Students participating in Club 40 at in Pleasanton are learning about more than just how to make a fleece blanket. They are learning about “assets.”
The school children in Club 40 met Friday during their lunchtime to make no-sew fleece blankets, to decorate and fill goodie bags with candy and write anonymous notes of good tidings.
Next week, both the blankets and goodie bags will be donated to the families living in transitional housing at Shepherd’s Gate in Livermore. Shepherd’s Gate services women and children dealing with abuse, homelessness or problems with addiction.
When asked why she is a part of Club 40, third grader Isabella LoConte said, “Because we are helping people in need who don’t have as much as we do.”
LoConte has been participating in Club 40 for two years.
These motivated students meet several times a month on the school campus during their lunch break to come together to be a part of Club 40. After they eat, they get to work helping others.
Even the youngest children in the group are extremely eager and understand the importance of what they are doing.
First grader Maya Villar said, “We are making goodie bags for our homeless shelter.”
Club 40 in the is run by school counselors, Abby Johnson and Jennifer Roush.
During their time spent at Club 40 each month, students learn through talking and doing. They participate in group service projects, like making blankets for others in need, and most recently making thank you cards to send to United States troops stationed overseas.
The group made over 1,000 thank you cards that were picked up by Rep. Jerry McNerney’s office to be shipped to soldiers spending their holidays deployed.
Club 40 teaches many “assets” such as learning about boundaries, constructive use of time, values, healthy lifestyles, good decision making and honesty.
Learning this at an early age can help children have tools they need to help them better navigate through the often murky waters known as childhood and adolescence, club organizers said.
Johnson said that in 2007, school counselors and administrators attended a workshop to learn about the “40 Developmental Assets” program. She started the Club 40 program that year with only 15 students and each year the group has been steadily growing. Now there are anywhere from 60 to 100 children participating in the program.
In 2009, the Club 40 program was recognized by the Pleasanton City Council and they adopted the “40 Developmental Assets” program. Johnson also received a grant from the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council, which is used for Club 40.
Johnson has true passion for each project and is able to inspire the children to do their best. Her energy is teaching the kids that they can truly make a difference and in her own words, “one act of kindness at a time.”