MHS Clubs Prepare for the Holidays

Isabella Makino and Kanako Yonashiro

     With the season of giving drawing near, four clubs at MHS decided to give back to the community by doing service projects. The Good Dogs Club wrote letters of thanks to veterinarians, DECA sent cards to seniors at Plaza Assisted Living, the LEO Club assisted in a food drive for the Hawaii Foodbank, and the Red Cross Club made holiday cards for veterans. 

     “We’re really grateful for them (the veterinarians), being able to work during this time, taking care of our pets and everything,” Good Dogs Club Treasurer sophomore Brynn Vincent said. “We just wanted to give back to them and hope that they’ll find this a nice gesture.”

     The Good Dogs Club printed out templates, either in black and white or in color, and wrote letters thanking veterinarians for keeping their stores open and for their hard work during challenging times. There were about thirty letters. They were collected on December 11 and planned to be delivered by Wednesday. 

     “I like how we can give thanks to the vet clinics because it’s definitely hard with COVID and everything,” Vincent said.

     Similarly, DECA sent cards to elderly at the Plaza Assisted Living. Members wrote a letter, drew artwork, or did a combination of both. There were about a hundred cards in total, enough for every resident of the Plaza. 

     “Even if it’s a one way thing where we’re just giving, I think a lot of them will get at least a smile on their face from it, and that’s the most important thing,” DECA advisor Janise Kim said.

     This is DECA’s first time reaching out to the elderly community through a service project. They decided to do it because of how COVID-19 affected families who were not able to see their grandparents and parents. The club thought this would be a nice way to cheer up residents.

     “I think that it was just a really good way to get our members to be more engaged in DECA because a lot of them just come to the meetings and probably kind of sit through it kind of mindlessly, but this gave them something to do and turn in,” said DECA President junior Annabelle Ink. “And I think it was kind of fun to make cards.”

     Additionally, a week-long project that the Red Cross Club has been working on was their Holidays for Heroes project. As an effort to support the military and veteran community during the holidays, club members created cards that expressed appreciation for their service and sacrifice for the country. Members made cards that were both handmade and digitally printed.

     “Essentially, this project is a form of reaching out to veterans, as many people don’t realize how many are cut off from contact with their families, or don’t even have families,” said Red Cross Treasurer junior Travis Takushi. “Many of them may be physically alone this Christmas, but we wanted to give them that feeling of family through cards from our members.” 

     Several of the club officers found it especially important to take on this project during the COVID-19 pandemic. Veterans or those in the military are typically far from their loved ones or alone. By participating in this activity, they wanted to ensure that they could not only be appreciated for their contributions, but also feel a sense of holiday spirit. 

     “Since we don’t often get a chance to talk to people or get to see them, this kind of helps give a connection to people that we otherwise, especially this year, we don’t have a chance to, or interact with,” said Red Cross President junior Kyle Walker. 

     As for the LEO Club, on December 12 from 2:30 to 6:30 pm, they assisted in a food drive, collecting and packing food donations from Mililani High School students, faculty, and community, which was then collected on December 14 by the Hawaii Foodbank. ASMHS had also held a Jingle Bell Blitz photo booth event where MHS students and families could take pictures at various backdrops throughout the school parking lot and donate canned food.

     “So, these two events sort of just came up simultaneously, we thought it would be mutually beneficial to hold them at the same time. So that we could try to use the traffic from one to drive to the other, and vice versa,” said LEO Club faculty advisor and English teacher Curtis Ogi. 

     With this service project being the first face-to-face event for the LEO Club, Ogi found it the most challenging to provide as many opportunities as possible for the members to get involved while following COVID-19 guidelines. 

     “I don’t want too many Leos crowded together. I do want to make sure that everyone is socially distancing. So to try to struggle the logistics of it, how many Leos can I safely have at the event? How can I have this type of event with a minimal crew?” said Ogi. 

     Typically, this December food drive was run by the Mililani Lions Club. However, they were unable to host it this year. In an effort to help maintain this tradition, the LEO Club chose to pursue this project themselves. Additionally, they found it especially crucial to hold this event as the Hawaii Foodbank’s demand for donations was a lot higher this year. 

     “I would say that this give a really good opportunity for not only the members to have a chance to receive that same feeling of giving back to the community, but also providing the opportunity for those who are in need with food. So, holding this food drive would definitely help those who are struggling like families, friends, and people around us,” said LEO Club President senior Aviana Gregorio. 

     In regards to future plans for the clubs, both the Red Cross Club and DECA would like to do a project similar to this later in the year. LEO Club has already planned several activities for club members to participate in, and the Good Dogs Club has yet to come up with additional projects.