Bexley High School Key Club members hope to brighten the holidays for local children with a fundraising effort to match their own growing numbers.
The group will host a Bookfair Fundraiser, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at Barnes and Noble's Easton location.
Kelly Schulze, the club's adviser and a teacher at BHS, said students hope to raise some $2,000 at the event, a first for the group.
The money will be used to buy books at the store, with the books to be donated to DARN, the Developmental Assets Resource Network. DARN is a Bexley nonprofit group that works to meet the needs of local children and families through the sharing of community resources. The books purchased by the Key Club will be added to holiday gift boxes to be given to children in need.
Any leftover cash will be donated to the Bishop Griffin Shelter, Schulze said.
"This is a group of kids that really wants to give back to their community," she said of the Key Club. "They are very thankful for what they have."
Schulze said the group's membership has tripled in recent years thanks to a new hands-on approach by its leadership.
Key Club International is a student-led organization whose goal is to teach leadership through volunteering. It is both the oldest and largest service program for high schoolers in the United States.
Schulze said she believes a number of projects over the past couple of years in Bexley have helped to increase the number of students looking to get involved. Both young women and men are part of the group, with a total of 12 young men boosting the totals this year.
Regardless of gender, everyone gets into the projects, said Schulze. Last year, students helped out with an animal shelter in Marysville.
"I think the kids really got into the work they were doing," said Schulze. "The hands-on really helps."
Other service projects have included volunteering at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, Sunrise Assisted Living in Bexley, and with Girls on the Run, a positive youth development program that combines an interactive curriculum and running to inspire self-respect and healthy lifestyles in pre-teen girls.
BHS's Key Club will receive 15 percent of the sale of any books, gift items, toys or trinkets purchased at the Easton Barnes and Noble when shoppers use specific vouchers Nov. 10. Purchases in the store's Starbucks -- including pre-ordered Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes for the holiday season -- will help to raise funds for the group as well.
Shoppers can download Key Club Bookfair vouchers at the district's website, then bring them to the store or shop online using the same codes. The Easton location is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, with vouchers accepted at any time.
Students are encouraging community members and Key Club supporters to purchase books as holiday gifts, as well as Vera Bradley merchandise, board games and other name brands at the store.
Key Club members also will hold hourly reading sessions for youngsters in addition to offering face painting and arts and crafts activities for little ones, including the making of bookmarks for all their newly purchased books. These activities will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To download vouchers, visit the district's website at bexleyschools.org and click on "Select a School," then choose the Bexley High School page.