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Staying Engaged!

Staying Engaged!

As May slips into June, many tra­di­tion­al cel­e­bra­to­ry occa­sions occur…graduations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day (the lat­ter two of which are cel­e­brat­ed on the same cal­en­dar day in all of the coun­tries in which our mem­bers live). For many of us, the cel­e­bra­tion looked or will look dif­fer­ent this year, due to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. Yet, we have been find­ing mem­o­rable ways to hon­or our moth­ers, fathers, and graduate

In the same way, many of our Kiwa­nis clubs are man­ag­ing to stay in touch, con­duct busi­ness, serve, and gain new mem­bers through­out the pan­dem­ic. I con­tin­ue to be inspired by the lead­er­ship, cre­ativ­i­ty, and high-mind­ed ser­vice of Kiwanians.

Con­sid­er, for exam­ple, the Ocean­side, New York Kiwa­nis Club that con­nect­ed restau­rants that were los­ing mon­ey or clos­ing with the need for meals for first respon­ders. They invit­ed the com­mu­ni­ty to donate through social media, start­ed with $27,000 in dona­tions, and split the order among the restau­rants. Now they sched­ule drop offs at dif­fer­ent loca­tions for 3 meals a day. It has become a com­mu­ni­ty-wide project.

The same is true for the one-year-old Greater River­ton Area, IL, Kiwa­nis Club. Soon after orga­niz­ing, they start­ed a bless­ing box that their inher­it­ed Key Club stocked as need­ed. It mor­phed into a food source for those in the com­mu­ni­ty who became unem­ployed. The club now receives dona­tions of $2500-$3000 a week, in addi­tion to dona­tions of food, to stock the box up to 11 times dai­ly and to sup­ply a dri­ve-through food pantry at the busi­ness of one of the club members.

Like­wise, the Greater Port­more Kiwa­nis Club on the south­ern coast of Jamaica devel­oped a #WECARE plan. They have pro­vid­ed hand san­i­tiz­er and clean­ing sup­plies for first respon­ders, food for elder­ly res­i­dents and those who are quar­an­tined, and bar­rels of water for hand-wash­ing sta­tions at hos­pi­tals and police stations.

Then there is the Oril­lia Kiwa­nis Club in Ontario, Cana­da, spon­sor of a 61-year-old music fes­ti­val and com­pe­ti­tion for grants, schol­ar­ships, and tro­phies. When the live per­for­mance was can­celled, the club quick­ly adapt­ed to vir­tu­al per­for­mances with remote judg­ing to give stu­dents access to col­lege oppor­tu­ni­ties and pro­fes­sion­al exposure.

Now more than ever, the world needs Kiwa­nis. Now more than ever, Kiwa­nis needs the Eye of the Tiger eKi­wa­nis Club. Think of what the mem­bers of this club do on a dai­ly basis, from giv­ing away over 35,000 books to under­served chil­dren to open­ing a new club entire­ly through vir­tu­al inter­ac­tions. Thank you for your leadership.

We need your lead­er­ship both now and after we come out into a “new nor­mal.” We need your lead­er­ship to con­tin­ue gain­ing new mem­bers and new clubs. We need your lead­er­ship in engag­ing and retain­ing those mem­bers and clubs. We need your lead­er­ship at every lev­el of the orga­ni­za­tion to keep Kiwa­nis healthy.

Lead on!

Sin­cere­ly,

Barb Thomp­son

Pres­i­dent, Eye of the Tiger eKiwanis

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