The Caring Cats Club at Conway High School seeks to perform acts of kindness that benefit the school and the community while encouraging students to carry that mission into every aspect of their lives.
"Wherever there’s a need to do things for others, that’s what we do," sponsor Cheryl Daniels said.
She said the way they do that is through several different projects the club, with more than 300 members, spearheads throughout the school year.
The group held one of those projects, the annual Powder Puff Game, on Oct. 18 where the girls in the club played touch football and the boys dressed up as cheerleaders to cheer them on.
Daniels said the event raised $3,945.37 for the Special Olympics.
"We’ve never made that before," she said.
She said a big part of the money came from Best Buddies, which matches current students with disabilities with other students to become friends, raising money for the Powder Puff King and Queen, Henry Lonix and Amiya Ealy, who were crowned by CHS principal Jason Lawrence.
"It was our version of homecoming," Daniels said.
In addition to the game and Best Buddies, the club also does the Cara McCollum Birthday Book Project, which provides a new book for every child at Ida Burns and Ellen Smith elementary schools for their birthdays; the cereal drive where they’ve collected anywhere between 3,000 to 4,000 boxes; puts together packages for service men and women; and helps with the American Wheelchair Mission to provide new, free wheelchairs to people who can’t afford them.
Daniels said they do another project, Angel Paws, similar to Angel Tree, which focuses on families who have fallen through the cracks through contacting school counselors and getting a list of items students want.
She said once the lists have been received, they put the items on paws and hang them up on a board for all students to see, choose and take home to purchase the item.
"We’ll literally have a couple thousand paws up there," Daniels said.
She said it’s amazing watching students get so involved in the projects.
"To see kids wanting do things for others … I think kids have always wanted to; they just didn’t have an avenue, didn’t know where to start," Daniels said.
She said that’s what Caring Cats is about — giving students an opportunity to get involved somewhere and the club has no restrictions like a specific GPA requirements or dues requirements.
"All you have to do is want to belong and be with a group who wants to help people," Daniels said.
Another project they’re working on currently, Soctober, was thought up by a student, Miller Miles, in effort to bring in needed socks for the homeless population.
Daniels said when students think up ideas on their own all she and co-sponsor Alye Bell need to do is guide them and help put it into action.
"I think they become great leaders because of that," she said.
Watching students grow through their time in the club is Daniels’ favorite part of teaching.
"It’s the best," she said. "Our kids are just unbelievable."
Daniels said she wanted everyone to know about the great things these students — especially presidents Kylee French and Maddie Hefner — are doing.
"I’m proud to be a part of it," she said.