ALBANY — Kiwanis clubs do much good work in the local community, and their efforts are not confined to adults.
Key clubs are sponsored in high-schools by Kiwanis clubs to engage young people in projects benefiting children and the community. One such club – the Southwest Georgia Home School Association Key Club, chartered 12 years ago and sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County – stands out for its breadth of activities, some going on almost simultaneously.
The club’s coordinator, Darlene Butler, brought its officers to a recent meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty. They included president Shelley Brooks, vice-president Allison Goddard; secretary Sara-Ashley Butler; treasurer Abigail Smith, and public relations officer Lindsay Brooks, Shelley Brooks’ sister.
The students took turns speaking briefly about their offices and what is involved in carrying out their duties.
Darlene Butler noted that Key Clubs are “the most powerful youth service organization in the world, not just the United States, but in the world.” They are present in 33 countries around the globe.
The SWGHSA club was only the second home-school key club in the U.S. and was the first in Georgia, said Kristin Caso, the Kiwanis Dougherty member who has been liaison to the Key Club for several years.
“I’m so proud of them, they’ve been doing good work all over our community,” Caso said. “They’re such good kids.” There are currently nearly 60 students involved.
A slide presentation compiled by Lindsay Brooks noted at least 15 different projects and activities the SWGHSA has undertaken. They include the Georgia Leadership Training Conference, the Eliminate Walk to eradicate neo-natal tetanus, the SWGHSA Fall Festival, Operation Christmas Child, assisting with the Kiwanis DoCo annual pancake breakfast, Meals for the Homeless, the Georgia Kiwanis District Convention, Trick-or-Treat for Eliminate, Family Day at the Albany Museum of Art, cleaning around Beattie Road Church of Christ, gift boxes for clients of The Anchorage, the Spring Extravaganza, Arbor Day planting, and helping with the Southwest Georgia Master Gardeners/Kiwanis One-Day Project butterfly garden.
An interesting side note provided by Darlene Butler was that a number of well-known luminaries from the worlds of entertainment, politics, and sports are Key Club alumni. Among them are country singer Alan Jackson, Elvis Presley, actor Brad Pitt, actress and talk-show host Ricki Lake, former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, former President Bill Clinton, and retired New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath.
Asked about alumni of the SWGHSA Key Club, Butler said many have graduated with honors and gone on to Circle K, the college-level Kiwanis program.
David Shivers, a former journalist, is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County.