Clubs at Beverly work to help those in need

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Emma Newman staff writer

Out of 85 clubs at Beverly, 13 of the school’s clubs are dedicated to helping people in need, including the Aid for Africa, Scoliosis Awareness and World Literacy Foundation clubs. 

Despite the different purposes that these clubs serve, all hold a common goal of helping those beyond the Beverly Hills community thrive. 

The Scoliosis Awareness club, which works with the Teen CERT club, was founded by junior Natasha Melamed.  Because she has scoliosis, Melamed got fit for her first back brace three years ago, which introduced her to the poor treatment and information that some scoliosis patients receive. 

 The Scoliosis Awareness club is working, specifically this year, to raise money to provide people with medical assistance and to spread awareness surrounding the issue. 

Junior Kaayla Nehmadi created her club, the World Literacy Foundation, this year. This club works to raise money to help people, specifically children, learn how to read and write.

“I think it’s such a critical issue that needs to be solved, so I just made this club to connect to that,” Nehmadi said.

Aid for Africa, which works to raise money for the Africa Schoolhouse foundation, was started by senior Rebekah Sheff when she was a sophomore. This organization works to help African children, specifically in Tanzania, both education and help with living conditions. 

Sheff started this club not only to raise money for the foundation, but also to help raise awareness about her cause around Beverly Hills. 

“I wanted to bring awareness to our community because everyone is so privileged,”  Sheff said. “Not everyone understands how other countries and civilizations work outside of Beverly Hills, so I think it’s important that people become knowledgeable about it.”

Like Sheff, Nehmadi is aware of the lack of hardship that people in Beverly Hills have compared to those in  other countries. 

“In Beverly Hills, growing up in good schools, I’ve had the privilege and I’m sure many other people have had the privilege of learning from great teachers and being focused on as an individual student,”  Nehmadi said. “You have to put it into perspective that not everyone has that privilege.”

Both the World Literacy Foundation and Aid for Africa clubs focus on raising money for their respective causes. Sheff specifically has seen success due to the fundraising events that Aid for Africa has hosted. 

“It’s really meaningful when you get to raise money for something that you care about, and it’s more than just sending the money off,” Sheff said. “You really get to see the direct result and what happens with the money that we raise.” 

On the other hand, the Scoliosis Awareness Club has a main focus on teaching people about the realities and treatments available for the condition, including back braces and doctor visits. 

The club, which is supported by doctors Melamed consulted, has worked this year to spread awareness at Beverly Vista Middle School. To do this, she is working to add scoliosis information to pamphlets at the school.

“A lot of people [do not get] properly diagnosed when scoliosis is most common in middle school, so our goal is to try to [show], especially the younger kids, what they can do to help and do that through the middle schools, so we’re working on that currently,” Melamed said. 

The World Literacy Foundation club is also taking active steps to help the lives of children through fundraisers and bake sales. Through literacy, Nehmadi believes that her club could be useful as a way of fighting against poverty. 

“Reading is something that is so critical in life,” Nehmadi. “If you don’t know how to read from the beginning, you can’t read street signs [and] you can’t read textbooks in order to learn even more. It impares you for the rest of your life. It holds you back forever if you can’t read.” 

The Scoliosis Awareness club is also working to achieve a similar goal, because to Melamed, every small step counts.  

“It’s for a really great cause,” Melamed said. “A lot of people, even if you may not know it, are affected by scoliosis. I think it’s just great to spread awareness, [and] you’re doing something great for the whole community. Even if you can help just a couple people get into a back brace or go see a doctor, I think that’s just really impactful.”

When working to help create this impact on people’s lives, Sheff believes that it’s not just about helping an individual cause: it’s also about working together in a club environment. 

“It’s really fun to work as a group [while] doing this,” Sheff said. “When everyone’s passionate about what they’re doing, it means more.” 

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