Little learners eager to help others met Tuesday afternoon at the Westwood Elementary cafeteria for the first K-Kids meeting of the school year.
K-Kids is a service organization for elementary students sponsored by Kiwanis International. First-, second-, and third-graders at Westwood are all welcome to join.
Leading the group for the sixth year are co-advisors Cindy Kodosky and Nancy Ratliff. Kodosky teaches second grade, as did Ratliff before retiring at the end of last year.
More than 50 students gathered in the cafeteria for the opening meeting. Ratliff said some 60 students signed up to participate, but more join throughout the year.
Last year’s group consisted of 81 children.
The first project the K-Kids are focusing on this year is the Peterson Nut Sale. Last year the club was able to raise a total of $1,800 and half of that went toward the Kiwanis Scholarship Fund.
“We’ll probably do some of our tried-and-true projects,” Ratliff said. “We want to mix it up a little bit each year.”
Other activities the club will most likely do again are a Well-Help food drive in November and bell ringing for the Salvation Army during the holiday season.
A new activity Ratliff said the group might do is smile boxes around Valentine’s Day. The boxes would be delivered to area rest homes.
“The little one really want to help,” Ratliff said. “They seem to really get it.”
Jonah Stump is a third-grader at Westwood and this will be his third year participating in K-Kids. “I really like doing the nut sale and helping other people have good stuff,” he said.
Stump was the top nut seller last year and is hoping to win that title again this year.
“It’s really fun and I encourage others to join,” he told the Enterprise.
Madison Standen is another student who loves helping others. The second-grader said she loves participating in K-Kids activities and has made a lot of friends since joining the group in first grade.
“I joined because I thought I could help people,” she said.
Even during the summer months, Standen is dedicated to helping others. She and her family sell items they don’t need and “give money to the people who don’t have money.”
Ratliff said speakers also come in to talk to the children. Last year, police chief Tim Barfield and staff members from the South Lorain County Ambulance District spoke at a meeting.
The club also has one big party to celebrate the children’s accomplishments.
“We want to show the kids how much we really appreciate them,” Ratliff said. “We try to make things really fun.”
Though she retired as a teacher, Ratliff said she plans to continue working with the club because it has a special place in her heart.
“It brings me great joy,” she said. “I’m sure it’ll be a good year.”
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.
Photos by Kelsey Leyva | Wellington Enterprise
Wellington school board member Ayers Ratliff calls on last year’s top nut seller, Jonah Stump, at the K-Kids first meeting Sept. 29.