The Independence School Board shined a spotlight on a group of elementary school students serving the community at the board’s regular meeting Oct.17. Those attending the meeting were introduced to the Independence Primary School’s Kiwanis K-Kids organization, a group of students who serve in various projects throughout the district.

Superintendent Ben Hegedish introduced a presentation delivered by kindergarten teacher Stephanie Roberts and third grade teacher Caitlin Sluka, the co-advisors of K-Kids. The teachers were joined by six student members of the organization-Dorothy Cook, Josie DiGeronimo, Yusuf Suleman, Ellen Dade, Jackson Sobczak and Sam Wilkins. Mary Lee Gorbett serves as the liaison with the Independence Kiwanis Club but was not present at the meeting.

Through the projects in which they participate, K-Kids members discover they have the ability to help and serve others. Members work together to identify, plan and lead service projects that benefit the Independence Local School District and the community it serves. This school year, the organization consists of a total of 45 students. One project K-Kids participates in each year is the school’s Veterans Day assembly honoring residents of the community who have served in America’s military branches. Additionally, the group sends digital cards to children’s hospitals nationwide during the holiday season, letting sick children and their families know that others care about them. K-Kids students have also created Valentine’s Day curds for individuals in nursing homes to decorate their living spaces.

A slideshow presented at the school board meeting showed photos of some of the group’s more recent projects, such as making bird feeders and making gifts to give to the veterans attending the school’s annual Veterans Day ceremony.

K-Kids also participate in fundraising and philanthropy efforts. In recent years, the organization has worked with Cornerstone of Hope to raise money for the facility’s grief support programs. Last year, K-Kids raised more than $7,000 to fulfill the service’s mission to support children experiencing grief and loss.

Members of K-Kids are taught to express gratitude toward others. One way this was done last school year was by holding an assembly honoring Sgt. Kevin Repicky of the Independence Police Department as he left his role as school resource officer.

Roberts announced the first meeting of K-Kids for the current school year. She said all of the students involved are excited to participate in new service projects throughout the year.

Following the presentation, the two advisors and six students who were present at the meeting posed for a group photo with the members of the school board. The next meeting of the Independence Local Schools Board of Education is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at the media center in Independence High School, located at 6001 Archwood Road.