By Wendy Xiong, Clarion Staff
In 2017, a group of seniors (Cody Mak, Ivy Wang, and Katia Lomeli-Trejo) and juniors (Victoria Chen and Alfonso Navarro) founded Club Smile to provide a safe environment promoting happiness within students and local communities, as well as to discuss mental health and psychology. Club Smile is hosted in Mr. Gleason’s room every Thursday at lunch, each month exploring a different theme through educational powerpoints and activities. Both club and non-members can participate in service projects at lunch time and after school.
In November 2017 Club Smile organized a Medical Supplies Drive, creating origami butterflies for an organization called Operation Smile. Operation Smile is an international medical charity for children’s surgical care, namely those are born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other conditions. Club members handcrafted cards in December 2017 for the adoption agencies and orphanages.
The Parkland shooter massacred seventeen students and staff members in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was in world breaking news headlines. In the eyes of millions of parents, Schools are not safe for children anymore. The Washington, D.C. March for our Lives, student-led movement by young activists who are survivors of the school shooting gave speeches about gun violence awareness and support for gun controls. A bomb threat message that was circulating around forced a school evacuation at Kennedy, putting the school on local news radar in March of 2018. The debate affected many students emotionally, mentally, and physically. In April, after the school threat, Club Smile designed anti-gun/anti-violence posters for the school walkout in protest of gun violence.
Club Smiles original mission was to give service to children of non-profit organizations/charities. Apart from the school’s threat from last year, Club Smile wants to mainly focus on increasing happiness and spread more awareness of mental health to students, rather than focusing solely nonprofit organizations services.