Earlier in the school year, students from Edwards Elementary School hatched an idea. As part of their "K-Kids" leadership program, modeled after the Kiwanis Club of Newberg, the third- through fifth-grade students would find a way to build a food pantry at the school that serves the community.
With guidance from Shy Montoya of Kiwanis they achieved that goal in short order, getting help from local donors and the Newberg chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Montoya said the Kiwanis covered most of the cost incurred by the project, while Habitat for Humanity provided the labor to build the pantry.
Originally, a different idea was proposed to the kids, but Montoya said they chose to be selfless and give back to their neighbors.
"Edwards PTA came to us and said they needed a new playground," Montoya said. "I asked the kids if they wanted to put money toward a playground and they said, 'No. The playground is for us, but this pantry is for the community.' It just made me teary because I was so proud."
Members of the K-Kids – while learning skills such as public speaking, how to run a meeting and taking notes – each have a role to play. There is a president, vice president, treasurer and even a "man at arms" in the club. They had a lot of help putting the pantry together, but it was their idea to do it, Montoya said.
"They all are in their different roles and do projects for the community," Montoya said. "It's like a mini version of the real Kiwanis. Earlier in the year we made kits for the homeless shelter, but this pantry was our big goal for the year."
The K-Kids would draw mock-ups of the pantry, which includes space for books in addition to food. They also donated $50 of their own money to the cause, which Montoya said is a lot for families from a lower income community to contribute.
Through her connections as an employee of the Chehalem Park and Recreation District, Montoya linked up with Mayor Rick Rogers, who enlisted his cohorts at Habitat for Humanity to conduct the labor. With the financial backing and labor all set, the finished product is complete, with a ribbon cutting ceremony slated for noon July 12 at Edwards.
Montoya said the kids "did a little happy dance" when they found out the project would be completed, and she said the satisfaction they feel after giving back to their community is evident. She added that she looks forward to the ribbon cutting as a culmination of the kids' hard work throughout the year.
The K-Kids club, Montoya said, has provided a foundation in leadership and organizing that these kids will be able to use for the remainder of their academic and professional lives.
"I have seen really good progress in these kids," she said. "Our president started out really shy and she has grown so much this year. It's a child-run organization and I wish I had that when I was a kid."
Newberg native makes honor roll at Central Washington University
Preston Enimore, originally from Newberg, was named to the honor roll for the spring quarter at Central Washington University.
Enimore is a sophomore at the university in Ellensburg, Wash., and achieved a 3.5 or better grade-point average to receive the honor roll distinction. Twenty students from Oregon were named to the honor roll at CWU, which requires 12 credit hours to be eligible.
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