“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
I had often thought how I could give back to the community that gave me so much. As a lifelong resident of the area and a Merrillville High School graduate (Class of 1999), I explored my community service options. I found that Kiwanis’ principles closely reflected my own principles. Volunteering shows your community pride and increases the pride in your community. I feel myself and the people of my generation owe a debt of gratitude and service to the older generations that helped shape the people we are. We also owe it to future generations to leave them with a community and world that is better than we will leave it. Joining an organization like Kiwanis, Rotary, or Lions bolsters an environment of service, altruism, and fellowship. It is also a great way to stay abreast of issues that affect your community and bring these matters to the attention of others around you. The foundation of our physical world may be built on the Earth we walk on, but the foundation of humankind is built upon the selfless duty to each other.
Please, volunteer within your community in any way possible. Find the organization that fits your interests and passions and become involved.
America needs volunteerism now more than ever. Social and charitable programs continue to shrink, tax bases are evaporating and public and private funding aren’t at the levels they used to be. Volunteering helps to bridge the gap created by this shortage of resources in your community. Volunteering and civic duty are certainly not new concepts to this country, but could always use a revitalization. Volunteerism is what has made this country great and has helped this great country through hard times.
Why volunteer? The reasons are numerous. It is a great way to give back to your community that played a part in developing the person you are today. It strengthens the community you live in. It helps those that are less fortunate. It is a great was to build relationships, both personal and professional. It is an invaluable substitute for money you may not have to donate. It allows you to gain and foster leadership skills. It can benefit your career by helping you learn different skills, developing current skills, help you to experience other career avenues that you may want to explore, and at the very least, it looks great on a resume.
So please, find an organization or cause that you believe in and join. It starts with one person to make a world of difference.
“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy
With The Eliminate Project, Kiwanis International and UNICEF have joined forces to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus. This deadly disease steals the lives of 60,000 innocent babies and 30,000 mothers each year. The effects of the disease are excruciating — tiny newborns suffer repeated, painful convulsions and extreme sensitivity to light and touch.
To eliminate MNT from the Earth by 2015, 129 million mothers and their future babies must be immunized. This requires vaccines, syringes, safe storage, transportation, thousands of skilled staff and more. It will take $110 million — and the dedicated work of UNICEF and every member of the Kiwanis family.
Kiwanis and UNICEF joined forces to tackle iodine deficiency disorders, achieving one of the most significant public health successes of the 20th century. Now, they are eliminating MNT from the face of the Earth. And in doing so, the project will reach the poorest, most neglected mothers and babies with additional lifesaving health care. The end of this one disease means the beginning of better health for so many families.
Kiwanis International is one of the many service organizations in the country and around the world. Kiwanis’ goals include helping children and developing stronger human relationships and communities. Kiwanis was founded in Detroit, Michigan by Joseph C. Prance and Allen S. Browne in 1915. The organization is currently based in Indianapolis, Indiana with more than 8,400 clubs in 96 nations and over 600,000 active members.
Kiwanis has many types of clubs. In addition to traditional Kiwanis clubs, there is the Aktion Club for adults living with disabilities, Circle K Club for university students, Key Club for teenagers, Builders Club for adolescents, and Kiwanis Kids for primary school students.
Kiwanis members volunteer more than 6 million hours and raise almost $100 million per year. The charities and organizations served by Kiwanis are numerous. Kiwanis works with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and has worked towards the elimination of maternal/neonatal tetanus and iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) worldwide. Kiwanis clubs also have the ability to help local organizations and charities. The familiar Kiwanis Peanut Day utilizes peanut sales to raise nearly $60 million for local charities. Merrillville Kiwanis Club has helped local organizations such as Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, Ronald McDonald House, Reach Out and Read, Camp Lawrence, March of Dimes, Salvation Army, Merrillville High School Scholarship Fund, Boy and Girl Scouts, and the Merrillville Kiwanis Dictionary Project, which aims to supply every third grade student in Merrillville with a dictionary.
Joining Kiwanis offers opportunities for both you and the people and community around you.
The Merrillville Noon Kiwanis would like to extend a great big THANK YOU to Strack and Van Til at 7201 Taft Street for once again partnering with our club to collect donations during our annual Peanut Sales fundraiser.
Kiwanis is proud to work with local businesses like Strack and Van Til to support projects and programs that benefit the members of our community. ONE-HUNDRED PERCENT of the proceeds of Kiwanis Peanut Day sales, after the cost of the peanuts, goes directly into community needs.
If you would like to learn how you can join with Kiwanis to support your local community contact Barb Koby, join us at our weekly meeting every Thursday at noon at Petros Restaurant in Merrillville, or visit the Kiwanis International website.