You can tell, by now, that volunteering and service are near and dear to my heart – even though I haven’t actually retired, yet. I am a proud member of the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg, because we improve our community. Kiwanis clubs focus on improving the world by serving children, one child and one community at a time, giving us the unique opportunity to help make Williamsburg, Virginia a better world, today, while building the leaders of tomorrow.
Service is certainly at the heart of our Kiwanis club, in Williamsburg. Some of our members give money, others give time and many give both. Members come to our weekly lunch meeting, , to socialize with their friends and to listen to interesting speakers. Some of these members have been part of the Kiwanis Club since Williamsburg’s founding, in 1958 – with only 28 members. Today we have over 170! I am proud to be part of one of the largest clubs in the Capital District because we are so active and do so much. I am also very fond of this particular club, for 3 reasons:
- I joined this group when I changed careers from a Systems Engineer to become a Realtor. I thought it would be a great networking tool to generate leads for my business. Instead of making me money, it has made me rich in a different way: I made great friends that I admire greatly and these friendships have become my social life, over the years. I have networked, certainly, but more than that, I have found relationships.
- In my previous career I traveled much of the time and did not really know Williamsburg. As part of the Kiwanis Club, I quickly learned much more about the amazing community we live in. Kiwanians make an impact, every day, in all parts of Williamsburg and because of our reach, I have learned of activities and support networks that I never would have known about. I have become an expert on this community that I live in and love.
- I love the feeling that volunteering gives me – that I have truly helped our Williamsburg’s children and when you give a child a gift (of reading, of friendship, of hope, of a dream), great things can and do happen.
Kiwanis International is home to the largest youth service programs in the world. To reach more people and have a greater service impact on our communities while teaching leadership skills our club sponsors, we have seven Kiwanis family clubs; Builders Clubs for adolescents; Key Clubs for teens; CKI clubs for university students and Aktion Clubs for adults living with disabilities.
I have been a very active member for my entire affiliation with the club, but for several years I served as an adviser to the Aktion Club (this club allows adults with disabilities to participate in community service projects and gain leadership skills); this position was very rewarding. I also served as President– that was really fun, as I got to meet and help choose our speakers, and even got to take my lovely wife to the Kiwanis Club International Conference, twice – once to New Orleans and the other to Geneva, Switzerland! Romantic travel with my lovely wife and unforgettable memories of how Kiwanis clubs in 80 countries improve their communities around the world!
Today, I serve as an active volunteer, as the club’s webmaster, co-chairman of the annual Smokin’ Hot BBQ fundraiser, and attend our weekly meetings. Our meetings are very well attended, not only for the fellowship but also for our tremendous speakers. We’ve had Command Chief of Ft. Eustis, Governor of Virginia candidates and VIPs from NASA Langley and Jefferson Labs speak. Each April, every Kiwanis club comes together for a day of hands-on community service that is felt around the world; we call it Kiwanis One Day.
Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg is a community that gives – and knows the value of giving. Besides hours and hours of volunteer hours of feeding, delivering, reading, and visiting, the club stages four annual fundraisers, including: Shamrock the Burg , Kiwanis Club Spring Concert at the Kimball Theater “Let’s Swing into Spring,” the Smokin Hot BBQ Fest, and the Kiwanis Shrimp Feast. These events bring a focus on community and raise money for the many programs we support, the headliners this year being: Avalon, Bacon Street, and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. To know that you do more for the world than the world does for you is the true meaning of success to a Williamsburg Kiwanian!
By The Way, put Smokin’ Hot BBQ Fest on your calendar, for Saturday, April 26, 2014. It will be held at the Walsingham Academy, for $10 admission. Music by Smith Wade Band and Herbie D and the Dangermen. Great cause; great event. I will be there, will you?
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