Dulles Elementary K-Kids Host First Campaign & Philanthropy Conference; Elect New Officers E-mail
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Written by Tony Aiello   
Monday, 16 December 2013 16:15

The spirit of giving and learning how to campaign for office were combined at the 1st Annual Campaign & Philanthropy Conference at Dulles Elementary School in La Mirada. The students are flanked by, l to r, Dulles K-Kids Advisor Stephanie De La Torre, L.A. County Supervisor Candidate April Saucedo, Dulles Principal Robin Padget and Olive Branch Calvary Chapel Pastor Dicky Velasquez.

See the print version in this weekend's La Mirada Lamplighter Newspaper!

La Mirada~A group of fourth and fifth graders at Dulles Elementary in La Mirada recently hosted and participated in the school’s first annual Campaign & Philanthropy Conference.

The conference was a prelude to the recently completed election of officers for the on-campus Kiwanis K-Kids Club.

About 25 students are active in the on-campus service club which is organized by the Dulles K-Kids advisor and parent, Stephanie De La Torre.

The K-Kids is a branch of Kiwanis International that in coordination with local Kiwanis clubs takes on the responsibility of participating in community service projects at the elementary school level.

De La Torre put together the conference which was attended by Dulles principal Robin Padget and featured two special community role model guest speakers, each invited to talk about the different aspects of the conference.

The conference focused on the importance of community service and giving to others and De La Torre explained the event is also designed to give the students some of the tools they need to campaign for office, including public speaking techniques, creating a campaign platform, judging your peers and creating personal confidence.

De La Torre said the conference was modeled after many she has attended and the idea is to get kids to be independent thinkers through a conference experience, “A lot of times if you’re just leading, they’re just doing what you tell them to do. I want them to be critical thinkers and make decisions on their own.”

She told us that many of the kids don’t even know what a conference is and that they will have a secretary to take notes-introducing them to the structure of having meetings and making decisions.

She said having the guest speakers hopefully will help the students know the importance of working together, “I want them to see from other people how they can form their own opinions and come up with ideas.”

All participating students will receive a portfolio with all their accomplishments listed.

I asked her what she hopes the kids would take away from this experience, “That spirit of being a helper and serving their community and being constructive and effective with their lives.”

Student Xavier Brooks said, “I am interested in helping others,” as he was eyeing the clock for a scheduled party.

The first guest speaker was April Saucedo Hood. She was recently chosen as 2103 Pico Rivera ‘’Woman of the Year’’ and is currently a 2014 candidate for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors District 1.

She spoke about her community service, recent award and the chain of events that led her to decide to run for public office.

The second speaker was Pastor Dicky Velasquez of Olive Branch Calvary Chapel in La Mirada who has participated on mission trips to Mexico and the Dominican Republic and has assisted with disaster relief efforts in the U.S.

“My hope is, through this presentation, is to inspire the kids to look outside of themselves and know there’s greater things we can do to help people that are truly in need,” he said.

“It’s more than just the local level,” he continued, “when you go outside and go to third world countries and you see how they live and then you come back to the States and you see the attitude of people-sometimes even my own-we take things for granted here.”

The Dulles K-Kids Club recently concluded a clothing drive as their first service project and Pastor Dickey is scheduled to deliver the clothes to the Rayo de Lutz y Esperanza orphanage in Mexico for distribution.

Dulles Principal Robin Padget is thrilled about the conference and agrees, “It gets kids to think other than about themselves, it’s a good way for them to see outside of their sphere of influence, a way for them to broaden their perspective, see what’s out in their community. In a small community like La Mirada it’s very easy to stay in your two mile circle and only be concerned about your own family or friends families.”

She said it is important for the kids to see and hear what Pastor Velasquez had to say about helping people in other parts of the world, “It is a really good perspective for the kids to have.”

She also told us about the excitement the spirit of giving and community service has generated on campus and that students want to get involved.

“I have had students coming into the office regularly saying they want to be a part of K-Kids,” she said.

On December 3rd the K-Kids elected a new president, Natalia Morales.  Natalia was chosen out of 10 candidates in a hard fought battle. Kiwanis Club of La Mirada Secretary Amy Scheibel came to the school recently to congratulate the new officer.

See additional photos on our Flickr feed here.



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