It is the little things–the small acts of kindness and the few hours of volunteering from the many people across the globe–that build up to shape the world and push it towards a better future. On the hot, sunny morning of 15 May, students from MGCI’s Key Club arrived at Taylor Creek Park at 10 am for the Tree Planting event hosted by the Kiwanis Club of East York. The event, celebrating the twenty-first year of the East York Key Club, was an opportunity to learn more about planting trees, invasive species, and the environment as a whole. But, while the allure of volunteer hours, free pizza and drinks, and spending a day out with friends is certainly tantalizing, you may be wondering: What is Key Club?
Key Club is an international student-led organization dedicated to community service and volunteering. The acronym KEY stands for “Kiwanis Empowers Youth,” representing its association with Kiwanis International, a parent organization that promotes community services and volunteering. With more than thirty-eight countries represented and over 270 000 members participating, Key Club is the largest service program for high school students in the world.
Key Club offers students the ability to make a positive difference by providing volunteering opportunities to lead and serve the community. Various initiatives that include fundraising, donations, and volunteering, aim to improve the lives of people across the globe and support strong, lasting communities.
This year, MGCI’s Key Club has hosted numerous events that run the gamut from Trick or Treat for Unicef to a Valentine’s Day rose sale in collaboration with the Student Council, where all proceeds were donated to charity. Their most recent event, tree planting, was yet another chance for the students to contribute five hours to the community.
“The tree planting event was a really great opportunity for the members of Key Club, both execs and general members, to help the community as well as meet members from other schools like AY Jackson,” said Allyson Wu, MGCI Key Club’s Vice President. “We were able to connect with Kiwanis Club of East York – our parent club, who hosted the event – and get some amazing work done outside of school hours too!”
At Taylor Creek Park, around sixty students were taught how to plant trees, including the extensive steps required to ensure a healthy plant. The tree stumps were wrapped with perforated plastic in order to prevent field rodents from chewing on the bark, and they were mulched to keep the moisture in the soil. On top of planting trees, students also helped clear out and remove invasive species of trees by slashing the base and putting herbicides in. Students also learned more about the history of trees, with discussions being held on invasive species as well as the diversity of trees from various continents.
“It feels really nice to be able to know that you’re making an impact, no matter how small,” said Alaina Chen, a Grade 10 student that participated in the event.
The Tree Planting Event provided MGCI Key Club members with a hands-on opportunity to contribute to the community and become familiar with the surprisingly intricate process that is planting healthy trees. As time goes on, MGCI Key Club will continue to strive to make a difference, one small project at a time.