(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Several Manila residents are joining together to organize a Kiwanis Club in Manila. Kiwanis, founded in 1915 and headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.
Newly elected President Jeremy Bennett said there is a lot of interest and enthusiasm in getting the Kiwanis started in Manila.
"We had our organizational meeting on Oct. 30," Bennett said. "We are determining our focus projects and working to increase membership. The Blytheville Kiwanis Club is mentoring us and has been very helpful. One of the Missouri/Arkansas District Governor's goals is starting new clubs in different communities and he met with us offering information on the mission, goals, commitment and rewards of being part of the Kiwanis organization."
In addition to Bennett, other officers include J.P. Baugher, vice president; Wanda Gamble, secretary; Faith Jackson Moore, treasurer; Mary Jon Ashley, Larry and Kellye Brown, Jeremy Gamble and Pam Castor, Board of Directors.
Some of the initial project ideas from the group included establishing a Key Club for high school students (a junior chapter of the Kiwanis); organizing a BUG (Bring Up Grades) Club for elementary students with a focus on literacy programs; sponsoring prenatal and maternal health seminars; and establishing a scholarship fund for seniors.
The group also discussed fund-raising projects.
"Hopefully, we will have more men and women in the community join once the word gets out," Bennett said. "The more people we have involved, the more we can accomplish."
Manila Kiwanis is now meeting every Monday evening. Once it is organized the group plans to meet every other Monday evening.
"There are no attendance requirements," Bennett said. "We know people are very busy. We hope to have committees to work on different projects. Men and women of all ages are welcome to join us."
The group plans to set up a table at a home basketball game to distribute information and applications. One of their first fund-raising projects will be a concession at the Manila Christmas parade on Dec. 2.
"Everything in the program is geared to benefit children and youth of the community," Bennett said. "Our goal is to work in the community with other organizations."
Secretary Wanda Gamble said the new club has some good things planned and it will be good for the community.
For more information anyone interested may call Moore at 561-3032. The group is also in the process of establishing a permanent meeting place.