Since 1995 the Berg Middle School Builders Club has been doing good things for the community. They make their teachers breakfast at school, they collect donations for the animal shelter, and volunteer their time for multiple community services.
The group was originally founded by Berg teachers, Jenny Hamand and Mary Gran, who lead the group of seventh and eighth graders on their quest to better their community.
“(In) Builders Club, we help at our school and we help around Newton,” Logan Chandler, who spent her thirteenth birthday helping to collect pet food for the group, said. “We help get donations for the Animal Rescue League, and we just want to help the teachers and stuff. Like next week, we will be doing breakfast for the teachers. And I got an idea to use my birthday to get more donations for the Animal Rescue League.”
Chandler is one of seven students in the group and joined the organization this school year.
“I just started this year,” Chandler said. “It’s pretty fun.”
Another member of the group, Faith Waters, initially joined the group because of her love of animals.
“Ms. Gran told me about it, and she said that we were donating stuff to the animal rescue league, and I thought it was cool,” Waters said. “I really like animals because they’re fluffy. I got a little Yorkie-Poodle and I just like to fluff her up.”
Even Hamand’s son, Grant, is involved in the club.
“My mom is the leader,” Grant said of why he joined. “I like animals.”
While the kids love of animals has helped fill their ranks with willing volunteers, the support they need to stay afloat comes from the community they help to better.
“We are sponsored by the Newton Kiwanis,” Hamand said. “That’s who helps us, and Jason Lauterbach is also our sponsor. He is our direct sponsor from there (Lauterbach Buick GMC).”
Lauterbach felt that Builders Club was an ideal way to get local kids involved in service projects.
“We thought it was important to start a Builders Club,” he said. “To get those kids involved early into the community. This helps them get ready for high school and helps them get ready for college. It’s just really about getting them to feel good about helping people.”
Despite moving around the county several times since she brought the group to Berg in the 90s, Hamand picks up right where she left off every time she comes back to both Newton and Berg.
“I wanted the kids to have experience doing service projects,” Hamand saidof founding the group, which still abides by her original charter that was written in 1995.
Despite the kids’ love of animals, the group isn’t solely dedicated to working with the Jasper County Animal Rescue League.
“At one point in time we worked with RSVP,” said Hamand. “We helped with the pancake breakfast for the Kiwanis, we served breakfast for the staff here, we’ve been custodians for the staff here, and we’ve picked up trash.”
The group’s name is actually derived from its Kiwanis roots, according to buildersclub.org,
“Builders Club is the largest service organization for middle school and junior high students, with more than 45,000 members worldwide. Members learn to work together and develop servant-leaders skills as they serve their school and community. In partnership with UNICEF and March of Dimes, the clubs are able to expand their outreach to babies and children of the world.”
“They are a great group of kids that are ready to help out,” said Hamand. “So if the community has anything they need help with, we have a group of eager middle school kids, so give me a call.”
Ty Rushing Daily News Staff Writer may be contacted at (641)-792-3121 or at email@example.com