By Ross Markman
The four students participating in Havre Middle School's Culture Club aren't in it for praise or recognition or to see their names in print.
Sorry, kids, you're getting it anyway.
At Tuesday night's City Council meeting, Havre Mayor Bob Rice will honor the students Justin Wood, Sarah Damson, Robert The Boy and Tyler The Boy with a community service award. Rice said he plans to present the award monthly to an individual or group demonstrating community involvement.
"When I told them about (the award), they got grins on their faces. I think they'll realize it more when they actually get it," said Marlyn Damson, the club's volunteer coordinator. "But they're not doing the work for what they're going to get out of it. They just enjoy it."
Rice said the honor is all about pride in Havre, something he has been advocating since his term began in January.
"Just being involved in your community and doing things just for the sake of random acts of kindness. There are a lot of people out there doing things we don't even know about," Rice said.
"I thought about this a long time ago. I had talked to (former mayor) Phyllis (Leonard) about making a community service award," he added.
Rice said he was contacted by Damson, who informed him of the Culture Club's volunteer efforts. The club, Damson said, has adopted Eagles Manor, a Havre retirement community, as the focus of their attention.
"This month, for Valentine's Day, they made Valentine's Day cards for everybody up there," Damson said.
The kids also design new place mats for the Eagles Manor dining room each month.
"I felt it would be good for the kids to do something for the older people and work in the community without being paid," Damson said.
Rice said the Culture Club, which will receive a framed certificate signed by the mayor, was an easy choice to be the award's first recipient.
"(Damson) told me what they did and I was impressed with it," Rice said. "This award revolves around community involvement."
The club's primary goal, Damson said, is for students of different races and backgrounds to learn about cultures other than their own. Three of the four kids in the club are Native American; one is white.
"I think all of our kids need to learn how to interact with each other without looking at color. Our theme is to learn about culture," Damson said.
The club has gone beyond its original mission, and its leader is hopeful it will grow in numbers and volunteer endeavors.
"I think what I like about (the community service award) is a lot of kids' names are recognized in the paper for bad things, but with this, they're being recognized for good things," Damson said. "Things like this give kids incentive to do more good things."