JOI Club welcomes new members

Emmaline Allen, Staff Writer

Pictured above are JOI volunteers helping out at the 2019 Country Oaks Pancake Dinner by serving pancakes, drinks, and candy to Country Oaks students and families (Photo Courtesy of Christen Broughton).

“Promise yourself to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.” This is one of the promises in the Junior Optimist Inter-national Club creed that members promise themselves to uphold.
Officially formed in 1988– but not introduced to Milford High School until early 2018– JOI Club mainly focuses on helping students find ways to serve in their community. Students in the club are expected to attend the monthly meetings, and participate in community service as well as other service projects. In JOI, students seek to become better leaders and good citizens while building teamwork and communication skills.
Last year, students participated in projects, such as making signs for downtown Milford during MLK Day, making blankets, and cleaning up the Huron River. This past summer, students sold water bottles for the Huron Valley Optimist Club and their Blessings in a Backpack program at Milford Memories. While the club is mostly student led, teacher and JOI Club Sponsor Heather Lutz has been directing the club since the start. Some of Lutz’s favorite projects have been helping with elementary school book fairs, fun runs, and the Math Pentathlon. In 2020, it was hard for people to find ways to contribute, since everyone had to stay home. “I was proud of our club when we continued to spread joy last year by making blankets for a local women’s shelter,” Lutz said. Stu-dents are now planning ways to help the community, and finding ways to execute their plans.
Students Leading Students, or SLS, was previously led by Huron Valley Community Coalition, and former counselor Gina Pryor. Unfortunately, SLS couldn’t be continued this year due to a lack of members. JOI and Huron Valley Community Coalition have teamed up to accomplish more this school year. JOI is expanding its priorities to cover some of SLS’ past goals, and The Huron Valley Community Coalition is funding some of JOI’s needs, so their plans can be executed.
JOI’s main focuses are inclusion, safety, and teaching kids that saying “No” to peer pressure is ok. “Some of our goals this year are to seek out opportunities in the community and help people in need,” Senior President Chris-ten Broughton said. “We are also focusing on creating a safer and kinder school environment.”
Whether it be through big or small changes, JOI and it’s officers are trying to create an encouraging and friendly atmosphere that others want to be a part of. “It’s really fun and a really good way to influence others and yourself to do the right thing,” said Senior Secretary Bryn Graskewicz. “You always feel welcomed there.” When asked about her personal goals for JOI Club, Junior Treasurer Abby Hess said, “Some of my goals in JOI are to get to know my fellow students, and to help spread positivity through the school.” Without a doubt, students are what make JOI Club thrive.
JOI is hoping to recruit new members. Monthly meetings are held in Lutz’s classroom during Wednesday Seminar periods. Anyone is encouraged to join, and many enjoy the meetings. JOI’s leaders are looking for feedback on some of the things people would like to see in meetings, such as types of projects, activities, and even snacks. “JOI Club is so much fun.” Said Senior Co-Vice President Norah Armijo. “If you are interested in helping out in your community and making a difference, then JOI is for you!”

Pictured above from left to right is Christen Broughton, Abbie Hess, Norah Armijo, and Emma Allen, four of the five JOI Officers for this school year (Photo Courtesy of JOI Club).