SMS Builders Club focus on community, create lasting legacy

SMS Builders Club focus on community, create lasting legacy

When a Scottsburg Middle School student was diagnosed with cancer, they answered the call to raise money to help defray the costs as the family traveled for frequent treatments. When the Salvation Army geared up for another holiday season with its Red Kettle campaign, they were there, standing in the frigid temperatures and ringing bells to raise money to the Scott County Community Clearinghouse, which assists needy families with food, clothing, housing and other necessities. And, when the Scott County Humane Society needed donations for their Cat Adoption Center, they were there too. They provided funds for the adoption center, so homeless cats in the community could have a better chance in finding forever homes.

“It’s amazing,” said Lisa Sutton, Scottsburg Middle School teacher and faculty advisor for the SMS chapter of the Builders Club. “People see them and ask, ‘Who are these kids?’”

These community-minded students are the SMS chapter of the Builders Club, a Kiwanis service club that is designed for middle and junior high school students. The group of more than 45 students work together on projects of their choosing and try to help make their community a better place.

In the recent past, the students created Veterans Day cards for the men and women who served in the military and are living in assisted and long-term care facilities in the community, worked early in the morning at the Kiwanis annual pancake breakfast to raise money for scholarships for local high school students, sorted and organized clothes at the CRADLE Pregnancy Resource Center, and created a first-place winning float in the local Christmas parades. The group has also won the Mayor’s Good Neighbor Award and the Scottsburg Kiwanis Club Wins Distinguished Club Award.

“It’s a great honor to help people. It makes you feet great, and it’s amazing,” said Chloe Helton, an eighth-grade student and president of the Builders Club at SMS. “I feel like I’m making a difference.”

Not only do the students work on a raising money or helping with larger projects in the community, the students learn how to become leaders and better citizens. They learn organizational, planning, leadership, and communication skills. They even create a legacy for future members.

“Abby Walsh was in [Key Club] the year it was chartered [in 2010-2011],” said Al Riggle, Kiwanis advisor for the SMS Builders Club and the Key Club at Scottsburg High School. “She had to learn how to speak in front of people. She went to Key Leader Camp and came back a different person.”

Walsh graduated from SHS in 2015, but her sister, Lily, who is in sixth-grade has joined the SMS Builders Club.

“She wants to follow in her sister’s footsteps,” Riggle said. “It’s exciting.”

For Constance Giuliano, eighth-grade student and vice-president of the SMS Builders Club, she wanted to be part of the organization because of the legacy past members had developed for her class.

“I aspire to be like the eighth-graders last year,” Giuliano said. “It feels great to help people.”

In addition to the positive work the SMS Builders Club has done for its community, the club will also have a chance to mentor younger students as the Scottsburg Kiwanis Club is starting a K-Kids club at Vienna-Finley Elementary School. The K-Kids club is geared toward fourth- and fifth-grade students.

“We are excited about our kids being mentors and teaming up with the elementary school,” Sutton said.

The SMS Builders Club works to better their community and build a lasting legacy. At Scott County School District 2, the SMS Builders Club’s story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.