However, this spring, the Kiwanis Club of Caldwell-West Essex turned the tables on LaBato, recognizing the important role that she has played in the community and her contributions to community service programs as the Builders Club Advisor.
A Kiwanis Service Leadership Program, the Builders Club is an international student-led program providing students with opportunities to perform service, build character and develop leadership. Clubs are chartered in partnership with a Kiwanis club and a school or community-based organization serving middle or junior high school students. The middle school’s club partners with the Kiwanis Club of Caldwell-West Essex.
Over the years, students involved with the Builders Club have participated in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF; made and served a Valentine's Day dinner for local seniors that includes live entertainment; worked with the PRIDE committee on their annual holiday Adopt-a-Family; and held numerous bake sales, food drives and coat drives. The Club also sponsors a "Pajama Day", donating all of the proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“We try to vary the types of activities to show students that there are
many, many ways in which they can help,” said LaBato.
“We also held a used cell phone drive where we donated
all of our cell phones to a domestic violence shelter,
and we have collected soda can tops and donated them
to The Ronald McDonald House where they have donated
a certain amount of money per pound for what was sent to them.”
“I work with the students in the Builders Club
because I think it is a worthwhile cause,” added LaBato.
“Getting recognized for doing something that I love and that matters to me
is really unexpected and wonderful.”
For more information on Builders Clubs, visit their website online here.
For more information on Grover Cleveland Middle School, visit their website online here.