Kiwanis Club invite leads to volunteerism

Published 10:52 am Friday, September 25, 2015

In 2009, Katie Ferrell was invited to attend a meeting of the Vicksburg Kiwanis Club.

That invitation led to membership and was the catalyst for her involvement with other community service organizations. As she put it, “it really took off from there.”

In the six years since joining Kiwanis, Ferrell has been an active volunteer in several community service organizations, serving as the 2015 United Way of West Central Mississippi campaign chairman, and on the Good Shepherd Board of Directors, Southern Cultural Heritage Center Board, and is a former Junior Auxiliary board member. In October, she takes the gavel as Vicksburg Kiwanis Club president.

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“I have found that most everything I’ve been involved with in some way or the other intertwines with each other,” she said.

A Vicksburg native, she attended Vicksburg High School and the University of Southern Mississippi. Her father has a commercial plumbing business and her husband works with him.

A banker at Trustmark Bank, Ferrell said she first joined Kiwanis as a way to network and get to know the community better, but her focus changed after she became involved in the club’s activities and got to know more people in the community. One of the first things she did after joining Kiwanis was join its board of directors.

It’s a practice she’s followed with other organizations.

“I tend to get more involved by serving on the board,” she said. “Most everything I’ve been involved with, I’ve stepped up and served on the board. I just feel I know what’s going on a little easier serving in those roles.”

Her invitation to join the Junior Auxiliary came soon after she joined Kiwanis.

She said Kiwanis and Junior Auxiliary serve children, “and that is near and dear to my heart. I have a 5-year-old little girl and a two-year-old little boy, and the Junior Auxiliary’s mission and Kiwanis’ are pretty much in line with each other.”

During her last year with JA, she became involved with a project at Good Shepherd Community Center that evolved into her serving on its board.

“I fell in love with Good Shepherd and asked if I could serve on its board, because I was finishing up my term at JA and wanted to remain involved there,” she said.

“Good Shepherd serves the needs of about 60 to 80 children on a daily basis and the children, any time you go by there, they just love to see you,” Ferrell said, adding when she was with JA, she helped tutor two first-graders during that organization’s project with Good Shepherd.

She later coordinated a joint work project involving JA and Kiwanis members to help the center, and also participated in the center’s meals on wheels program.

She was serving as a donor investment advocate for United Way when executive director Michele Connelly to serve as its campaign chair.

“I was very honored, very humbled by that opportunity,” she said. “When I said yes, I wasn’t totally sure what I was signing up for at that time, but it has been probably the most rewarding role thus far that I’ve served in. It has been an amazing ride in that role this year.”

She joined the Southern Heritage Center Board out of her love of the buildings and their history, calling it “one of our biggest treasures in Vicksburg.”

“You can almost do anything there,” she said. “There are lots of programs for children. I’m anxious for my children to be of age to attend then.”

Ferrell said the true motive for her volunteer work is to make Vicksburg a better place for her children.

“Everything I do is ultimately for my children,” Ferrell said. “I know that by serving in these roles I will create a better place for them to grow up, and I want them to see their mom giving back and having fun and getting to know people within the community.

“I believe it’s important to have my children see me serving and giving back to the community,” she said.

“I think we as parents have that responsibility to our children and also they get to have a little fun with it.”

Volunteering, she said, is “just the right thing to do, and it makes me feel good, and as my children get older I think they’ll only start to see that, and hopefully, they’ll start to do the same.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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