Fishline is benefitting from LEOs roar

POULSBO — Last year, it was giving tattered American flags a proper retirement. This year, it is helping those in impoverished nations with better eyesight by sending used glasses.

The North Kitsap High School LEO service club has many unique missions each year. But during the holiday season, there is one that the LEOs commit to annually — helping out Fishline Food bank.

The LEOs (which stands for Leadership, Experience and Opportunity) donated 48 Christmas boxes to Fishline to help low-income kids during the holidays. Each box, which had a candy cane, toothpaste and toothbrush, pencils, candy bar and other age-appropriate toys, were given to area children between the ages of 2 and 12.

The LEO club was busy with many projects last fall and advisor and NKHS teacher Jim Stark reported that membership has doubled as well, increasing from about 12 members a year ago to about 25.

“This year, it’s really taken off,” said Dick Prine, a member of the LEOs’ sponsoring organization the Poulsbo Noon Lions. “It’s become one of the most vibrant clubs in the school.”

So much so, that the Lions will be starting another LEO club at neighboring Poulsbo Junior High School.

In addition to spreading their holiday cheer, in 2004, the LEOs took part in North Kitsap Relay for Life; a Habitat for Humanity Carwash; a blood drive that collected 72 units of blood for the Puget Sound Blood Center; a drive that collected pairs of eyeglasses around the community for shipment to developing nations; the American Legion Park clean-up; the Fish Park tree planting.

They’ve also raised more than $500 hosting car washes and have donate $200 to the Bellringer Fund and $300 to buy basic necessities for five children in a developing nation.

On top of that, they’ll be having participating next year in: numerous volunteer efforts with Martha & Mary; the annual Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Walkathon; the Viking Fest pancake breakfast and parade; another blood drive; the giving of NKHS teacher appreciation cards; and helping plant trees at Nelson Park on Earth Day.

Though they joined for different reasons, each LEO club member said that in the end, helping others has been the reward for being a part of the service organization.

LEOs president Anna Castle said since joining, she’s been amazed at the work the club has done.

“By doing a little bit,” said Castle, a senior. “You can make a big difference.”

“You can really see the effects you can have on other people,” added junior Kearney Bangs, who was initially enticed to join by friends who were members.

Fellow senior and club treasurer Leo Keliher also joined because some of his friends were involved in LEOs. Since, he said he’s been swept up by “the spirit of altruism.”

“Plus,” he joked, “how can I resist being in a club that has my own name in it?”

Junior Laree Lawrence had been in Stark’s class and decided to give the LEOs a try. After her first trip volunteering at Martha & Mary, she was hooked.

“We’re doing a lot of good things. With this, we’re making Christmas better for little kids,” she said of their current project.

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