Grover Cleveland Middle School Teacher Recognized by Kiwanis for Long Dedication to Student Community Service Programs (via the Caldwells Patch)

Grover Cleveland Middle School Teacher Recognized by Kiwanis for Long Dedication to Student Community Service Programs

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Grover Cleveland Middle School eighth grade teacher Mara LaBato (left) who has been advising students in the Builders Club on how to "do good" receives a certificate of appreciation from Kiwanis of Caldwell-West Essex president Mary Ann Luke.
Grover Cleveland Middle School eighth grade teacher Mara LaBato (left) who has been advising students in the Builders Club on how to "do good" receives a certificate of appreciation from Kiwanis of Caldwell-West Essex president Mary Ann Luke.
Caldwell, NJ – June 24, 2014 – What happens when you dedicate yourself to doing good and teaching others how to do good? Good things happen to you! Eighth-grade math teacher Mara LaBato has advised the Builders Club at Grover Cleveland Middle School (GCMS), Caldwell, for twelve years, working with the students to organize fundraisers, host parties for senior citizens, donate to local and national charities, and much, much more, to help students recognize the importance of community service and doing good for others. However, this spring, the Kiwanis Club of Caldwell-West Essex turned the tables on LaBato, recognizing the important role that she has played in the community and her contributions to community service programs as the Builders Club Advisor.

A Kiwanis Service Leadership Program, the Builders Club is an international student-led program providing students with opportunities to perform service, build character and develop leadership. Clubs are chartered in partnership with a Kiwanis club and a school or community-based organization serving middle or junior high school students.  The middle school’s club partners with the Kiwanis Club of Caldwell-West Essex.

Over the years, students involved with the Builders Club have participated in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF; made and served a Valentine's Day dinner for local seniors that includes live entertainment; worked with the PRIDE committee on their annual holiday Adopt-a-Family; and held numerous bake sales, food drives and coat drives.  The Club also sponsors a "Pajama Day", donating all of the proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“We try to vary the types of activities to show students that there are many, many ways in which they can help,” said LaBato. “We also held a used cell phone drive where we donated all of our cell phones to a domestic violence shelter, and we have collected soda can tops and donated them to The Ronald McDonald House where they have donated a certain amount of money per pound for what was sent to them.”

This year, Kiwanis President MaryAnn Luke presented LaBato with a certificate of appreciation for her work and dedication to the youth of Builders Club and their community service.

“I work with the students in the Builders Club because I think it is a worthwhile cause,” added LaBato. “Getting recognized for doing something that I love and that matters to me is really unexpected and wonderful.”

For more information on the Kiwanis of Caldwell-West Essex, visit http://www.caldwellkiwanis.org. For more information on Builders Clubs, visit http://www.buildersclub.org. For more information on Grover Cleveland Middle School, visit www.cwcboe.org/gcms.