The Oklahoma School for the Deaf’s newest organization, the Key Club, has students spending their holidays gathering and packaging donations for developmentally disabled children.
Key Clubs are student-led organizations sponsored by local Kiwanis clubs. The OSD club, sponsored by the Murray County Kiwanis Club, has been collecting food and supplies for the Little Lighthouse, a center for children with developmental disabilities from birth to age 6.
Key Club Advisor Sally Henry, who has who has worked at the school as a paraprofessional for 12 years, said the club has only existed for roughly a month. She got the idea to create it after attending a Kiwanis meeting.
“It’s a service project based, student-led organization,” Henry said. “Different clubs can do everything from Unicef to hurricane relief.”
The club quickly filled up with members, all in 9th through 12th grade, who decided to find their first project. Henry’s sister works at Little Lighthouse, and when she suggested the facility, she said students quickly took the idea and ran with it.
“They’re all very excited, a little bit nervous, but when I showed them pictures of some of the students, they were amazed and they were on board,” Henry said. “It’s had a really good impact on them.”
“This is really helpful to them because they run solely on grants and donations,” Henry said. “I thought this would be a great opportunity to give these students a chance to learn about volunteering.”
Henry said the school has other clubs that participate in different kinds of public service, but the school hasn’t had a Key Club before.
“Since our kids come from all over the state, I wanted to show them there’s all kind of organizations they can join out there,” she said.
Staff members, parents and community members pitched in, donating money and supplies. The club’s sponsor, Murray County Kiwanis Club also donated, along with RFD Construction and Vision Bank.
“Our local grocery store, Sooner Foods, heard about what we were doing, brought us in and just said, ‘Fill your baskets up, take what you need’,” Henry said.  
The club will continue collecting donations until December 12, and will deliver their baskets to Little Lighthouse the next day. Anyone looking to donate can bring their items to the OSD office, or drop them off at the visitors’ center. For their next project, the club is fundraising by selling poinsettias.