Key Club’s annual baby blanket making event

Members and officers of Division 34 South’s Key Club come together for their Thanksgiving Division Council Meeting

Shivani Gupta and Tina Low

On Saturday, Nov. 17, approximately 50 members from Division 34 South’s Key Club gathered in the staff lounge at Fremont High School (FHS) from 2 to 5 p.m. for their monthly Division Council Meeting (DCM). This division of Key Club includes the high schools Monta Vista, Fremont, Cupertino, Gunn, Homestead, Los Altos, Lynbrook, Mountain View and Palo Alto.

Every month, Key Club holds a DCM in which members and officers of the club from around the division meetup to check in with the progress of each club. This gives each school the opportunity to stay in contact with the other clubs and their progress, as well as discuss ways to improve their own. MV Key Club President and Division 34 South spirit coordinator Alison Wu believes that seeing what other clubs are doing gives her motivation to improve MV’s club.

For the November DCM, after each club shared their status, everyone transitioned to the annual baby blanket-making part of the meeting. In order to prepare for the event, club officers and advisers buy the materials and all at the meeting, DCM attendees work together to sew blankets, which are then donated to a hospital. This year, President of FHS Key Club Quenytta Fakava ran the event and the blankets went to Lucille Packard Stanford Hospital.

“We bought these fabrics at Joann’s and we’re going to be cutting the edges [of them] so it’s like a sort of tied blanket design,” Fakava said. “We’re going to be donating all the blankets that we make to the Lucille Packard Stanford Hospital for prematernal babies, which is also [the] PTP, the Pediatric Trauma Program. We always make the blankets for the prematernal babies. That’s where we’ve been doing it for the past few years.”

Wu believes that on top of being able to provide for a good cause, participating in the event alone is a valuable experience.

“I think this event is really amazing because it’s organized by students alone,” Wu said. “We are directly sitting next to each other, sitting next to students from other Key Clubs and we’re working together — either on the same blanket or the same table, working two blankets at a time. Together we’re making that stack of blankets go higher and higher and I think that’s really cool to see the direct impact that we can make.”

Sixth year adviser for FHS Key Club Sarah Michelet was a Key Clubber in high school herself and jumped at the chance to be a part of it again because of her love for community service. Although she enjoys community service as a whole, for the baby blanket making event in particular, she appreciates the fact that it’s a more interactive event for students.

“Watching students have fun and watching them do projects, like crafty projects [is my favorite part of the event],” Michelet said. “I don’t think you guys have a lot of opportunities to work with your hands so I think it’s just great to watch students enjoy themselves, to interact with other clubs.”

Similar to Michelet, Lynbrook HS senior and Division 34 South Lieutenant Governor Sadhana Sarma personally likes the baby blanket making event because of the fact that it’s “hands-on” and students are involved with every part of the process.

“I think this event is really well organized,” Sarma said. “In the past we’ve done DCMs where we just had the meeting and instead of doing a hands-on service project, afterward we would just sell food and do a fundraiser. Those are awesome because we do raise funds for charity but I really prefer these kinds of events because you really get to see what you’re doing and the product that you’re making.”

With the baby blanket making event being annual, the process of organizing the event is similar. However, this year due to a few setbacks, Fakava believes they did not make as many blankets as they could have.

“The fundraising is kind of hard this year because [FHS] banned boba fundraisers for us and that was our main source of income,” Fakava said. “So if we could find a way to fundraise the money or get an easier source of income, then we’d be able to buy more [blanket materials] and have more people come and then we could make more.”

Michelet agrees with Fakava, mentioning how there were scheduling issues that resulted in less people being able to attend the event.

“I’d love to see more students get involved,” Michelet said. “We could have done a little more advertising just to get more students involved from other clubs. I think last year’s event was actually a little bit bigger, so maybe looking at the time of year on the calendar, when it is, maybe the impacts [would result in a greater turnout].”

Overall, for many, being a part of Key Club means more than just volunteering. On top of doing community service in different states, Sarma believes that those who are a part of the club have the opportunity to learn skills focused more on developing them as an individual.

“Key Club is a really awesome organization because we do monthly events like [the baby blanket making event] but we also emphasize service within each individual club,” Sarma said. “Also, on the large scale, there are opportunities to meet people across the nation, across California, Nevada and Hawaii. [In Key Club] there are [many] opportunities for socialization, leadership building, character development and so much more.”

Sarma has been interested in community service for many years, but she decided to join Key Club for more than just that.

“I’ve always known that I wanted to be part of a service organization because in middle school I would always volunteer on the weekends,” Sharma said. “Going into high school, I wasn’t really sure which of the many volunteer clubs to join but I really like the message of Key Club. They have this motto ‘Caring – Our way of Life’ and that just really resonated with me. I tried out a few of the volunteering clubs on campus and I really enjoyed Key Club and I stuck with it.”