For the Children: The Kiwanis Club is Coming to North Brunswick

by Jan 27, 2016Across the Cape Fear, Brunswick County, Nonprofits, North Brunswick

Members of the Southport-Oak Island Kiwanis Club are helping to set up a Kiwanis Club in the North Brunswick area.

North Brunswick is blessed with a multitude of compassionate people who share their special interests and talents with the community. Whether these individuals are longtime residents, newcomers, retirees, active families or business owners, they all express genuine pride in the community and a desire to get involved.

For those ready to undertake a new rewarding endeavor — or those who haven’t yet found their volunteering niche — an exciting volunteer opportunity is here. The Southport-Oak Island Kiwanis Club is building a club charter in North Brunswick. This is the perfect place, since all it takes to launch this Kiwanis Club and set it in motion is caring, kind-hearted, dedicated individuals willing to spend a few volunteer hours a month making a positive impact on children’s lives.

Kiwanis International is a global organization founded in 1915 in Detroit, Michigan. It welcomes members of all ages, has presence in 80 nations and geographic areas, and has more than 15,000 clubs for adults and youth. The organization’s motto is “Serving the Children of the World.”

While Kiwanis International takes on such worldwide endeavors as eliminating iodine deficiencies and maternal/neonatal tetanus, the local Kiwanis Clubs serve the unique needs of children in their particular community. Each Kiwanis charter is distinctive in the creative ways it strives to support the unique challenges of its own area’s youth.

Kiwanis raises money for many child-centered programs, activities and scholarships, as well as sponsors many Service Leadership Programs. For example, the program First Tee is designed for children to build character traits with the unique combination of learning the sport of golf. The Circle K is organized to help college students develop community awareness and initiate service projects. The Key Club and the Builder’s Club foster leadership qualities and strong moral character of high school and middle school students through working on fund-raising projects for their school and community. Teen Court and Peer Court are alternative systems of justice for first-time high school and middle school offenders who go before a jury of peers. Furthermore, Terrific Kids is a program that works with elementary-age students to establish certain goals to improve behavior, leadership and grades. Other programs offer tutoring, reading to preschoolers or simply listening to students tell what is on their mind without them having fear of judgment. The list goes on.

The Southport-Oak Island Kiwanis Club just celebrated its 18th year and continues to be very successful in helping the youth of Brunswick County. Their expectation is to bring this same accomplishment to the northern part of the county.

“Our club has already started some programs in North Brunswick,” says Past President Mike Clune of the Southport-Oak Island Kiwanis Club. “We have begun the Key Club and Teen Court in North Brunswick High School and will offer scholarship money.”

The club recognizes the growing population of North Brunswick and knows of the area’s continuing youth needs.

“We see possibilities in the Leland area,” says Clune. “The Superintendent of Schools supports Kiwanis and welcomes their leadership and is looking forward to getting Kiwanis on board volunteering in the community.”

Kiwanis also partners with other area organizations.

“We partner with programs like Community In Schools (CIS) and follow the criteria that they require,” says Peg McDonald, board member of the Southport-Oak Island Kiwanis Club. “For example, Kiwanis members are required to get a full background check and work in teams and follow all of the stipulations that guarantee the safety of the children.”

Of course, as with other organizations working for the community, fund-raisers are a crucial part of Kiwanis’ continuation. The Southport-Oak Island Kiwanis has had many successful events. One of their largest is assisting with the Southport Spring Festival.

“One of our major fund-raisers in support of our programs is the Southport Spring Festival. We sell plants, hot dogs and host a 5K Run/Walk,” says Clune.

Other fund-raising events during the year include a golf tournament, a grocery raffle and a bridge tournament.

“What is great about the fund-raisers,” says McDonald, “is that all the proceeds go directly to the kids and the community, and a big portion of the money goes to scholarships. We fund our own club mainly through our dues.”

So, what will it take for North Brunswick to have its own Kiwanis Charter?

“First, we would like to start with about ten members,” says Clune, “with a person willing to serve as dual president/secretary to get things started. Then, we could apply for a charter. It would then be up to the members [as to] when and where they would like to meet…whatever works best for those involved. They would also get to pick their own name.”

Once the club is established, it can identify the needs specific to area youth.

The Southport-Oak Island Kiwanis Club is willing to take the North Brunswick charter in its hand and lead it through its infancy.

“We would even help them begin fund-raising. We would start them off with the successful grocery raffle,” says Clune.

A plethora of volunteer opportunities exists within the Kiwanis Club, so there is plenty of opportunity for individuals to share their strengths and talents.

“There really is something for everyone,” says McDonald.

A benefit that goes naturally with being a member of Kiwanis is the camaraderie and the joy of working next to like-minded individuals who have a common goal.

“There is a social side to the club that fosters life-long friendships,” says McDonald. “Our Kiwanis Club throws a picnic once a year, and it is fun getting together and hearing of others’ experiences.”

Anyone who is interested in making a difference in the life of a child should consider joining Kiwanis.

“We work hard, and the rewards are great,” says Clune. “There is nothing better than seeing the smile on a valedictorian you have helped who says, ‘Wow, a few years ago I wouldn’t have thought I could do this. Thank you!’”

For more information on the Kiwanis Club and becoming a member, please visit
www.southport-oakisland-kiwanis.org or contact Mike Clune at (910) 253-4409 or Peg McDonald at (910) 253-0731.

Sponsored by HWY 55 Leland