They’ve been called the greatest love of all, our future, and Kiwanis International’s Fishers chapter is doing all it can to protect them.
The Kiwanis Club of Greater Fishers, formerly the Fishers Station Kiwanis Club (named for its proximity to the Fishers train station and two gas stations in the area), reorganized earlier in 2018. Kiwanis International has chapters all over the world, each dedicated to providing for children’s interests all over the world. Their funding has made it possible to build all accessible playgrounds (to accommodate children with physical disabilities), restock libraries, stuff kids’ backpacks and much more. As an international organization, its membership base is enormous, with more than 600,000 volunteers worldwide, its greatest participation in Indonesia and Asia.
As large an organization as it is, the Fishers chapter’s membership base declined over the course of its 35 years in existence. Declining membership in volunteer service organizations is common because it’s difficult to find people who have the time and energy to volunteer. But when it happened to the Fishers Station Kiwanis chapter, it left the remaining members to staff important Kiwanis functions like the Easter Egg Hunt and the State Fair Train Parking. There’s no Fair train anymore, but, in the past, Kiwanians volunteered parking cars all day, every day for the three-week duration.
That’s a big commitment, and it largely went unnoticed. Long-time members who had devoted untold hours of service at those events were unable to give the time and energy they once had, and they lost their spark. Additional members left when they moved away. Ultimately, the chapter had no choice but to dissolve.
But thankfully for the children, plenty of people noticed.
“The Indiana District of Kiwanis always maintained that there should be enough interest to have a Fishers and Geist chapter, so the Lieutenant Governor of the district called and wanted to reorganize the chapter,” says Rick Fain, Charter Member of Greater Fishers Kiwanis.
Mayor Scott Fadness also expressed his concern that the number of service-minded organizations in Fishers wasn’t keeping pace with the explosive population growth in the community. It was also important to have a group to provide support to the students in the Kiwanis-sponsored Key Clubs at Fishers and HSE High Schools.
“Our biggest priority is to help children,” says Bill Smith, Charter Member of Greater Fishers Kiwanis. “We needed to make this happen.”
The charter members of the new chapter who came from the old one began the task by calling local businesses and corporations to ask for their help in encouraging their employees to join the new chapter.
So, just over a year after its closing, the club was resurrected and reorganized. Already, the chapter is up to 30 members, but they would like to reach 40 to 45 members by the fall or winter.
“We have to get the word out,” Smith says. “We need people who can dedicate their time and effort to help, not just to help your resume, but out of your passion to help children. There’s lots Kiwanis does that people don’t even know about. We will always be focused on making things better for children in the community.”
Kiwanis International has raised $100M dollars for UNICEF for their efforts to eliminate iodine deficiency disorders. They’re currently working to raise money to eliminate childhood tetanus worldwide. Along with their own projects, Kiwanis has joined in service projects with countless other organizations that support children’s interests including the US Army, Nickelodeon Network, Boy Scouts of America, the March of Dimes, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Children’s Miracle Network and countless others.
Learn more about becoming a Kiwanis Club member today. The club holds meetings on the first and third Thursdays of every month, then a social gathering on the second Thursday of each month. They meet in the Delaware Township Trustee’s office near 131st Street and 37 at 9090 E 131st Street in Fishers. Visit kiwanis.org to learn more about the organization and check out the Kiwanis Club of Greater Fishers Facebook page for updates on the latest happenings with the club or call them at 317-442-4961.