Hope Academy students give back

Members of the Hope Academy community service club show their goofy side. From left, Zaine Evans, Kaila Whitney, Chris Luijten, Abby Thielmann, Riley Corbin and Martha Leonard.

Lending a helping hand to those in need, a group of Hope Academy students is making a difference in their community.

The members of Hope Academy’s Community Service Club have already accomplished a lot in their mission to help others since the club’s inception just a few months ago.

“The club was formed after we held a school-wide fundraiser in the fall, Change for Good, where students collected change for charity,” said teacher Martha Leonard, who coordinates the club along with Lauren Hogan.

“The kids did such a great job, and we realized that we lacked a club for students with a real passion for helping others and supporting worthy causes.”

Clubs are part of school life at Hope, a school with more than 100 students located in Grand Harbour. Learning is structured so that students meet the benchmarks for their grade through classroom instruction, small-group instruction and participation in after-school clubs.

“Through our club we provide services to the community, and we raise money by doing fundraisers,” explained member Zaine Evans, 10.

“We also do lots of field trips, like going to the Humane Society to play with the cats and puppies.”

Member Chris Luijten, 10, described how the club’s first official fundraiser, a walk-a-thon, raised more than $1,000 for the Cayman Islands Humane Society.

Kaila Whitney, 8, was proud to report that the students had raised money to help two dogs, Holly and Bentley, at the Humane Society that needed medical care, which were eventually successfully adopted as a pair.

“We also do beach cleanups; we did one at Spotts and we collected so much crazy garbage, like a rusty hammer, tons of glass, and even a box of really old muffins,” added member Riley Corbin, 11, the other members setting off in peals of laughter remembering the zany items they discovered that day.

One of the founding members, Abby Thielmann, noted that the club also takes time to help the elderly.

“For one project, we made Valentine’s cards and took them to the Pines and gave them out,” she said.

“That was a great activity and we met so many interesting people there, like a lady that used to do hula dancing, and a chess master.”

The students already have plans for another fundraiser set to take place after the Easter break, and lots more field trips.

Abby added that while some members have come and gone, a core group of students that includes Paige Burkholder, Christopher Lawson, Hannah Tibbetts and Caydence Whitney, are keen to keep up the club’s momentum.

“It is fun, and we like to help others,” Abby said.