Among the many things happening at Northview Elementary there is a group of fourth and fifth graders who meet in a first grade classroom on Tuesdays. Those kids are the Northview K-Kids. K-Kids is an international student-led organization sponsored by local Kiwanis clubs. The Northview K-Kids have been sponsored by the Sunrise Kiwanis of Valparaiso, since we started seven years ago. K-Kids has been a wonderful way to help some of our students find a place where they can belong, grow, and make a real difference in their school, community and world.
It is a place where the students can perform service projects, build character and develop leadership skills. Without even realizing it the students are accomplishing one of the goals of the Northview Mission Statement, to reach their own creative, affective, and moral potentials. Serving as the Kiwanis sponsor for this group since it started has been as much a chance to “change the world” for me as it has been for the kids. With the help of Jean Stilwell and Sunrise Club I have watched kids desperate to respond to the devastation in Haiti as well as the hunger in their own community.
They have wrapped gifts for children of prisoners at Porter County Jail, pricked their fingers sewing neck pillows for parents of the young patients at Riley Hospital, pulled the pop tabs off hundreds of sticky soda cans for the Ronald McDonald House and thanked the street department workers after a long winter with notes and cookies. This year alone, they have organized a drive for supplies for Christmas boxes to be sent to active service personnel, lent a hand to the food drive co-sponsored with our student council and for the next two weeks they will be putting together pumpkin pie kits for the recipients of Thanksgiving food baskets from the local food pantry. There are no tests to take to join this group, just a caring heart.
You can wave to us when we are walking the track at T.J. for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. We’ll be the ones in bright green shirts that say “Northview Rocks, K-KIDS CARE”. You might be surprised when you see this group, on the outside they look like a mismatched group of nine to eleven year olds. They are just reaching out to touch their world right now, but one day they will be the ones changing our world … for the better!
Loren Hershberger is principal at Northview Elementary School.