Teaching Young Students to Serve
The Coventry Lions Cub program began when the principal of North Coventry Elementary School contacted Lions about starting a Leo club in his school. The students were too young to become Leos, but that didn’t stop Lions from coming up with a new way to get youth involved in service. The first year of the Cub program was during the 2007-08 school year, with 179 students in five schools participating.
Today, Coventry Lions work with Lions Cubs to serve their community through activities such as book drives, eyeglass recycling, tree planting, sending care packages, fundraisers and more. The Cub program has become an excellent way to introduce the joys of community service to young children, and help them understand the importance of helping others.
Interested in starting a similar youth program in your community? Below is a Q & A with Lion Terry Stouffer of the Coventry Lions Club that addresses how the program was started.
Once the idea came along, how long did it take to get other Lions and the schools interested?
The elementary principal contacted me at the end of the school year in 2006. Over the summer, I contacted other principals and teachers in the district. By the end of the summer, every elementary school in our district was on board with the program! It was a big plus that I was a teacher in the district and had built a working relationship with all of our principals and many teachers.
We held a group meeting at the beginning of the school year and developed a plan to introduce the club idea to every school. I set up an orientation program for each of the schools in the district to promote the club.
How many hours are devoted to the Cub program on a regular basis?
The number of hours varies by school. We ask for a minimum of eight after school meetings, or one after school meeting per month. These meetings average one hour. The projects and service activities from each school help dictate the number of hours required.
You started with 179 kids. How many are still with the program?
The number varies slightly year to year – usually around 100 Cubs for the five schools, which averages out to 20 Cubs per school. This year there were 94 members.
How is the interaction between Cubs and Leos?
There have been a few service projects where Leos and Cubs worked together:
- Last year, Leos and Cubs prepared 500 seedlings for our community to be planted as part of the LCI Million Tree initiative.
- This school year, all of the Leo clubs and Cubs were involved in a book drive. The clubs just recently surpassed their goal of 5,000 books, which were distributed to poorer school districts in our immediate area and as far away as a New Jersey school affected by Hurricane Sandy.
- Other projects included the Leos visiting elementary schools during PTO Fairs, and helping Lions Cubs run games and events as a school fundraiser.