Published 7:12 pm Monday, February 19, 2024

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The Kiwanis Club met on the Georgia South Western Campus. International president Katrina Baranko gave the address.

She talked about the visual impact Kiwanis left on the landscape during her travels, recounting park benches and ball fields that were built by the club. She talked about the importance of leaders in maintaining this impact.

“You, as leaders are so important to the growth of Kiwanis. One of your responsibilities as a leader is to identify, encourage, mentor and support those that are coming along to follow you.”

She mentioned that they are losing clubs not due to a lack of membership, but leadership.

“I would not be standing here today as your international president had it not been for those Kiwanis mentors that tapped me on the shoulder.”

Baranko talked about how her international travels gave her a global perspective on the club’s impact.

“All around the world, it is great to see the difference these Kiwanians have made and the passion they have. Never doubt the difference Kiwanians are making all over the world.”

She talked about one project undertaken by Kiwanis in Malaysia that stood out.

“While I was there, I had the opportunity to tour the school for down syndrome children. In that town, in that city, if you had a down syndrome child, there was no school for them to go to. Not only did the Kiwanis club sponsor and support that school, they built that school.”

Baranko mentioned that one issue that will be discussed at the international convention is a dues increase of $25. The last dues increase was 2012.

“The cost of running an international organization is not cheap. We really do not want to cut things that would affect the clubs, and the districts and the programs.”

Baranko left those in attendance with a picture of Kiwanis’s importance.

“I love light houses, and so I always think about Kiwanis as being the light in the community. Sometimes you guys are the only ray of hope a child has in order to have a brighter future.”