Shelburne Community School offers students a chance

Shelburne Community School Behavior Interventionist Sue Schaefer wanted to empower her students, so she decided to start a club where they could help the community while nurturing their self-esteem. The answer came in the creation of the Do Good Club, or DGC. With 125 current members, the five-year-old organization, started with six students and has now grown to be the most popular activity at the school. "The kids get a sense of helping around the school," said Schaefer. "They really do enjoy it." The list of activities that DGC members participate in are as varied as the students themselves. One might catch the youth manning the school store or combing through the halls, collecting recycling or helping to build sets for the play, to helping the Parent-Teacher Organization distribute fliers to mentoring younger students, Schaefer said. Schaefer also took pains to dispel the myth that only "troubled" students signed onto the club in an effort to iron out behavior problems. In fact, the DGC is open to students in sixth through eighth grades and welcomes boys and girls from all walks of life. "I wanted a venue for the kids to do something together so the kids can bond and work together," Schaefer said. The club has no budget and Schaefer relies on her public relations skills to acquire items for the club. "If I need something, I network with other school and community groups," she said. Right now, the club is accepting new members, with a cap of 120-130 recruits. "That makes it's manageable," Schaefer added. "There's always stuff to do." For John Keen,14, a seventh-grade student on Orion House, the experience with the club has opened his eyes to the world of community service. "I joined because I wanted to help the school," said Keen, a two-year veteran of the organization. Jessie Johnson, 13, an eighth grader also on Orion, was inspired to join DGC after watching members. "I saw other students working at the school store and I thought it would be fun. It's also good for our school."

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