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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015 6 years ago

Ocoee High’s Junior Civitan Club celebrates induction

Members say this marks 10 years of the club helping its community.
by: Zak Kerr Staff Writer/Reporter

OCOEE  A passion for community service is alive and well at Ocoee High School in the form of its Junior Civitan Club, which celebrated an induction ceremony Nov. 19 and its 10th anniversary.

Club officials estimate 30 to 35 members are in their group, which stays active through many projects in the community.

“We've done various service projects, such as: volunteering at Westbrooke Elementary School for their Fall Carnival, volunteering for the Love Grows organization by packing seeds to send to disaster victims in the Dominican Republic, showing our support by walking in the Walk Against Breast Cancer at Lake Eola and volunteering at Health Central Park for Halloween Bingo,” member Jasmine Cornileus said. “Next will be even more community projects; the most recent (was) packing food with the Food for Families organization on Thanksgiving Eve.”

The 28th Annual Light Up Winter Garden is among the next events where members will lend a hand, member Serena Persaud said.

Other projects Cornileus listed were volunteering at the Woman's Club of Ocoee, organizing candy messages for Valentine’s Day, participating in the SeaWorld Polar Plunge for the Special Olympics, writing letters and making goody bags for veterans on Veterans Day.

“We've done a lot,” she said. “My favorite was volunteering at the Woman's Club, sending treats and thanks to the veterans and packing seeds.”

Persaud’s favorite is helping with the Westbrooke Elementary School Fall Carnival, she said.

“Something that goes through my mind while I volunteer is the happiness I feel when I see the kids smile,” Persaud said.

Cornileus said giving back to her community in a meaningful way has been fun to the point she wants to continue her service after high school. She and Persaud said they jumped at the opportunity to serve and have been pleasantly surprised how many peers have felt the same way and kept the club growing.

“I was in my freshman year and really wanted to join a club that I'd have a passion for,” Cornileus said. “I knew I enjoyed helping people, so Junior Civitan seemed like a great fit. I wanted a chance to give back to my community, while also forming friendships and bonds with other people. I wanted a chance to actually do something for my community and school.”

And that is part of their pitch to encourage more peers to make a difference not just for their community, but for themselves.

“Others can get involved by just simply helping us and joining us while we help the community,” Persaud said. “And to show support for our club, people can have their families contact us about joining the organization or also simply helping out and coming with us to our volunteering activities.”

For more information, contact club adviser Michael Soapes at [email protected].

Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].

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