Cy, want to come to the Kiwanis breakfast with me tomorrow?" Al asked after our morning walk. To my puzzled expression, he replied, "Kiwanis is an international organization of service clubs. Ours is the Kiwanis of the Severn. We meet for breakfast and fellowship Thursday mornings at the Salvation Army on Hilltop Road." Recently retired, but with a feeling that I had more to do with my life, I agreed to go with Al and took another "chance step on my journey through life."
At that first meeting I met a bright, friendly group with a focus on children they called Young Children: Priority One. I liked the emphasis on helping children. When I joined Kiwanis, I became one of some 20 members supporting local and community projects, all concerned about the needs of others, especially children.
One project helps indigent groups around the world who lack iodine in their diets. Iodine deficiency increases incidence of heart, liver, kidney, muscle functions, and endocrine malfunctions that can cause goiter in adults and brain damage in children.
I was proud to discover that the goal of Kiwanis International is to rid the world of iodine deficiency (IDD) with funds raised by Kiwanis clubs throughout the world. Every penny raised for Kiwanis projects supports those projects. Our club does fundraising in a variety of ways.
This year, on Sept. 15, we were to host our third annual golf tournament at the Renditions course in Davidsonville. Proceeds from this and other fundraising events support our annual Christmas party for the children and staff at Central Special School in Edgewater, to present annual awards for community service to outstanding citizens, police and fire department personnel and to confer Terrific Kids Awards.
To encourage community service, we choose a Teenager of the Year from area high school and middle school candidates. We also send a high school student to the Hugh O'Brien Youth training (HOBY).
Because the Annapolis community supports our fundraising events, we continue to champion The Salvation Army, the Lighthouse Shelter, Habitat for Humanity, Eastern Point Shelter, Ms. Wheelchair America, Special Olympics, Anne Arundel County Library, Children's Art Show and Pasta Fest for area senior centers.
My life is fuller since my "chance step" when I joined Al and our group of special people. Let me do the same for you. Our annual membership roundup will be held on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Hampton Inn on Admiral Cochrane Drive. Come and hear how Kiwanis can enrich your life while you make a difference in the lives of others.