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  • Advisors: December To-Do List

    As the calendar year winds down, don’t let the momentum of your Builders Club slow down too. December is a great time to encourage your club members to celebrate their accomplishments and start making plans for the new year. Here are three items you and your Builders Club officers can put on your to-do list for this month to recognize your achievements and strive for even more:

    • Reflection. Evaluate the club’s progress so far by discussing its achievements and member contributions. Then be proactive about what is ahead. Using an ‘asset-based thinking approach’ will ignite members passions, commitment and energy for the coming year. (Suggested reading for further information on asset-based thinking is Change the Way You See Everything by Katheryn Cramer and Hank Wasiak.)

    • Membership plans. Assess the club’s current membership. Discuss which growth and retention strategies have been effective in the past. Develop a plan for the rest of the year that will help your Builders Club grow.

    • Celebrate. Plan a way to celebrate the club’s achievements and progress so far—perhaps a small surprise for members at the next club meeting, including treats for everyone and a short video showcasing everyone’s efforts so far.

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  • Connect. Share. Engage.

    November is Kiwanis Family Month. This is the perfect time to connect, share and engage with others in the Kiwanis family. Here are a three ways you can participate:

    • Connect with other advisors. Contact your district administrator and find out if there are other Builders Clubs in your area. If so, reach out! Start sharing ideas and identifying ways to collaborate.
    • Share your pride. Download the ‘“Proud to be a Builders Club advisor” image—and post it on your social media accounts. When you do, share why you love Builders Club and how long you’ve served in your role. Encourage other Builders Club volunteers to do the same.
    • Engage with other Kiwanis-family programs. Invite other Kiwanis-family clubs in your area to your Builders Club meetings and events. Discuss how we’re all making a difference in the community—and make plans to serve together!

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  • Service leadership: Heart to serve

    With Builders Club, students learn to be the most engaged members of their communities. It’s all about service leadership—the powerful force that occurs once people discover their heart to serve, answer their call to lead, and exercise the courage to engage

    When students discover the heart to serve, they see service as a new, exciting way of life. Advisors play a key role in helping members discover their heart to serve. At a club meeting, guide members toward a discussion about service in the school and the community. This discussion could be led by you or by the officers of the club. Ask questions that help members: identify their passions, understand the difference they can make and brainstorm service ideas. For example:

    • What do you care about?
    • What can you do to make a difference?
    • What impact or difference can one person really make?
    • What will you do make an impact outside of the club activities?
    Individually, club members can then use this Heart to Serve worksheet to reflect on their own passions and how they can continue serving others outside of Builders Club.

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  • Reach the community via Kiwanis clubs

    In today’s society, genuine community involvement is a fundamental component of successful schools for young adolescents.

    That comes from This We Believe, a 2010 publication of the Association for Middle Level Education. It’s an important insight for Builders Club advisors, supporters and others who believe that education and inspiration aren’t the responsibility of schools alone. 

    But the community often doesn’t know how to step up to help schools. Luckily, Builders Club is a great way for students and the community to find each other.And it can start with your sponsoring Kiwanis club. 

    Here are a few easy steps for your Builders Club to reach out to the Kiwanis club or community members as a resource for your upcoming service projects:

    • Make contact. Encourage your Builders Club members to reach out to the local Kiwanis club to set up a time and place in which each Builders Club member can interview a Kiwanis member. 
    • Brainstorm. Have the club develop some questions that they would like to ask each Kiwanis club member. Questions can include:

      -What is your profession?
      -What are your hobbies?
      -Where do you volunteer?
       -Would you be willing to make connections and help find resources for  the Builders Club’s next service project?
      -Do you have any ideas on how the Builders Club can help our  community?

    • Interview. Club members should then meet with the Kiwanis club members and “interview” them by asking the questions that they brainstormed together.
    • Decide. After the interviews, Builders Club members can share the information and ideas that they have received—and then brainstorm ways to get Kiwanians involved. A few examples:

      -Is there a police officer or firefighter in the Kiwanis club? Would this person be willing to come into the school  and present on safety issues?

      -Does the Builders Club want to help animals? Maybe a Kiwanis club member volunteers at an animal shelter and can help guide the club toward the best way to help.

      -Is the Builders Club collecting pop tabs or box tops? Through these introductions and conversations, the Builders Club can feel comfortable asking the Kiwanis club to collect and donate to the school. 
    • Say thanks. Regardless of how you engage the Kiwanis club (and/or community members), remember to have Builders Club members write thank you notes or make thank you cards. 

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  • Service project idea: Gratitude sticky notes

    Practicing gratitude on a daily basis isn’t just polite—it’s an important advantage for both adults and students. According to Project Happiness’ research, people who practice gratitude report greater life satisfaction, more positive emotion and a greater connection to their communities. The organization’s studies also suggest that students feel better about their school, and teachers feel more satisfied and accomplished, and less emotionally exhausted.

    Here is a “gratitude activity” that’s simple enough to help make gratitude a part of everyday life. And your club can do it at a meeting! You’ll just need markers and sticky notes.

    • Discuss. You and your club members should share ideas on the benefits of practicing gratitude and ways that each member can incorporate more gratitude into their lives. 
    • Brainstorm. The club officers can introduce the idea of showing gratitude to those around them in the school. The officers should then lead a brainstorming session to identify all the people who help students have a good experience in school. (This list can include people inside and outside the school: the lunch staff, the janitors, the mailman, the principal, secretaries, school nurse, guidance counselor, and even fellow students.) 
    • Create. Give each member one or more sticky notes to write something that makes them grateful for about one or more of the people identified in the brainstorming session.
    • Deliver. The club members should then “deliver” the sticky notes by placing them where the person will see it (e.g., a locker, a phone, a cleaning cart). 
    • Reflect. Afterward, the club can reflect on this project by completing this gratitude reflection piece

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