“Come on, it’ll be fun. You’ll have a good time, I promise.”
How many times have you heard that? And how many times has it turned out to be true?
But we think there’s some benefit to stepping outside your comfort zone, trying something new and meeting new people. Everyone gets in a rut. There are family obligations, kids need a ride to soccer or ballet practice. There’s work, church, household chores. Sometimes there are not enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done.
And then a friend or colleague says, “Hey, my Kiwanis club is doing a service project this weekend. Why don’t you join us? We had a food drive a couple of weeks ago, and we’re putting all the stuff we collected in backpacks to give to kids who won’t get meals over the upcoming holiday weekend.” Or, they suggest, “My Kiwanis club is having a pancake breakfast this weekend to earn money to send kids to camp this summer. We need some more volunteers to serve coffee and juice.” Or, “If you’re not too busy on Saturday, my Kiwanis club will be at the park doing some spring cleaning and painting. Another set of hands would be so helpful. The city just can’t afford to do the routine maintenance on that park anymore.”
On the surface, the projects don’t sound too exciting. Some even sound like work. But the one thing they have in common is that eventually kids benefit. Every Kiwanis club around the world — and there are more than 8,300 adult clubs — does something to help a kid. Why? Because too many kids don’t have the opportunity to thrive, prosper and grow. That’s why kids need Kiwanis.
And Kiwanis needs you. Over the years, Kiwanis has stepped in to fill gaps that exist because of funding cuts in schools and municipalities. Sometimes it’s with playgrounds; other times it’s with books. It all depends on the community. Here in Crawfordsville and Montgomery County it’s managing Operation Toy Box, or helping at the Youth Service Bureau, or holding a kickball tournament, or working with the Key Clubs in our three county high schools. Sometimes we do projects and events just because they’re fun, and the kids enjoy them.
Sometimes, the adults enjoy them too, and they discover that the benefits go beyond helping kids. Studies show that volunteering can provide a sense of purpose in life. When you help others, that feeling is returned to you by giving you greater satisfaction in life. You get opportunities for personal growth and the ability to empathize with others, according to Encore.org, a nonprofit formed to help individuals find and develop second careers as volunteers.
We’re not asking you to volunteer every day or even every week. We’re asking you to invest your skills in this community by helping kids who most need your guidance, mentoring and friendship. Volunteering will give you the ability to solve problems, strengthen communities, improve the lives of others, connect to others and transform your own life, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service. And it provides the kids an opportunity to grow up in a community where they are happy, healthy, safe and loved.
Along with the emotional benefits, volunteering provides health benefits that include lowering your blood pressure, reducing stress and helping manage your cardiovascular health, according to a study by Harvard University.
How can you say no to something that will help others and help you too? The Kiwanis Club of Crawfordsville hopes you won’t.
And, the kids need you. The more members we have, the more kids we can help. Kids need Kiwanis — and the kids need you. Who knows, you might benefit as much, or more, than them.
Find out more at our next Kiwanis club meeting. The local club meets at 11:30 a.m. every Thursday on the lower level of the Crawfordsville District Public Library and welcome you to join us. Come on out and we’ll have lunch. For more information email CrawfordsvilleKiwanis@yahoo.com.
This column was provided by the Crawfordsville Kiwanis club.
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