OPINION: Community Activities Count

Leo Club members sorting Thanksgiving baskets at a meeting. (Photo/Kyle Pannone)

Leo Club members sorting Thanksgiving baskets at a meeting. (Photo/Kyle Pannone)

By: Kyle Pannone

On Sept. 30, 2013, I attended my first Leo Club meeting. Emotions of excitement, nervousness, and pride swelled inside of me as I glance around the room at my soon-to-be family, quickly deciding that going to this meeting was a good idea.

Before I went to the meeting, I felt very afraid, but far less than I imagine I would have felt a few years ago; I’ve evolved into a whole new person since starting high school. My companions and the more experienced club members directing us helped calm my nerves.

High school has forced me to think about myself less and more about schoolwork and socializing. However, joining the Leo Club has helped me spend fewer days staring at a screen, and more spent outside and making a difference.

The Leo Club is a community of students and teachers who help each other as well as people in need in the local area. Members are assisted in scheduling and finding new opportunities for volunteering.

Meetings for the Attleboro area take place at AHS every other Monday from 7-8 p.m. and regularly consist of information on upcoming events, guest speakers, and a few tables where members can sign up for events they wish to volunteer for.

Small projects are occasionally done during the meetings, such as composing birthday cards for the elderly at nursing homes. Larger projects, such as raking for veterans or assisting at church festivals, need to be signed up for in advance.

Different types of volunteering can take minutes to hours, but usually at least one hour is dedicated to an event. One example is cheering on racers at the AHS “Rome Boulevard Rome Race” in Oct. Members also guide the runners along the correct paths as well as encourage them to keep going.

All of the members are randomly divided into four different groups: the Alex, Simba, Cowardly Lion, and Ramses, though requests can be made. Each meeting, the groups take some time to participate in an “icebreaker” to learn more about each other. They range from charades and silly games to athletic exercises.

The best part about the Leo Club is being able to help people in the community with loved ones. There’s nothing better than knowing a difference was made and somebody was impacted, even if just a little.

There are very few downsides of joining a club. Members need to make a commitment to go once every week or every other week, and in Leo Club, members can either arrive at their scheduled assignments on time or notify a leader when they can’t.

Officials of this club include President Owen Bacchiocchi (12), Vice President Cameron Merritt (12), Secretary Miranda McGowen (12), and Treasurer Ben Akers (12). The advisor is AHS science teacher Mrs. Margaret Schneider.

After only a few weeks, I started to meet more and more people who are also in the club. At this point, I’ve met several new friends and recognize many more people while walking through school. I’m becoming more diverse and reach towards my boundaries more than ever now that I am a part of the Leo Club.