The Carmi Kiwanis Club met on January 28 with President Alan Saunders calling the meeting to order. Guests introduced included Nick Knight of Town & Country Barber Shop, Justin Dartt and Hannah Howard and Caitlin Keepes of Botsch & Associates CPAs LLC, and Mike Fields of Wabash Retirement Christian Center. Club member Jeremy Jordan announced a March 4th outing to see the Evansville Icemen play. A thank you from Brad Lee was acknowledged for the club’s $500 donation to the Brownsville School. Hanan Issawi won the 50/50 drawing.
President Alan Saunders led the program for the day which was a membership drive day. He invited members to share their reasons for joining Kiwanis. Andrea Hays said she joined the club in 1994 as the second female and has loved it from the start. She is proud of what Kiwanis has done including building and maintaining the Girls Scout cabin. By joining Kiwanis she gets back more than she gives and knows that with every dollar raised every dollar is given away.
Barry Cleveland talked about the club’s local participation with the Girls Scout cabin, the 4-H king and queen contest, and Christmas at Brownsville School. Over the years the club has helped get tennis courts and playground equipment at Bradshaw Park. Regionally the club has helped with projects beneﬁtting Southern Illinois as well as contributing to deal with diseases around the world. As a forty-year member, Barry has had a lot of fun through the club getting to know people from all walks of life. Most importantly it has provided him the opportunity to be part of something greater than self. Kiwanis was the ﬁrst civic club of Carmi, established in 1923.
Chris Myers was introduced to Kiwanis in 1988 through Key Club. The biggest joy for him is to touch the lives of kids, being part of the greater good. He has enjoyed the camaraderie that comes with serving with others to reach those who cannot help themselves.
Kati Sturgal, a ﬁrst year club member, ﬁnds the club to be a great way to get involved in the community. She loves hands-on serving projects evidenced by her participation in Peanut Day, the Corn Day “Chili Cook-Off,” and ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. She said, “If you love serving, this is the place for you.”
Katelyne Wolff joined the club in 2013. Being new to Carmi it provided her with opportunities to meet people and learn about the community. Kiwanis has been an enriching experience for her. She said, “You owe it to yourself to try it out.”
Alan Saunders gave a brief history of Kiwanis. Starting in 1915 in Detroit, MI, Kiwanis has grown to 8,400 clubs in 96 nations. The mission of Kiwanis was updated in 2005 to “Serving the Children of the World.” The local Carmi Kiwanis Club has 72 active members. Some of the club’s projects include: Corn Day (the biggest festival of the year in White County), Pancake Day, Peanut Day, sponsorship of a circus, Girls Scout cabin, Brownsville School Christmas,
Carmi Summer Recreational Leagues, and charity golf outings. The club meets weekly from 12-1 pm featuring a meal and speaker. It is led by a 15 member board that conducts the business of the club.
Steve Winkleman, club treasurer, explained how club dues are distributed and collected. Jim Davis, Kiwanis Lieutenant Governor, spoke of Kiwanis global impact of changing the world one child and one community at a time. Service projects address issues such as malnutrition, illiteracy, and medical access. Kiwanis International has over 600,000 adult and club members.
Each year Kiwanis Clubs sponsor 150,000 service projects, raise $107 million, and devote 6 million service hours toward humanitarian assistance.