December 18. 2012 11:51PM

Inspiration in Keene: Teens helping others


A week before Christmas, a group of teenagers in Keene was out at the mall spending money - on total strangers. For an inspiring story amid all of the painful news this Christmas season, keep reading.

If you want to see examples of teenagers doing things they should not do, you can open the newspaper on any day of the week. If you want to see good kids doing the right thing, you can always have a look around at the Keene Pumpkin Festival. Among the volunteers donating time and labor to make the festival a success are many students, including the Keene High School Interact Club, the high-school version of the local Rotary Club. They dedicate themselves to charitable service, which they do by volunteering and raising money.

For their work at the pumpkin festival this year, the Interact Club was awarded $5,000 of the $29,381 Discover Card donated to educational causes for the event ($1 for each pumpkin). The club members immediately gave the money away to another school group, the React Club, which helps disabled students at the school.

So what were they doing at the mall? They were buying Christmas presents for children. They had some money to spend. The club has raised at least $50,000 a year in each of the last six years.

Nice, you might say, but how much does the behavior of this one, little club really say about high school kids? It says a lot. The club is so popular that it has to cap enrollment at 100 members. The waiting list is 300 students long. Keene High School has a little more than 1,500 students, which means that more than 26 percent of the entire student body wants into this club, where giving to others is the goal. That is truly inspiring.