The Kiwanis Club of Jackson will honor two local women for their community leadership and service as it recognizes the 25th anniversary of membership for women in the Kiwanis International organization at a special dinner meeting at 5:30 pm on Thursday, September 27, at Delmonico Steakhouse and Restaurant.
"Helping boys and girls become leaders has always be a top priority for Kiwanis," said Susan Jespersen, President. "More than 40 years ago, a gift from my hometown Kiwanis Club helped provide the opportunity for me as a teenager to attend a 4-H Leadership Conference in Washington, DC. So, it's been a privilege to serve the Jackson Club in a leadership role the past couple of years. Perhaps in a small way, it's been a return on their investment those many years ago. But women have not always been able to be a member or leader in Kiwanis. Earlier this year, I was surprised to learn that women have only been members during the past 25 years."
The face of Kiwanis International changed forever in the summer of 1987 when delegates at the 72nd annual convention voted to allow women to join the organization. It was a historic vote that changed everything. Today, 26 percent of the organization's total membership is comprised of women. Nearly 50% of the Jackson club's membership is women.
At the organization's international convention this past July and, throughout the year, Kiwanians across the world have been celebrating the leadership and service of women in their clubs and communities. The Jackson Club will recognize two local women, Barbara Lohr and Miki Gudermuth, for their leadership in the local community. Jackson Mayor Barbara Lohr and Miki Gudermuth, Executive Director of the SEMO Alliance for Disability Independence, will be the guests of honor at the special dinner meeting on September 27 and be presented with a Walter Zeller Fellowship Award.
The Kiwanis Club of Jackson was chartered in 2005. Its members come from diverse backgrounds and a variety of age groups. Members meet for lunch (11:30 -- 12:30) on most Thursdays at Delmonico Steakhouse. They raise funds and work together on service projects that serve children and improve their community. One area of focus is providing volunteer time (reading program tutoring) and funding of various projects that benefit the students and teachers at Orchard Elementary School, such as dictionaries for third graders and teacher grants for classroom enrichment materials. The club also sponsors a Key Club at Jackson High School and is a co-sponsor of the Aktion Club of Cape Girardeau County. Key Club is a leadership development and service club for high school students and Aktion Club is a Kiwanis club for adults with disabilities. For more information about the Kiwanis Club of Jackson visit the website www.jacksonmokiwanis.org or contact Susan Jespersen at 573-683-0515.
Founded in 1915, Kiwanis International is a global organization of clubs and members dedicated to serving the children of the world. Kiwanis and its family of clubs, including Circle K International for university students, Key Club for students age 14--18, Builders Club for students age 11--14, Kiwanis Kids for students age 6--12 and Aktion Club for adults living with disabilities, dedicate annually more than 18 million service hours to strengthen communities and serve children. The Kiwanis International family comprises nearly 600,000 adult and youth members in 80 countries and geographic areas. For more information about Kiwanis International, please visit www.kiwanis.org.