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Paragon Club gives to community
Group focuses on uplifting others, leadership
For some parents, getting kids to stay in a club can be tough — boundless energy, shorter attention spans and a good deal of distractions are among the possible contributors.
But for Dana Francis, getting her daughter Emily to Paragon Club each week is no trouble at all.
"She makes sure it's written on the calender every Thursday so I don't forget," Francis said.
Paragon Club, comprised of about 20 students ranging from second to eighth grade at Paragon Collegiate Academy in Marysville, aims to get youths more involved with the community and teach them to become better leaders, said Christie Burns, club adviser and first-grade teacher at Paragon.
Each week, students at Paragon Club work on a new project that focuses on improving the community, Burns said. Last Thursday, the group delivered handmade sun catchers — little crafts that reflect sunlight — to the Marysville Care and Rehab Center and hung them on the patients' windows.
Kayla Royster, 12, said going to the care center is one of her favorite club activites.
"It's my way of spreading joy around the world," the sixth-grader said.
According to Kayla, club members delivered more than 180 cards to the care center last year that read: "I hope your day is full of love."
In addition to the care center, members of the Paragon Club participate in food drives, clothes drives, costume drives for Halloween and park clean-ups. They've made blankets for babies at Fremont Hospital, gave "blessing bags" of toiletres to the homeless and made treats for law enforcement and firefighters.
Parent coordinator Melissa Overmire said the experiences teach the students a very valuable lesson: how to give.
"Giving back to something that is bigger than yourself is important," she said.
Before Paragon Club taught students how to give, it taught students how to cook. Burns started the PTA-funded club last year to teach students cooking techniques. However, it eventually turned to community service activities after getting support from students and listening to their ideas.
So far, the ideas have been a big success, Burns said. In its second year, the club's membership has risen — a sign, perhaps, that getting kids to stay in a club has become just a little bit easier.