Join in ... with the Kiwanis Club of Murray Bridge

Glen Dorsey invites you to join in with a service club that aims to make a difference in children's lives.

“Join In” aims to promote community connections and wellbeing in the Murraylands – and it could promote your business, too. Murray Bridge News is seeking an ongoing sponsor for this regular feature. Find out more.

Say the name “Kiwanis” and you might get a blank look.

Mention Terrific Kids, though, and you might get somewhere – every school in the Murraylands has welcomed the awards program each term for years.

The service club behind that program, and many others around the region – one of the oldest such clubs in Murray Bridge – has a problem.

Its membership has dwindled to about 10 people, president Glen Dorsey says, and most of them are getting on a bit.

The club’s mission to help local kids will be at risk unless more members can be found.

“We’ve been going 25 years last year,” Mr Dorsey said.

“We do kids’ breakfast programs, we supply equipment to schools, we support Operation Flinders ... we do backpacks for AC Care to support homeless kids and so on.

“Wherever there’s a demand for things, we try to accommodate that.”

But, as he put it, the club needed more “bums on seats”.

Here’s why you might think about joining.

When did you first get involved with Kiwanis?

I had a visit from people in one of the sister clubs to try and establish a Kiwanis group (in Murray Bridge) in the early 90s. At that time I was studying and working and said “thanks, but not straight away”. A couple of years later I did join ... I’ve always been community-minded. It was no big deal ... At the time there was a lot more regionalisation of government. Government workers tended to be involved.

What do you get out of your involvement?

You get a feeling that you're helping out. Money can’t buy that feeling. What you get is (positive) feedback.

What is your fondest memory of your time with the Kiwanis Club?

Actually some of the simplest things: the look on kids’ faces when you hand out a Terrific Kids certificate, the joy of seeing them ecstatic about it. It doesn’t have to be making the Taj Mahal. Just the simple pleasure of the look on kids’ faces when they receive an award.

What do you spend your time doing?

We have a meeting once a month, a dinner meeting. We acquire and cut wine barrels to re-sell. Honey we pick up (for sale as a fundraiser) and Malcolm Allen, he goes around and tops up honey in the sites we have. We collect money for Heartkids and follow up on projects that need funds ... The latest one was providing Milo for high school kids. Like the school breakfast program, it doesn’t cost a fortune, but there are a lot more under-privileged kids around than what people know about. We’re always on the lookout for projects to get involved in.

What is your goal with Kiwanis?

To continue to make a difference with kids that are disadvantaged is Kiwanis’ national goal. To help wherever we’re required or we’re able to in the community. We tend to focus on our community moreso than the rest of the world.

Why should people join Kiwanis?

To contribute to the community and to get that feeling that you’re actually contributing. Also for the camaraderie ... it gives you a focus in life. You can also get training – part of it is personal development. And we’ll give you a badge and a jacket.

  • More information: Call Glen Dorsey on 0408 813 230.

“Join In” aims to promote community connections and wellbeing in the Murraylands – and it could promote your business, too. Murray Bridge News is seeking an ongoing sponsor for this regular feature. Find out more.