MARCO ISLAND — Three members of the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island recently attended the organization’s district meeting in Orlando and are looking forward to adding new ideas to the club’s mission of helping children.
John Coff is the incoming president and a seven-year member of Kiwanis. Attending the convention gave him a new insight into the global impact Kiwanis has as an international organization. “I had never understood how Kiwanis is organized at the international level before.”
The Florida district includes not just Florida but Puerto Rico, Grand Cayman and Turks and Caicos. Each region supports the international governor and club’s international foundation. “We support (the Florida District) and they support the major projects. This year’s project will be a program with UNICEF to eliminate maternal neo-natal tetanus, which is prominent in developing countries,” explained Coff.
Pat Holmes pointed out ways the Marco club will benefit at the local level. “Kiwanis is all about serving one community, one child at a time. By attending these forums we learned about programs that were successful, without having to reinvent the wheel.”
BUG, bringing up grades, is one program Holmes is looking forward to seeing the club implement. It’s goal is to support the progress kids make when faced with the challenge of bringing up grades. “If a child gets a D but then they work hard, they will receive a reward as their grades get better. It’s about positive re-enforcement.”
Next year, Kiwanis International will hold its district convention here at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort. Holmes and Coff expect to see a full turnout of the potential 1,000 attendees. “Everyone we spoke to was looking forward to it. They told us, ‘We won’t miss Marco’s convention,’” added Holmes.
Despite the festive convention atmosphere, the attendees don’t lose sight of their mission. Both Coff and Holmes pointed out the inspiration they receive from the positive impact Kiwanis has on kids all over the world.
“It was so emotional to hear people speak from their hearts. You come home and you want to save the world,” said Holmes.