Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Civitan Club officials are trying to enlist new members from the community to join the service organization as a local chapter gets started in the Ooltewah.
“That area didn’t seem to have one, and it’s a growing community,” explained Tammy Pearson, president of the Battlefield Civitan chapter in Ft. Oglethorpe which is sponsoring the new location. “Civitan is very active in the community. It’s always good to have one there to help with community needs.”
Already with 18 members, the new group hopes to add at least two more by April 30 so it can receive its official charter, according to Sheila Idol, field director for club development in the Appalachian district.
If the group gathers 30 members it will receive a donation of $250 from the international club toward its projects, which Pearson will match.
“The more members you have the more hands you have to do projects,” Idol said.
With a focus on helping those with disabilities, each chapter organizes its own projects. Candy boxes placed at local retailers are a universal club fundraiser, contributing $1 million each year to the Civitan International Research Center in Birmingham, Ala., where a number of developmental disabilities are studied.
ABOUT CIVITAN INTERNATIONAL
According to its Web site, Civitan International has over 40,000 members in 28 different countries.
In addition to those aided by the numerous projects each club completes, research and work done at the Civitan International Research Center affects more than 20,000 families each year. Affiliated with University of Alabama’s medical school, the center has more than 300 scientists involved in research and clinical activities with a $7 million annual budget.
To learn more about Civitan International visit www.civitan.com.>
However, members noted that other projects are not limited by scope or demographics.
“If there’s a need in the community those are the projects we’re going to be looking at,” said Suzanne Burrell, a member of the new chapter.
Brainstorming sessions have already produced ideas such as volunteering and donating to Tri State Therapeutic Riding, organizing a prom for senior citizens in local nursing homes and hosting a picnic for families of deployed servicemen and women.
The group also hopes to sponsor junior clubs at area high schools.
“I’ve enjoyed being with a different group of people who’ve stepped up and said they want to do something,” said Burrell. “Those are the type of people you want to be around and get to know and do these things with.”
She encourages others looking for a way to reach out to join the group which meets the first and third Monday of each month at Ooltewah United Methodist Church from noon to 1 p.m. Those wishing to network can come early.
Lunch is provided and paid for using membership dues.
This meeting time and “free” lunch are other benefits for those looking for a way to squeeze it into their schedules or budgets, said Burrell.
“I can’t say enough about it,” said Pearson. “It’s a really great organization to be a part of.”