New Kiwanis Club coming to Farmington, Farmington Hills

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published May 8, 2019


FARMINGTON/FARMINGTON HILLS — Kiwanis International, a global service organization that provides opportunities and programs for children in kindergarten all the way up to adults to volunteer within their community, is building itself a home here in the Farmington and Farmington Hills area.

In what Michigan District of Kiwanis Gov. Larry Memmer called “a mega blitz,” the international organization has been working to identify new communities around metro Detroit and beyond where they can open new clubs and help fulfill the needs identified within the community.

Beyond just helping the community through service projects and fundraising, however, this new Kiwanis Club will be a space for residents to come and speak out about what they feel their community needs most.

“The need is based on the population growth that’s happened in Farmington, and with that population growth comes more students in schools and more services agencies whose resources might be drained quicker,” said Brian Tenclinger, the area director-manager of membership and education for Kiwanis International. “We are hoping Kiwanis can provide more hands to help with those things and close the gap a little bit. Whether it’s fundraising or hands-on service, we are hoping this will be able to help people in Farmington live a little bit easier.”

The new Farmington club will hold its first meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, at the Farmington Youth Assistance Maxfield Education Center, 32789 W. 10 Mile Road. New members will gather and meet with members of pre-existing Kiwanis clubs across the nation in order to set goals and discuss the issues that residents see impacting their community.

“The first couple meetings will be all about organization. We’ll try to develop what the needs are in the community,” said Memmer. “We might not know those at this particular moment, so that’s something we try to find out by working with the local service organizations, mayors and other officials, and the residents joining the program.”

That’s what Memmer enjoys most about opening new Kiwanis clubs. There’s not really any pre-existing structures or service projects that new clubs are required to take on. It’s all up to the interests and needs identified by the people living within that community. Although at the beginning he and others from Kiwanis International suggest some ideas and directions to move forward, ultimately, club members are able to determine where and how they want to spend their time giving back.

At the first few meetings, too, new members will have the chance to discuss and vote on the president,  vice president, treasurer and secretary positions, as well as a board of directors.

The organization, which provides volunteer opportunities for K-12 students as well as adults, has five different groups that potential new members can become involved with.

The elementary school program, K-Kids, teaches young kids about self-empowerment and leadership through service learning activities; the Builders Club, a program for students ages 11-14, works to teach and develop life skills and self-esteem that members can take with them into the next stages of life; the Key Club is the organization’s high school program, which allows students to work hands-on in their community; the Circle K International provides college-age individuals with opportunities to volunteer in a global network and to grow into responsible citizens and leaders at home and abroad; and the Aktion Club provides adults with physical and mental disabilities the chance to learn leadership skills while helping out in their own community.

Together, these groups connect under the Kiwanis International umbrella to make an impact not only in their cities, but also in their individual members’ lives, learning communication skills and building their self-esteem along the way.

“Our focus is the youth,” said Memmer. “We want to provide them with the opportunity to build leadership skills and develop so they can be a positive part of their community as they go through school and their lives.”

Interested residents are encouraged to attend the club’s first meeting May 8 and join in the conversation about the ways they can give back to the neighbors, parks and existing organizations in their own backyard.