Getting Connected is a new, occasional column that the Mount Dora Citizen is offering to help bring awareness to some of those indispensable organizations that make Mount Dora “Someplace Special.”
Local associations, clubs, and organizations are the lifeblood that give meaning to the term ‘community.’ They bring people together to build a stronger network of engaged, informed citizens for a common purpose, whether that’s gardening, the arts, forwarding an interest in and sharing a love of sports, working with children, feeding the hungry, or building parks.
The Mount Dora Citizen is presenting a “how-to-join” series on some of the wonderful groups that have made Mount Dora tick over the years. Whether you are new to town or have lived here for years, there are always new people to meet and new things to learn in Mount Dora. Kiwanis Club of Mount Dora is a fun way to share new experiences and get to know your neighbors. It’s a way to get connected while you also help to build a brighter future for our community’s children.
First up – the Mount Dora Kiwanis Club.
First, know that guests are welcome to attend club meetings – so you can take the Kiwanis Club for a test ride before you commit. The Kiwanis Club of Mount Dora meets every Thursday at Lake Receptions. Luncheon and social time begins at 11:30. The weekly Kiwanis meeting begins at noon. A luncheon is provided to members and guests for $12. (The purchase of the lunch isn’t mandatory.) Meetings generally run until 1:00 and include topics about club business and a guest speaker. So you’re thinking of making a first visit; you think you might have an interest in joining? The Club will buy you your first lunch, while you consider!
Who is Kiwanis Club of Mount Dora?
The Kiwanis Club of Mount Dora is one of about 8,000 clubs worldwide dedicated to the objective of volunteering – dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time. The Club’s 80 or so members give their time and effort to make our local community a better place to live, primarily by tending to the needs of the children – who are, after all, the future. The members are your neighbors, some of the ones who volunteer, who help out whenever there is a need. Although the Club meets in Mount Dora, and is named for the city, approximately a third of it’s members call a surrounding community home. It is the commitment to serve that brings them together, not their proximity.
What Kiwanis Club of Mount Dora does
Kiwanis’ primary focus is helping children, and their programs cover the gamut from pre-natal care through provision of college scholarships. They support Kiwanis International’s effort to eliminate neonatal tetanus by vaccinating 100 million potential mothers in poor countries, thereby preventing 60,000 deaths each year.
Kiwanians get involved at the Pre-K level and stay involved – through High School
The club sponsors the local Head Start, and provides reading materials and other programs to disadvantaged pre-K students. They assist all ages at Triangle Elementary School with the “BUG” (Bringing Up Grades) program, and by staffing the school’s Manatee Store (school supplies). The Kiwanis Club of Mount Dora also initiated a program to stock the Nurses’ station with new underwear for children to use in case of emergencies. All third and fourth grade students receive dictionaries and thesauruses through Kiwanis. The Club provides mentors to the Mount Dora Middle School. At the high school, they sponsor the Key Club, the Mount Dora Kiwanis Invitational track meet, and most memorably, each year we award over $15,000 in college scholarships to deserving seniors. They work closely with the W. T. Bland Public Library on both their Easter-Egg hunt and Halloween programs. Each week the Club donates a book to the library in the name of the speaker at that week’s meeting. They annually invite the chosen “Teachers of the Year” to lunch and present each one with a special honorarium. The Club contributes both funding and volunteer time to the local robotics club, Adopt-a-Child at Christmas, and Lake Cares Food Pantry. Somehow, they also find time to help clean up the highway and the lake front.
One hundred percent of the proceeds from Kiwanis fundraisers are given back to the community. All club administrative expenses are covered by separate contributions from our members.
Want to learn a little more about what the Club does? Follow them on Facebook here.
John Stewart, Guest Columnist & Melissa DeMarco, editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)