by Emily Prestley

For the first time, this year Key Club members had the opportunity to volunteer at Kutz Elementary during the eight weeks of its iRun4Life program. The success of iRun4Life, a nonprofit organization promoting fitness and healthy habits that reaches over twenty elementary schools in Pennsylvania and now New Jersey, is overwhelming the minute you enter the  gym where over 200 students, dozens of teacher, parent, and student volunteers work to ensure each day runs smoothly. Volunteers from West had the opportunity to volunteer for all eight weeks as assistant coaches, running each week with their assigned team of 10-12 students offering encouragement as they worked towards their goal, an iRun4Life-sponsored Kids Only 3K race, or for individual weeks helping to set up warm-up equipment, manage runner traffic around the course, and cheer for the runners as they ran. Volunteers also played an important role in matching every student with his or her parent and minimizing chaos as the day winded down, a difficult task with the sheer number of kids all running around!

Seeing the progression of the program through all eight weeks, I can say that the best part was seeing the enthusiasm for fitness and healthy lifestyles that iRun4Life inspired in the kids. It’s not always easy to motivate hundreds of elementary school kids to want to run laps after school, but iRun4Life managed to do so in a way that was fun, supportive, and educational. Whether the kids are warming up to “Gangnam Style” or watching with wonder as Dr. Green passed around his marathon medal, iRun4Life keeps them focused on their personal goals. It’s an incredibly complex operation to pull off every week - a system of mile logs, incentives, increasing distances, and weekly nutritional goals - but most simply, it is lots of fun for all involved.

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by Lauren McAllister

If you prefer a relaxing indoor event, sign up to volunteer at NOVA Thrift Shop or Full Circle Thrift Store! Both of these events begin in September and stop at the end of the school year. NOVA Thrift Shop runs each Tuesday from 3:30 to 5:00pm. Full Circle Thrift Store takes place every Tuesday and Wednesday from 3:30 to 5:00pm. These events are very simple. At NOVA or Full Circle, you start with a few bags of clothing, then you mark each article of clothing with a price tag, and then you hang up the item on the shelf wherever it belongs! You can also assist by organizing the clothing racks. This is a perfect event to do with your friends because you can talk and hang out them while working. At NOVA, a maximum of three people can sign up per shift, and at Full Circle, five people may volunteer at each event.

Both NOVA Thrift Shop and Full Circle Thrift Store's proceeds benefit victims of domestic violence. This is a wonderful cause and a great motivation for volunteering.

A few months ago, a woman from Full Circle Thrift Store contacted CB West's Key Club requesting donated goods. CB West successfully donated several bags of clothing to Full Circle. If you wish to donate as well, please donate gently worn clothing or gently used goods to both NOVA and Full Circle. All of these donations will benefit A Woman’s Place in order to help victims of domestic violence throughout Bucks County. Donations may include the following: shoes, boots, belts, handbags, purses, scarves, hats, gloves, jewelry, wall hangings, and small furniture. You can also support these victims by signing up for NOVA and Full Circle through Key Club!

by Lauren McAllister

If you enjoy being outside in the sunny spring weather, love running and being active, or like spending time with kids, this event is perfect for you! Bridge Valley Elementary School's Just Running Program runs for eight weeks, starting in late February and ending in mid-April. This event starts in late February, ends in mid-April, and runs on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 4:30pm. Runners vary from first to sixth grade students. Do not let the name of this event scare you away from volunteering! Volunteers are not required to run for this event. Besides running with the teams, you can assist the Just Running Program in all sorts of ways. You can participate as a coach of a team, leading and guiding the elementary students around the school on their run. You can also help by cheering and supporting the kids while they are running (this is a perfect job for those of you who do not wish to run.) The runners love to see older high school students cheer them on and run with them. In addition, you can also help by distributing the snacks to the runners at the end of the event.

The coordinator of Bridge Valley's Just Running Program is extremely friendly, along with the other coaches and volunteers who I worked with. After finishing this event, one of the coaches even asked me to help tutor her daughter in math. I tutor her every week now and I love helping her with her homework!

This event is one of the most satisfying and rewarding events that I have participated in throughout Key Club. According to one website, in 2010, over one third of children and teens in the United were overweight or obese. In addition, it is common to find children playing video games rather than playing outside. With such a high childhood obesity rate, any form of physical activity is essential for children. That being said, these 60 minutes of running and being active are imperative to these students, as this may be the only type of exercise they do outside of gym class. Knowing that you are making a difference in a child's well-being and health is incredibly fulfilling.