NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – On Jan. 7, Stony Brook School held an assembly announcing its new EarlyAct Club. Sponsored by the Plainfield-North Plainfield Rotary, EarlyAct is a school-wide service club for elementary students ages 5 to 13.
“We thought it would be a great idea to start students early and get them involved in a service learning group like Rotary. The children at Stony Brook are always looking for ways to help and EarlyAct Club not only provides them with the opportunity to give back but also is a great way to learn leadership skills,” advisor Kathleen Landadio, an academic support teacher at Stony Brook School, told TAPinto North Plainfield. “Rotary has always been very supportive of North Plainfield School and this seemed like a great fit.”
The mission and operation of EarlyAct are closely linked to the ideas of Rotary and, through the club, students engaged in character-building activities and are prepared for leadership roles to identify and carry out projects that benefit their school local and global communities. According to EarlyAct.com, the service club also teaches caring, citizenship, compassion, empathy, friendship, leadership, respect, responsibility and tolerance. Additionally, EarlyAct also provides the foundation and natural succession into Interact, a service organization for students in middle school and high school.
“EarlyAct Club is a Rotary sub-club that helps kids begin to understand the important of community service,” said Ravenell Williams IV, president of the Plainfield-North Plainfield Rotary Club said during the assembly. “The mission of Rotary is ‘Service Above Self’ and we have Interact at the middle and high school and EarlyAct at the elementary school. They both have the same purpose and that is to fulfill Rotary’s mission.”
The Stony Brook EarlyAct Club will focus on three initiatives: a school-based initiative through which they will create Koala Care Packages that will be given out to new students; a community-based initiative through which they will participate in Rotary’s Pennies for Polio program; and a world-initiative through which the goal is to have Stony Brook students pair up through Skype with an EarlyAct Club located in another country. Admission to the club is open to all students in kindergarten through fourth grade, however, permission slips must be signed and returned for a student to take part.
“This new partnership with the Rotary Club will allow our students to participate in three different components of service learning on the school, community and international levels thanks to the dedicated members of the Rotary Club,” said Stony Brook School Principal Catherine Kobylarz.
Dr. James McLaughlin, superintendent of North Plainfield Schools and a member of the Plainfield-North Plainfield Rotary Club, added, “This is a great service learning initiative and character education program for our students and I say this as both a Rotarian and an administrator. It is a really strong component of character education, which helps with social emotional development.”
During the assembly, which was attended by third and foruth grade students and their teachers, Williams and fellow Rotarians Mary Forbes and Maliek Flynn presented Stony Brook with a charter, banner and banks for the students to donate to Rotary’s polio eradication project. The charter, which Kobylarz plans to display in the school, was signed by Williams and SecretaryTreasurer Michael Townley. It ‘recognizes the commitment to the Rotary ideal of Service Above Self and names Stony Brook as an official chartered Youth Service Club of District 7540.’
“It is my pleasure to welcome EarlyAct to Stony Brook School,” said Williams. “This new club will be giving service to the community and, at the same time, those who are involved will learn how to be leaders.”
North Plainfield Mayor Michael Giordano also presented Kobylarz with a proclamation declaring Jan. 7, 2016 as ‘EarlyAct Club of Stony Brook School Day.’ “The youth of our community is our greatest asset, deserving our support and admiration for their service to others, including their efforts to improve the lives of those in need,” said Giordano.
According to Kobylarz, two incredible events happened at Stony Brook School on Thursday; Stony Brook's EarlyAct Club was recognized for its commitment to the Rotary ideal of ‘Service Above Self’ and Mayor Giordano proclaimed January 7, 2016 as ‘EarlyAct Club of Stony Brook School Day’ in North Plainfield. “We were honored and grateful for both levels of recognition,” said Kobylarz, who wished to thank Giordano, McLaughlin, Williams, Forbes, Flynn and Townley, along with Landadio and the staff and students of Stony Brook “for their support and commitment to service learning, the efforts to join in the elimination of polio and Rotary's International goal of world peace.”
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