“My time in Key Club was a true gift in my busy high school schedule, and I hope others experience the gift of giving back through Key Club.”
Kimberly Woods is an actress and voice over artist whose early curriculum vitae included something many Kiwanians are likely familiar with: membership in Key Club. When her talents recently brought her face to face with some of those memories, her reflections revealed how much the organization truly shaped her as a person.
A young girl interested in getting more involved in her community, Woods became a member of the Newark, Delaware, High School Key Club as a freshman. “I was looking for a way to give back, so once I heard what Key Club was all about I was interested in participating,” she says. “I was involved in a lot in high school, but Key Club was definitely one of my best memories and best experiences.”
The projects which linger in her memories are the ones in which the impact of her actions were clear. “We used to wrap gifts at the bookstore to raise money for the American Cancer Society,” Woods reflects. “It was something so simple to wrap a present with your friends, but the joy that it brought people was something I really loved.”
The club’s projects to help the environment had a visible impact on the city, but planted seeds in her mind as well. “Things like nature center clean ups, adopt-a-highway and planting trees. The last was cool particularly because we always planted trees in the same field, so every year you could go back and literally see the trees growing and thriving; you could physically see the difference you were making in the world … I knew the importance of saving the rainforest, and how significant trees are, but doing these sorts of projects made it more relevant.”
She illustrates the importance of serving with a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote: “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be."
“Service reminds us that we are all connected,” she summarizes.
Woods is now a successful actress and voice over artist who has appeared in the popular Nickelodeon channel show “iCarly” and the comedy drama series called “The Game”, as well various films and commercials for Chrysler and Verizon. “Even today, I’m always asking, ‘What can I be doing to make a difference in the world?’ I think that’s transferred over to my career as an actor, because when I’m making a film or a creative project, I’m always asking how I can use the project to make a difference.”
The importance of volunteerism and giving back has lingered in other ways, too. “Once a week I go into an elementary school and read to first and second graders to promote literacy through an organization called BookPALS.”
Earlier this year, her career and interest in service came full circle when she was selected to do the voice over for a promotional video for Key Club International. “Doing this brought up all the memories and all the love for Key Club, While I was doing it, I was imagining talking to my niece, who will be going to be going to high school soon, talking to her and telling her how wonderful it was.”
“It’s one thing to hear about problems on the news, but another to feel like you’re making a difference; as a group in Key Club, that difference adds up … I hope this inspires many students to join, because Key Club is a journey that makes a difference not only in the lives of those the students are serving, but in the student's life as well.” — Courtney Meyer
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