NWL Leo Club wraps up a year of volunteer work
“It’s time to have our end-of-year picnic,” said Harrison Bernhard, second term president, at one of the last Leo Club meetings of the year.
The Northwestern Lehigh High School club had much to celebrate and members also had some decisions to make.
On the agenda was allocating the money raised over the course of the year.
Where to donate $1,000 was a good problem to have.
In the end, the Leo Club decided to make donations to Four Diamonds and Hoops for Hope, organizations that work with pediatric cancer patients, and the Christ’s Church at Lowhill and Northern Lehigh food banks.
The club is all about helping the community.
In May, members completed a project to benefit the homeless.
“We made a kit for the homeless that included Band-Aids, a comb, wipes, hotel samples of shampoo, body wash hand and body lotion, toothpaste and toothbrush,” Leo Club adviser Marsha Johnston said.
The items were inserted in used eyeglass cases.
“After collecting the old eyeglass cases, I just scrubbed them with bleach and water,” she added. “As Lions we collect used eyeglasses and I’ve asked the different clubs if they would save the cases for me. The kids put the kits together.”
“I have contact with folks at Daybreak and Street Medicine in Allentown, where a physician and social worker minister to the medical needs of disadvantaged people.”
Bernhard said the project was a cool idea and easy to do with such a large group of people.
“It was a really cool way to help the community,” Bernhard said.
Helping the community drives the club’s activities.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, the group participated in a fun run at Ontelaunee Park.
Throughout the year, members volunteered at Boo at the Zoo, served an oyster dinner at Jacob’s Church, helped with distributing presents at Friedens UCC, worked at the Northern Lehigh Food Bank, at a breakfast with Santa, and an Easter event at the Lynnport Fire Company.
Co-Vice President Matthew Boushell has been a member of the Leo Club all through high school.
“At first, it was just because I heard other people join but when I found out Leo was about volunteering, I just had to join,” he said. “Some of the events we do happen every year, but we look for suggestions, too.
“Boo in the Zoo, we do pretty much every year and we help cook and serve at one of the fire houses.”
Boushell shares the vice president position with Tucker Everett.
“We always have two vice presidents,” Boushell said. “It’s always been like that.”
Maddie Consuelos and Emma Fogal shared the vice presidency last year.
This year’s treasurer is Tyler Stasco. The historian is Lexi Bleam.
Secretary Jocelyn Bernhard is happy to be part of Leo.
“I just felt it was a very good club and I thought it would be great to be a part of it,” she said.
For her, Leo is a family affair.
Her brother, Harrison, joined as a freshman.
“My brothers were in the club and it was a great opportunity to help others,” she said. “I just love the club and everything they did.
“My favorite activity was Boo at the Zoo. I went with my brother Quentin, before he graduated two years ago.
“We dressed up at Captain America and Spiderman. I enjoyed interacting with the little kids. It was a great time.”
Jocelyn Bernhard succeeds Jaden Roberts, last year’s secretary, who graduated this year.
One of the most memorable experience of his four years with the group was attending Camp Victory in Millville.
“The camp itself helped out with those less fortunate suffering from disease,” Roberts said. “Camp Victory included people who couldn’t usually participate.
“It included a lot of different aspects of leadership and allowed us to interact with people across Pennsylvania, hear their views and participate in teamwork activities.”
Johnston said the club provides leadership opportunities.
“Leo is very much based on community service,” she said.
Johnston, who is retired, continues to be committed to serving as adviser of the club.
“I had a good experience in this district, and I wanted to give something back,” Johnston said. “I taught for 24 years at Northwestern.”
Johnston even established an eponymous scholarship she awards every year along with one from the Leo Club.
“My mother started a scholarship program in my hometown in memory of my father, so I was inspired by that,” she said.
Johnston is also the Lions Club International District Leo adviser.
“There are nine clubs in Lehigh and Northampton counties,” she said. “I provide advice and work with the different Leo advisers in the high schools.”