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Kiwanis Club volunteers at Family Development Center

By Gabrielle Terrett

The Vicksburg Post

The Vicksburg Kiwanis Club celebrated its Kiwanis One Day event at the Vicksburg Family Development Center Saturday.

“Typically what we do every year is all Kiwanians set aside one day out of the year to do a service project,” said Philip Schrader, immediate past president for the Vicksburg Kiwanis Club and current district lieutenant governor. “So not only is our local club doing a service project here, but other clubs in other communities, in other states, in other countries are also doing service projects today.”

This year the club selected the Vicksburg Family Development Center, which is in the process of remodeling, as the organization to volunteer with.

“How we normally do it is we keep an eye out for a need that must be filled and we will reach out to places or ask our members if they know anyone that has a need that must be filled,” said Schrader. “Then we will get a handful of people that need stuff done and we choose which one we would be most able to help, whether it’s doing outdoor yard work or painting walls or doing construction or something like that. We will decide as a board which one of the groups we are most able to help.”

The Kiwanis Club is defined as a service club and not a civics club. Therefore serving the community is the main priority of the organization said Schrader.

The club has more than 8,000 branches worldwide including more than 100,000 members. The Vicksburg Kiwanis club has more than 70 members and branches off into younger clubs such as the Key club said Ed Wong sponsor of the Vicksburg High School Key Club.

“The Kiwanis Club sponsors our group and what we do is when they have their luncheon every Tuesday they invite our kids to attend and each year they have this  K1 day where Kiwanis comes up with a project and Key Club works hand in hand with the Kiwanis Club on those projects,” said Wong. “This is a good way for our students in high school to mingle with business leaders and also civic leaders in the community.”

The president of the Kiwanis Club said the Vicksburg Family Development Center was chosen this year because of how busy the employees were with the families being helped.

“The staff, they’re so busy doing work that they have to do for the center,” said Heidi Burrell, president of the Kiwanis Club and director of resource development at United Way. “The mentoring, the coaching, the home visits, they don’t have time to do anything like this so it’s just so great that we can come in as a service and do something like this for them.”

The Kiwanis and Key Club’s efforts did not go unnoticed by the development center.

“What the clubs do is huge, all of the things that they are working on and doing this morning are things that we would not have the time or the resources to get done,” Kay Lee, director of the Vicksburg Family Development Center, said. “So this is a huge help because it’s important things that they are doing and they do in an excellent way. It may have taken two or three staff persons a lot longer than it took all of the students and volunteers.”

Members of the clubs painted rooms in the development center’s main building and cleaned car seats while also making sure all of the straps were intact.

The Development Center is always open to volunteers and is extremely thankful for the help of the Kiwanis and Key Clubs, said Lee.