MOUNT VERNON — Thirty-two students recently signed a charter establishing a Leo Club at the Mount Vernon Middle School. The club’s charter signing celebration was held at St. Paul’s Parish House, with 14 students present.
A Leo Club is a program for youths, organized through a parent Lion Club. It is designed to promote community service from a young age. Officers for the MVMS Leo Club are Casey Miglin, president; Allison Bricking, vice president; Jacquelyn Damabrosio, secretary; and Leah Bennett, treasurer.
“The Mount Vernon Lions Club had been thinking about starting a Leo Club for a good while,” said Mary Bumpus, Leo Club advisor and Mount Vernon Lions Club member.
Establishing a local Leo Club was encouraged by Mount Vernon resident and former district governor Lion Denny Irwin.
“After he passed away, [the idea] sat for a while and then we started talking about it. I said, ‘If we are going to do it, then let’s do it,’” said Bumpus.
In January, Bumpus spoke to students, explaining what the Leo Club is, the volunteerism involved, and the importance of community service.
“The kids are really, really excited to be involved,” she said. “ [And] the parents were very, very supportive; just from talking with them, they think it’s great.”
The club is already making a difference.
“They’ve already started one community service project that will last all summer, cleaning up sticks at Riverside and Memorial Park so it makes mowing easier,” said Bumpus.
Not only do the students gain experience through volunteerism, they also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of programs, including an international student exchange program, youth camps and the Peace Poster contest. Through the Lions Club, the students have the opportunity to apply for scholarships.
“It’s such a great opportunity for [the students],” said Bumpus. “It’s not just all community service, but a way to learn organization.”
One of the major goals of the Leo Club is to build students’ leadership skills through learning. With the Leo Club being new, there has been an opportunity for the students to learn the organization, fundraising, and protocol and procedures that come with being an affiliate of the Lions Club.
“They learn leadership skills in how to conduct a meeting and how to be a president, secretary, and how to fill out an application form for membership. And how to become leaders for our future,” said Bumpus.
Students ages 12 through 15 who are interested and would like more information about Leo Club involvement can call Bumpus at 485-0115.