light Institute CEO Michelle Nunn for being the Daily Point of Light honoree to receive the Point of Light Award. This award recognizes individuals and groups creating meaningful changes in communities across America and honors the volunteer efforts that demonstrate the power of service to create tangible change in their communities.
ASYMCA KCC is an afterschool program for 2nd through 6th grade children that meet at Condor and Twentynine Palms Elementary Schools in Twentynine Palms CA. The mission of ASYMCA KCC is to develop the spirit of compassion and volunteerism in children in 2nd -6th grade. The objective is to teach social responsibility, compassion and the power to make a difference. Promote values of compassion in the home and in the community and preserve the philanthropic spirit.
Meeting weekly from August 2011, ASYMCA KCC focuses on giving back to their community by choosing a project(s) a month and continuing through June 2012 with their time together.
ASYMCA KCC Kids started with a project for Loma Linda University Medical Children’s Hospital where they made 24 placements that were delivered to the children receiving inpatient treatment. Joanna DeLeon said it best when she wrote the children the following, “On behalf of a precious patient who got to forget about medical procedures for a few hours and remember what it’s like just to be a kid, thank you for partnering with Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital through your donation of 24 handmade place mats. Your giving provides hope, healing, and wholeness to the children in our community.”
Their next project was making a Welcome Home sign for 3rd AA Battalion and units with Tanks, CLB7, and 3/7 Marines from Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) Twentynine Palms who returned from deployment in Afghanistan. They continued by sending Care Packages and Letters to Marines who replaced 3/7 and also to Marines with 1/9 from Camp Lejeune. For the KCC Kids whose fathers or mothers returned home or deployed these activities carried special meaning.
The next project chosen by the ASYMCA KCC Kids was to create a Pen Pal Project of writing to senior citizens associated with the Reach Out Morongo Basin in Twentynine Palms. At Christmas time the children went a step further and sang Christmas carols and enjoyed Christmas cookies and punch with their adopted Grandparent. For Valentine’s Day the children made special Valentine gifts and cards for their Grandparent.
Continuing their mission, ASYMCA KCC Kids at Christmas decorated and filled stockings and at Easter made Easter baskets for children in Child Protective Services (CPS) in the Morongo Basin. Learning that children may not be with their parents because of illness or other serious reasons during a holiday, KCC Kids felt they needed to let their peers know that someone cared about them during this time.
For Earth Day the ASYMCA KCC Kids wanted to participate in an activity that helped the environment and remembering that younger children used the ASYMCA Park, they chose to spend an afternoon cleaning the park. Enjoying scrubbing the playground equipment, using a water hose on the artificial grass, and having a picnic after the event, the KCC Kids felt they had made a difference.
Palms N Paws, a local animal shelter was not forgotten by the ASYMCA KCC Kids. The children volunteered at the shelter for an afternoon, donated blankets and food, but most importantly were introduced to the concept of being responsible pet owners by getting their pet necessary shots, licenses, and not abandoning their pets when they move.
The ASYMCA KCC Kids ended their school year by being the host and hostess and waiters and waitresses to over 200 participants who joined them for the ASYMCA KCC Annual Spaghetti Dinner. For many of the Kids, this was the first time for them to serve not only their family members, but also their friends and neighbors. Morghyn Alderson, a 3rd grader, summed it up best, “Thank you for coming tonight to support the ASYMCA KCC. You have been kind, caring, and nice. You are all like my family.”