Since the late 1980’s, (I guess I’m getting old, but I prefer that to the alternative), I’ve been actively involved in local charities in the Greater Boston area. Two of my favorites are Rotary and Kiwanis.
I joined the West Roxbury/Roslindale Rotary Club in 1989 and have since been its VP three times and President on four separate occasions. Kiwanis came a bit later, but I’ve also served as both VP and President of that group.
(There are many reasons to join service organizations. Mine was simply that I wanted to give something back to my community. Others are joining with networking in mind. I like my reason better, but if you participate actively and have an ethical streak in you, business will come your way over time.)
Despite intense competition for donations and membership, both Rotary and Kiwanis are flourishing in the West Roxbury and Roslindale section of Boston. My clubs are even teaming up as “partners in service” by coordinating fundraising strategies and participating in joint activities such as the upcoming Rotary vs. Kiwanis softball game to benefit the Jason Roberts Challenger Program (a baseball league for “differently abled” kids).
People sometimes see these groups as non-profit “dinosaurs” or relics of a time when men dominated all business organizations, including service clubs. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The men and women of Rotary and Kiwanis are doing great things, helping lots of people (especially children) and adding tremendous value to the communities they serve.
I have found my experiences in Rotary and Kiwanis to be highly fulfilling, both personally and professionally, and I encourage my readers to consider joining one of these great organizations. Find a club near you at http://www.rotary.org or http://www.kiwanis.org. Stop by a meeting as a guest and see what they’re all about. You won’t be disappointed.