Kiwanis starts new club in county

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Members of Kiwanis International and a new Kiwanis Club in northwestern Hancock County pose with a Vernon Township Fire Department truck outside Denver’s Garage Pizza and Brew in Fortville earlier this month.

Submitted photo

HANCOCK COUNTY – A global volunteer organization has started a new club in the northwestern part of the county.

Dozens have already joined the recently created Kiwanis International club, which is for community members in Fortville, McCordsville and Mt. Comfort as well as Pendleton in southern Madison County. The group’s leader says he and his fellow members are excited to determine how they will help fulfill the organization’s mission of serving children in the area.

Lloyd Lee, an Edward Jones financial advisor with an office in McCordsville, is the new club’s president. He said he was familiar with Kiwanis due to his involvement in his communities and through his daughter, Samaira, a rising junior at Fishers High School who’s involved in Key Club – Kiwanis’ high school arm. Samaira also represents a wider division of Key Club as a lieutenant governor.

Lee said his family is heavily involved in schools, adding his wife is an assistant principal in the Hamilton Southeastern district. When a Kiwanis representative reached out to him about a month ago to gauge his interest in joining a new club being formed, he figured it’d be another opportunity to impact children in a positive way.

“With our growing community, I just really thought it’d be important to do all we can, use our ability to fulfill our responsibility to do good in our community in whatever way we can, and it’s great that Kiwanis is really putting an emphasis on our area,” Lee said.

Jim Rochford, a lawyer based in Peoria, Illinois and a past international president for Kiwanis, has opened over 600 Kiwanis Clubs throughout the world, eight of which in Indiana. He’s currently president of Kiwanis’ Eye of the Tiger Club, whose focus is opening new clubs across the globe.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Kiwanis International is in over 80 nations throughout the world, Rochford said, with 80% of its membership in the U.S.

The club for Fortville, McCordsville, Mt. Comfort and Pendleton opened with 36 members in two days, Rochford said.

“I would say the quality and the enthusiasm of the group was probably in the top three of the 600-plus clubs I’ve opened,” he said.

Lee agreed excitement is high.

“I think we have a lot of momentum going and a lot of interest,” he said. “It just goes to show you the care the community has for our kids and youth in the area.”

Rochford said members hail from the fields of public safety, schools, government and other professions.

“We really had a nice diversity of ages and jobs, just a great mix,” he said.

He added Greenfield’s Kiwanis Club, with nearly 100 members, will sponsor and mentor its new neighbor.

Lee said the club is looking forward to next steps like creating an official name and ensuring members understand the main issues young people in the community face before determining how the club can be of service. Reaching out to school officials will be integral to working toward that goal, he added.

“We’re going to start there and continue to take all the different ideas our club members have,” Lee said. “We have a great, broad spectrum of people that already are civic-focused and heavily involved in the community through different boards and organizations. I think we’re going to have a great head start just on understanding what the main issues are that are impacting the kids.”

A Key Club at Mt. Vernon High School is also on the to-do list, Rochford said.

Lee said efforts are underway to establish an online presence for the new club on Kiwanis International’s website, through which new members will be able to join. In the meantime, those interested can contact him at 317-336-3248 or [email protected]

“We’d love to have as many voices – whether they want to join or not – and we’d love to have as many people as members as possible,” Lee said. “We want to make sure that all people who are in the community have a voice to what we are going to be doing in the future, whether that is through strategic planning or through service projects, all that. We definitely want to make sure we understand the voices of all the community members.”

How to join

A new Kiwanis Club has started for community members of Fortville, McCordsville, Mt. Comfort and Pendleton. Those interested in joining can contact the club’s president, Lloyd Lee, at 317-336-3248 or [email protected]

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