BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Community has officially gained its own chapter of the Kiwanis Club.
The Kiwanis Club is an international organization with members in communities across the world. Their goal is to improve the lives of children in each community. Other branches of the Kiwanis Club include the K-Kids and the Key Club.
On Monday, members of the Upshur County Kiwanis Club gathered for their official charter meeting. President of the Upshur County Kiwanis Club Robert Kincaid said the county needed its own charter in order to help children in the most efficient way possible.
“The future of our county is the kids,” Kincaid said. “Kiwanis is all about delivering for the kids or supporting other organizations that support the kids, and that’s what makes us unique, is the fact that we support all organizations and have that mission to provide value to our children and county.”
The Kiwanis District Governor for the state of West Virginia Sam Payne – who attended Monday’s charter ceremony – said one of the organizations Kiwanis partners with is the Salvation Army.
“Being part of Kiwanis is all about knowing what your community needs,” Payne said. “We partner with other organizations for voluntary projects that align with our goals to help the children of our communities. One of those partnerships is with the Salvation Army, recently with bell ringing.”
Kincaid said Kiwanis wants to help other organizations, not compete with them.
“We support other organizations,” Kincaid said. “We have supported the (Upshur County) Christmas Store, we’ve supported the (Central W.Va.) pregnancy center, we’ve supported the Parish House with manpower, and we don’t ask for anything in return because we want these organizations to succeed. We’re not trying to compete with them, we’re trying to facilitate them and help.”
Payne said he enjoys seeing new charters start up because that means more projects for the community will be completed.
“I love seeing this because it means we have folks within the community that want to volunteer, they want to give back and the more folks that we have on the team, the more projects that we can take on,” Payne said. “To see a new club being formed and to see a fantastic group of folks that are willing to come out and give back to the community means quite a bit.”
Kincaid said the Kiwanis club’s current project is the athletic drop-off box available at the Stockert Youth and Community Center where people may donate lightly used sports equipment.
“What we’re going to do is take that and distribute the items out to the different organizations around the county to make sure those things are available for the kids that can’t afford them or are struggling to get those athletic items like cleats, belts, jerseys, baseball gloves and things like that,” he explained.
The Kiwanis club is also trying to establish a sub group of the Kiwanis club, the Key Club at the high school to help with their efforts across the community.
“What is great about our programs in the schools is they can really understand what it’s like to run a meeting or to be a leader within an organization and more, and most importantly, is the service projects within the community they get to participate in,” Payne said.
Payne said the West Virginia District of Kiwanis will celebrate its 100th year this August.