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A service to society

Group teaches high school boys how to be leaders and be altruistic through projects like handing out disaster kits.

May 03, 2010|By Joseph Serna

Whether it’s for a college applications or high school graduation requirements, nowadays kids everywhere are volunteering community service hours.

On Monday, a group of boys were doing that very thing when they stopped by the Bayview Landing Senior Apartment Homes in Newport Beach to hand out disaster kits. Except they weren’t keeping a precise tally on hours for school credit; they were doing it just because.

“It feels like more of an accomplishment than when you’re doing it for a job. When you’re working for the money,” said 15-year-old Nick McGuiness, a freshman at Corona del Mar High School. “It’s a good feeling when we can give back to the community.”

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McGuiness is a member of the Beach City Service League, an Orange County philanthropic group started in Newport Beach in 2007 that shapes boys into leaders and emphasizes altruism.

Think of the girls-only National Charity League Inc., except with the other sex.

The group takes a limited number of boys from freshman to seniors and teaches them how to give back to the community through organized volunteer events, but also through encouraging them to use their own initiative to create other ways to volunteer.

Monday was an example of how the boys thought up of ways to help, city officials said.

The group of 25 or so ninth-graders contacted the Newport Beach Fire Department to ask about disaster preparedness kits, and the department gave them some direction. While many city locations have plans and kits in place, it’d be impossible for the city to supply one to each of the 80,000-plus residents, said fire department community preparedness coordinator Matt Brisbois.

That’s why joint efforts like Monday’s are so valuable, Brisbois said. The league gave 100 disaster kits to the senior center’s 100 residents, each packed with food, water, a blanket and other essentials. It also teaches the boys what they should have for their homes.

“We’ve got to get them while they’re young,” Brisbois said. “We want to create a culture of preparedness.”


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