Kiwanis President Chris Newton challenged members present for Thursday’s luncheon to consider why they chose to join the club and what they now hope to accomplish.
“Why are we Kiwanians? Is it to come up here every Thursday and sit down for lunch? Or is it to actually give back to the community in which we live?” Newton asked. “Are we here as a social organization, or are we here to help the young people in this community become better citizens?”
Members were encouraged to get back to the basics.
“Folks, we have to stop and ask ourselves, what do we want to be in the future,” Newton said. “What can we do to build upon our past, the rich heritage this club has in this community. How are we going to get there?”
Six Kiwanis members were chosen to read aloud the Six Objectives of Kiwanis. These principles are to serve as the guide for both the local and international organization.
- To give primacy to the human and spiritual, rather than the material values of life.
- To encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships.
- To promote the adoption and the application of higher social, business and professional standards.
- To develop, by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive and serviceable citizenship.
- Kwanis clubs, a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render altruistic service and to build better communities.
- To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high idealism which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism and goodwill.
“What is it that makes you a Kiwanian,” Newton questioned. “Why didn’t you join some other civic organization in town? Really ask yourselves, why am I here?”
A majority of the members present for the luncheon recalled who initially brought them to Kiwanis. They relayed their first impressions and the reason they decided to devote time, energy and money into the club.
Matt Ryerson said he was invited by Dr. Rodney Fitzgerald. Soon after he joined his fellow club members at the annual pancake day breakfast. He was immediately pulled into the spirit of Kiwanis.
He was affected by the teamwork and the drive to serve shown by the gathered Kiwanians.
“And really the ability of the group to recognize what we were doing, while it was fun and social, was for a much greater cause,” Ryerson said. “That is what really created my roots in this club.”
Kelvin Bishop said he enjoyed the fun and fellowship found every Thursday at the Kiwanis luncheons.
“Everyone is very busy these days and you’ve just got to have a good time. It has to be a place where you can come and destress for an hour,” Bishop said. “Once you build those friendships, and you have that fun, we are all for the most part giving-people which leads to [service].”
Continued Bishop, “That is why we are all here in the first place: giving back to our community.”
Hugh Walker emphasized the need for new, young members.
“We need to instill in them they need to give back a little bit to the community,” Walker said. “That is what I think we really need to work on, and that is not easy.”
Additional members, like Jerry Arms, Traci Hamilton, Leigh Ann Boyd, Kaye Smith and Andy Hunt shared their stories with the gathered Kiwanians.
Some emphasized the work with children: providing books for Cleveland State Community College’s Dr. Seuss Day; reading to the young members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland; or shopping with kids at Kmart as a part of Brenda Larson’s Creating Christmas Memories event. Others recalled favorite fundraisers, like the organization’s silly talent show.
Kathy Austin said she is proud to be a part of a club which is, “not here to see and be seen. We are here to serve.”
Newton agreed what brought the group together was their work for the greater good.
“Each of us has been blessed, been led, been brought here in some form or fashion...” Newton said. “What we do makes a difference. One child at a time.”