Franklin Pride Teaches Young Kids about Community

J.D. O’Gara
Free Lions-Sponsored Youth Group Encourages Community Service
Shown are last year’s members, aged 4-9, of Franklin Pride, a community service-oriented organization sponsored by the Franklin Lions Club.
Issue Date: 
August, 2018
Article Body: 

What do you do to help your parents? What can you do outside your home? If someone falls down, do you stand and laugh, or do you help out?
These are the kinds of questions Franklin Pride, a children’s off shoot of the Franklin Lions Club sponsored by The Dance Studio and now in its second year, hopes to answer. Children aged 4-9 are invited to participate in a group that encourages community involvement.
“There is a huge area that’s lacking,” says Cheryl Hobbs, who runs the group. “Youth are not gaining valuable leadership skills and how to be members of a community.”
Hobbs, a former volunteer with Girl Scouts, was disillusioned with the organization. She discussed it with Kristine Shanahan, recently elected President of Franklin Lions.
“Cheryl had approached me and said Lions have this Cub program, which is designed for the kids whose parents are Lions. We didn’t have that, but we took information from it, what they’d learn, the different age grouping breakouts, and we said, why don’t you run a club for kids and the Lions will sponsor it? We changed the name to the Pride program.”
The premise of the program is to learn respect for community leaders, servicemen, parents, teachers, family and others, especially friends, without dues, badges or the need to sell anything.
The group ran last year for the first time. The focus is on community service, says Hobbs.
“We meet every other week and do a craft that coincides either with a guest speaker or something to do. Last year, we had guest speakers come in,” says Hobbs, including an eye doctor and a fireman from Medfield. The group also
wrote letters to troops for both Christmas and Valentine’s Day,
collected hats for children with cancer,
collected schools supplies for needy fellow students in August and September,
worked on a toy collection for the Franklin Police Department
“The kids loved it,” says Hobbs. “And the parents loved it, and I think that’s why they are all coming back, which is great. I think the pressure of not having to earn something is good.”
This year, Hobbs hopes to get the group involved in donating for Thanksgiving as well possibly visiting some senior homes to sing holiday carols.
The children do receive pins as they advance in the program.
Each year they go up, they will get a different style pin,” says Hobbs.
For older kids, Kristine ran a program last year called Lion Aid, for kids aged 8-12, also sponsored by the Franklin Lions. The group had just four kids, but children, with adult assistance, began to learn how to work on their own service projects. That group will be looking to expand, and Shanahan will likely hold an informational session about it in September.
“When you’re young, you’re learning and teaching and playing,” says Shanahan. “At 9-12, now you want to have your hands on, but you still need hand-holding, so by the time kids reach 13, they have all the skills – leadership, independence, confidence - to do it on their own.
Franklin Pride meets every other Thursday, from 4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m., starting October 11th and following the Franklin Public School schedule. This drop off group only has a cost for t-shirts, and parents who’d like to volunteer do need a CORI through Lions International to participate.
If you have any questions or would like to sign up, contact [email protected]