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New Kiwanis Club begins to form in SR

New Kiwanis Club begins to form in SR

The Kiwanis organization may be a great option to consider for those looking for opportunities to help kids throughout the Scripps Ranch community. A new chapter of the club is being organized.

“We only need a minimum of 15 members to form a charter club,” explained long-time Scripps Ranch resident Craig Bratlien, who serves as lieutenant governor overseeing 10 Kiwanis Clubs in the San Diego area. “With over 12,000 residences in Scripps Ranch, including apartments and condominiums, I am confident there are more than enough interested people to help form a new club specific to our community.”

Founded more than a century ago, Kiwanis International functions under the very simple mission of “Dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.” Last year, worldwide, the Kiwanis International provided more than 18 million service hours and raised more than $100 million.

According to Bratlien, when a new Kiwanis Club is started in a community, the foundation is already in place via Kiwanis as to how the club should operate, but the opportunity is available to determine everything from meeting times, locations and what service projects on which to focus.

“Some clubs meet twice-a-month during lunch for one-hour,” Bratlien said. “Other clubs meet for dinner for their meetings and some meet for breakfast. Initially, we may require a few more meetings simply because we need to prioritize community service efforts to help kids.”

Fortunately, thanks to a previous Kiwanis Club in Scripps Ranch – which merged with a club in Torrey Pines – some resources are already in place and active.

“One goal of Kiwanis is to bring the ideas of service and leadership to all levels of schools from elementary to college,” Bratlien explained. “At the high school level, we refer to it as ‘Key Club,’ and at Scripps Ranch High School we have over 100 members (students) who help us with community service efforts.”

He also stated that “Circle K” Clubs, which involve college students, are well established at San Diego State University and UC San Diego.

While Kiwanis Clubs may organize fundraising efforts from “clean up the city” to pancake breakfasts, they do not isolate themselves from other projects in the community.

“If an organization is doing a telethon and needs assistance answering the phones, we are happy to help,” Bratlien said. “We receive those kind of requests all the time. It is not just about our projects.”

What does separate Kiwanis from many other service organizations is the “all hands on deck” type of mentality.

“Lots of service organizations raise money and write checks to help others, and they often do a nice job,” Bratlien explained. “Kiwanis is boots on the ground. We buy the tree, then dig the hole and then plant the tree. That is the difference.”

Because of that approach, Bratlien believes the rewards for worthy causes are more than simply financial.

“Kiwanis goes far beyond the money aspect,” he stated. “The feeling you get when you hand a kid a college scholarship at a luncheon – and the fact you brought the entire family to the luncheon – is an experience which is hard to put in words. The money involved is a side issue.”

Bratlien is quick to point out Kiwanis is open to everyone.

“There are no religious or political requirements to join. Nobody is turned away if they want to help,” he said. “Some of our Clubs have women as their president. Our focus is not on who is joining our club, but rather what can we do to help the community.”

Those interested in joining a new Scripps Ranch Kiwanis Club may contact Craig Bratlien at craigbratlien@gmail.com or by calling (858) 945-2280. To learn more about Kiwanis International, visit kiwanis.org.

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