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Young Philanthropists Work for Change in Builders Club

There's something brewing at the Dr. Kevin M. Hurley Middle School, and it smells mighty sweet. 

Since the Builders Club's October genesis, the school has been hosting drives to benefit charitable organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House and Pennies for Patients. Hallways are filled with bins holding loose change, extra keys and aluminum soda tabs - all to raise money for good causes.

 A duct-tape pencil pouch. Credit Abigail Crocker Ellen Metcalf shows off the club's raffle prizes. Credit Abigail Crocker Builders Club members Nathan Fournier and Raquel Medeiros explain the organization's motives. Credit Abigail Crocker

(Left to Right) Ellen Metcalf (club co-advisor) shows off a duct-tape pencil pouch and the club's raffle prizes, and Builders Club members Nathan Fournier and Raquel Medeiros

The student-run extra-curricular got its wings after Kiwanis Club and the Seekonk High School Key Club inspired administrators to kick-start the giving spirit at the middle school level.

"Kiwanis is for adults; Key Club is for high school and Builders Club is for middle school," outlined Ellyn Metcalf, club co-advisor and science teacher.

The club teaches leadership skills at a young age. According to Metcalf, without being asked, member Nathan Fournier decided to make a video to promote the club's ventures. He practiced his lines, got a willing cameraman, and then took the footage to the librarian for editing. The segment was aired on the middle school's television sets in the morning.

"I don't think [the fundraiser] would have been as successful without Nathan's video," said Metcalf.

The latest project: Pennies for Patients. According to Metcalf, the young philanthropists are collecting change. All proceeds will benefit children battling leukemia. She and fellow advisor Patricia Dumas have not counted up the coinage yet - but they estimate the total sum will surprise students.

And a raffle that auctioned off student-made duct-tape flower pens and pencil bags was a hit. It raised over $50. According to Nathan, the idea wasn't hard to conspire.

"Well duct-tape is obviously cheap...And every girl in school pretty much knows how to make the flowers," he said.

Member Raquel Medeiros agreed with Nathan.

"It's a fun thing to do," she said.

Besides sharpening marketing, promotional, and leadership skills, the club also instills a sense of moral obligation to help those in need. And students are never without ambition, said Metcalf, noting students want to help with global causes, including the civil unrest in Egypt.

"It's impressive to see them take on these projects," she said.

Story written by: Abigail Crocker

Full copy available here