Members of the T.C. Martin Elementary School student council and the Kiwanis Kids, or "K-Kids" club, recently launched a schoolwide penny drive to collect donations for the Charles County Humane Society. There are 38 students at Martin who are part of the K-Kids club, which is a part of Kiwanis International, a group that sponsors projects and activities year-round that help support the local community. The club also worked with the 26 members of the school's student council to host the event.

During a two-week period, K-Kids members and student council representatives visited classrooms to collect pennies from students and collected more than $150 in donations. Marti O'Neill, a humane educator from the Humane Society, visited the school on Nov. 7 to talk to students about how their donations help animals. The donations collected by Martin students will benefit the Humane Society's Honey's Fund, which is used to help animals in need of advanced medical treatment. Two fourth graders – Linsey Anderson and Quinnel Booth – helped lead the collection of donations from students.

Accompanying O'Neill during her visit to Martin was Corbin, a four-year-old poodle who received necessary leg surgery from donations to Honey's Fund. Melody Philpotts, library media specialist at Martin and coordinator of the project, said it was important to have the students see an example of how their efforts and donations benefit the community. O'Neill said there are currently two animals at the Humane Society in need of advanced medical treatment and the donations will help contribute to their medical care.

During her visit, O'Neill also talked to students about volunteer opportunities available at the Humane Society and how others can get involved in their community. Her visit to Martin also provided Corbin with his own happy ending. After meeting him and learning of his story, Philpotts decided to adopt Corbin into her home.

Both the K-Kids club and student council provide students with opportunities to learn about responsibility, leadership and community service. Students in grades three through five are eligible to join the K-Kids club and can either sign up on their own or be referred by their teachers. The club coordinates several community-oriented projects annually. Earlier this school year, the club organized a schoolwide event in which students held a food drive and took part in the Trick or Treat program ran by UNICEF.

K-Kids is an international student-led organization providing members with opportunities to perform service, build character and develop leadership skills. The organization's objectives are to provide opportunities for working together in service to school and community, develop leadership potential, foster the development of strong moral character and encourage loyalty to school, community and nation.

For more information on K-Kids, visit http://kiwaniskids.org/en/KKids/Home.aspx. Charles County Public Schools provides 26,700 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 caring community schools that offer a technological advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.

The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX Coordinator and Section 504 Coordinator (students), or Connie W. Armstead, Section 504 Coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, Maryland 20646; (301) 932-6610/870-3814. For special accommodations call (301) 934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.