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  • What Key Club means to alum Annya Day

    Key Club alumnus Annya Day shares what Key Club means to her.


    “Key Club opened so many doors for me. It taught me how to be the best leader I can be, all while being led at the same time. But most importantly, it showed me just how well serving your home, school and community can benefit you.”


    Annya explains that high school can  either be the best or the worst 4 years of your life. As a shy freshman at Conway High School, Annya never spoke much or volunteered to read in class—she did her work, went to soccer practice and that was that.


    A good friend of hers, Travis, started telling Annya about “some club” and telling her  she should attend a meeting. Her first thought was: “Why would I want to make keys in high school?” But the gleam in Travis’ eyes assured her that it was worth checking out.


    Annya’s first club meeting wasn’t a regular one—class representative elections were in action! She sat and listened to the 12th, 11th and 10th grade candidates give their speeches, waiting to see who would represent the freshman class. Then out of nowhere, Travis yells, “Annya, come run for office!” She explained that it felt like someone else was walking for her, saying words she would have never imagined. Although she knew nothing about Key Club, Annya landed the position as freshman representative! Tough run, huh?


    She wasn’t aware of it yet, but this was just the beginning. Annya went on to serve two years on the district board and one year on the executive board. Key Club also opened the door to midnight pizza runs, hotel room parties during international conventions and friendships that are maintained to this day.


    “Key Club ignited a spark for service that even led to college choices and career decisions. Join Key Club. I absolutely promise that you won’t regret it.”


    Thank you for sharing, Annya!

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  • You've got options.

    Your time in Circle K granted you with memories that will last a lifetime. Create even more memories: stay involved with the Kiwanis family by joining a Kiwanis club!


    There are many club options when deciding to stay involved with Kiwanis. The classic Kiwanis club format offers regular meetings and a variety of service opportunities—similar to your Circle K experience. Also keep in mind that as an alumni of Circle K International, you are eligible to join or charter a Circle K International Alumni club. The CKI Alumni clubs are offered at a lower price and function very similar to the Classic Kiwanis club. Connect directly with the organization you love—Circle K International.


    After all, life is busy—we get that. That is why Kiwanis has created alternative club types! If you want to serve but simply don’t have the time for the traditional club format, consider one of these:

    • Internet-based club
    • Young professionals club
    • 3-2-1 club
    • Company-based club

    These clubs utilize technology, have flexible meeting schedules and plan service projects that fit members’ demanding schedules. The Young professionals clubs are a great way to connect with people of the same age groups that hold shared interest. Another way to connect with people in your desired profession is with a Company-based club! Connect with co-workers by serving together in a convenient setting.


    If you’re looking to charter a new club, keep these various options in mind. When chartering a new club, you have the opportunity to choose the traditional format, or an alternative format that can attract potential members with common lifestyles.


    Whatever your schedule requires, there is a Kiwanis club that will fit your needs. Serve others, gain friendships and create lasting memories—by joining a Kiwanis club!

    Kiwanis Young Professional Club members volunteering

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  • Key Club: A foundation for success.

    As a high school student in Jamaica, Giovanni Blair McKenzie was a strong supporter, and member of, the LGBTQ community. But he also faced a lot of bullying as a result. It wasn’t until spring of 2008 that Giovanni finally discovered an accepting group of peers: Key Club.


    One of his friends talked him into getting involved. The spirit and the fun roped him in, and Giovanni found himself among a group of peers who shared a love for service.


    “The compassion I received in Key Club was amazing,” he says. “It was exactly what I needed to reverse the long-term trauma and stress from the bullying.”


    Now a 21-year-old professional speaker, Giovanni thanks Key Club for helping him find his voice. As Key Club Governor for the Pacific Northwest, he was pushed outside of his comfort zone. His time as governor inspired him to do something more personal—which is where QI Force was born.


    Helping others thrive

    In 2012 Giovanni decided to speak up and take action. He founded Queer Intersections Force, a nonprofit that advocates for and promotes the visibility and strength of LGBTQ young adults. The ultimate goal behind QI Force is to reveal the ignorance and hatred directed toward the LGBTQ community and to contribute to the elimination of gender and racial inequality.


    As an organization, QI Force first conducted a community needs assessment in order to find out what LGBTQ members in the community were seeking. The needs assessment revealed the need for partnerships. Giovanni and his team worked on forming partnerships locally, regionally and nationally.

    “If you’re going to wait for someone else to do something, you’re going to keep waiting” Giovanni says. “We wouldn’t be where we are without innovators of civil rights.”


    If it weren't for Key Club, Giovanni says, he may have never established QI Force. Key Club provided Giovanni with compassion when he needed it most. He credits several mentors and fellow members—including: John Tay, Tom Saunders, Jim McAllister. Marj McAllister, Karen Sinclair-Lymn and Navara Dennis—with helping to make him the person he has become.

    “You can’t find compassion in a self-help book,” Giovanni says. “The individuals I met in Key Club shaped me into the person I am today. I am so appreciative for all of their help along the way.”

    KCI Alumni: Giovanni Blair McKenzie

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  • Where is the love?

    Love is in the air—can you feel it? Valentine's Day is coming up, so it’s a perfect time to show your love for others. And the smallest gesture can make a big impact. It just takes a little time and a lot of love.


    For example, printable Valentine’s items are available. Bring joy to local nursing homes, hospitals or homeless shelters by delivering Valentine’s Day surprises. If you are participating in Show Your Love, Save a Life this year, you can also use these printables to fancy up your fundraising activities!


    On campuses worldwide, Circle K International will again host Show Your Love, Save a Life events to benefit The Eliminate Project: Kiwanis eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus. Use the fundraising guide to jump-start your life-saving events!


    The fundraising guide will help you plan special Valentine’s Day events. Which ones sound the most fun to you?

    • ElimiDate: a speed-dating event
    • Bachelor or bachelorette auction
    • Valentine’s Day dance
    • Valentine’s Day dinner

    What better way to show your love this Valentine’s Day than to save lives? Join Circle K as they take part in the Kiwanis family’s effort to protect the connection between babies and mothers around the world!


    Show your love, save a life logo

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  • Introduce yourself, open doors

    As an alumnus of Circle K International, you have a network of professionals to turn to for career advice. Use the Circle K Alumni LinkedIn Group to tap into that network—and make steps toward your desired career field!


    With over 5,000 Circle K alumni at your disposal, you are bound to find a professional that has your dream job. But if you never ask, you’ll never know. We strongly encourage you to introduce yourself to fellow Circle K alumni on LinkedIn!


    How do you start? Here’s an example:

    “Hello, fellow Circle K Alumni! My name is __(your name)__, a __(graduation year)__ Circle K graduate from __(your school or location)__. I am interested in learning more about __(desired career field)__. Can anyone offer insight or connect me to any professions in this field? I am eager to hear from you! From one Circle K alum to another, thank you for your service.”


    It may be surprising how far a simple introduction can get you in the professional world. Don’t wait until you need a job to start networking—tap into your professional network right now! Take a moment to introduce yourself to the Circle K International Alumni LinkedIn Group.


    Cartoon figures with word-bubbles

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  • First female CKI International President

    Circle K International reached a milestone in 1984 when Susan McClernon was elected the program’s first female International President. For Susan, that accomplishment has shaped her professionally and personally.


    A student at the College of St. Scholastica, in Duluth, MN, she got a lot of support at the time from her school and fellow students. She had been motivated to run for a District Governor position by three of her mentors, Cecilia Burke, Ken Burke and Larry Rittgarn, each were strong advocates of female opportunity and leadership within Circle K International.


    “I am happy they, and others like Durbin Keeney, kept after getting women more involved,” Susan says. “The Port of Duluth Kiwanis Club and Minn-Dak Kiwanis District were very determined and very supportive, which was a big motivator for me.”


    Ultimately Susan was elected on the first ballot. Although she was slightly shocked when her name was announced, the excitement of traveling and meeting new people instantly replaced her feeling of surprise.


    “One day it kicked in that I was the first female president,” she says. “I just tried to stay focused amongst all the chaos. Sometimes it was awkward being the first female president. I had to minimize it in order to stay focused.”


    A leader and mentor

    After obtaining her Bachelors of Science in Healthcare Administration, Susan earned Master’s and PHD degrees in the subject from the University of Minnesota. Professionally, Susan has been involved in healthcare administration for the past 30 years. She is now the CEO of Innovative Healthcare Leadership, which consults with a variety of health related clients.


    Having a mission is Susan's favorite thing about healthcare management. And she enjoys teaching others business and management skills. In fact, she is also the Faculty Director of Applied Business and Health Services at the University of Minnesota and an adjunct faculty member for both the University of Minnesota and the College of St. Scholastica.


    Susan has redirected her focus because she loves mentoring students and watching them succeed. Susan's faculty-director position at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities started as a part-time gig, she says, but it grew into something much larger. She found it surprising that the university did not offer an undergraduate degree in applied health services management—so she helped develop one! Susan now manages faculty who teach online classes and in the classroom, and the program’s current first group of HSM major students started in Fall 2015.


    Susan also teaches three classes a year for the University of Minnesota’s Applied Business and Health Services Management programs and a masters level class annually for the College of St. Scholastica’s Health Information Management Division.


    Life clearly keeps Susan busy—she also has three children who are at the ages of 14, 15 and 20—but the Kiwanis family is still very much a part of her life. In fact, Susan just served as the 2014-2015 club president of the Kiwanis Club of Friendly Duluth.  


    She joined her first Kiwanis club, in St. Paul, Minnesota, immediately after earning her Master's Degree in 1987—which was also the first year women were able to join. After that she was a member of a Kiwanis club in St. Petersburg, FL and Austin, Texas, and in 2005 she joined her current club.


    Susan's favorite service projects are the two her club does annually , the Kiwanis Kite Fly and Kiwanis TV Auction. The Kiwanis Kite Fly is a free event that happens in conjunction with a hot air balloon festival. Luckily it is held at a large park because there are typically 3-5,000 kites given away for families to fly that day! The TV auction is exactly what it sounds like—an auction hosted over television. The event is hosted by local the Kiwanis club, with help from Key Club members,  and the event typically raises around US$40,000.

    “I’ve continued to give back to Kiwanis because I would never be where I am without the community service attitude and leadership skills I gained from my time spent in Circle K.”


    Susan McClernon: CKI Alumni

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  • Impress fellow alumni, host a gathering!

    Deciding when to plan your next alumni event? Host an alumni gathering at Circle K DCON. Circle K district conventions for 2016 will be held between February and March—so get to planning!


    Every DCON is a little different, but all of them include learning, fellowship and celebration. And each provides a convenient space for Circle K alumni to connect and network with other service-minded individuals. Find out more about the DCON near you and get in touch with the Circle K district administrator to plan an alumni event.


    We’ve got some tips for hosting your Circle K alumni event:

    • Promote the event. Set up a Facebook event page and start sharing it with others. Encourage your network to invite their friends—spread the word!
    • Keep it simple. All it really takes to get people talking is a name-tag that includes the person’s graduating year, and maybe even desired career field. You could even fancy the room up with these printable party decorations!
    • Keep it fun. Offer activities that are entertaining—and easy to set up. One idea: a photo prop area where people can take silly pictures. Reel in the smiles at little to no cost with these printable photo props. Another simple activity is the Circle K Mind Twister! Print off copies and challenge attendees’ knowledge of Circle K.
    • Offer to serve. When you connect with the Circle K district administrator about your alumni event, offer to support he DCON with volunteer service. You may find that you’re a real asset to the convention—even beyond the alumni gathering.  

    However you decide to host the alumni event, it’s bound to be a good time. Be sure to take pictures and tell us about your event so we can share the details with the rest of Circle K’s alumni!


    And don’t forget to promote your event on the Circle K alumni Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

    accounts. Host an experience that people won’t forget!

    CKI members enjoying DCON

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  • You've got options

    Your time in Key Club granted you with memories that will last a lifetime. Create even more memories: stay involved with the Kiwanis family by joining a Kiwanis club!


    There are many club options when deciding to stay involved with Kiwanis. The classic Kiwanis club format offers regular meetings and a variety of service opportunities—similar to your Key Club experience. And if you’re an alumni of Circle K International, consider a Circle K International Alumni club, which also functions similar to classic Kiwanis clubs but offers lower member dues.


    After all, life is busy—we get that. That is why Kiwanis has created alternative club types! If you want to serve but simply don’t have the time for the traditional club format, consider one of these:

    • Internet-based club
    • Young professionals club
    • 3-2-1 club
    • Company-based club

    These clubs utilize technology, have flexible meeting schedules and plan service projects that fit members’ demanding schedules. The Young professionals clubs are a great way to connect with people of the same age groups that hold shared interest! Another way to connect with people in your desired profession is with a Company-based club! Connect with co-workers by serving together in a convenient setting!


    If you’re looking to charter a new club, keep these various options in mind. When chartering a new club, you have the opportunity to choose the traditional format, or an alternative format that can attract potential members with common lifestyles.


    Whatever your schedule requires, there is a Kiwanis club that will fit your needs. Serve others, gain friendships and create lasting memories—by joining a Kiwanis club!


    Members of a Young Professional Club volunteering

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  • Introduce yourself, open doors

    As an alumnus of Key Club International, you have a network of professionals to turn to for career advice. Use the Key Club Alumni LinkedIn Group to tap into that network—and make steps toward your desired career field!


    With over 80,000 Key Club alumni at your disposal, you are bound to find a professional that has your dream job. But if you never ask, you’ll never know. We strongly encourage you to introduce yourself to fellow Key Club alumni on LinkedIn!


    How do you start? Here’s an example:

    “Hello, fellow Key Club Alumni! My name is __(your name)__, a __(graduation year)__ Key Club graduate from __(your school or location)__. I am interested in learning more about __(desired career field)__. Can anyone offer insight or connect me to any professions in this field? I am eager to hear from you! From one Key Club alum to another, thank you for your service.”


    It may be surprising how far a simple introduction can get you in the professional world. Don’t wait until you need a job to start networking—tap into your professional network right now! Take a moment to introduce yourself to the Key Club International Alumni LinkedIn Group.

    Cartoon figures with word-bubbles

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Impress fellow alumni, host a gathering!

    Deciding when to plan your next alumni event? Host an alumni gathering at Key Club DCON. Key Club district conventions for 2016 will be held between March and April—so get to planning!


    Every DCON is a little different, but all of them include learning, fellowship and celebration. And each provides a convenient space for Key Club alumni to connect and network with other service-minded individuals. Find out more about the DCON near you and get in touch with the Key Club district administrator to plan an alumni event.


    We’ve got some tips for hosting your Key Club alumni event:

    • Promote the event. Set up a Facebook event page and start sharing it with others. Encourage your network to invite their friends—spread the word!
    • Keep it simple. All it really takes to get people talking is a name-tag that includes the person’s graduating year, and maybe even desired career field. You could even fancy the room up with these printable party decorations!
    • Keep it fun. Offer activities that are entertaining—and easy to set up. One idea: a photo prop area where people can take silly pictures. Reel in the smiles at little to no cost with these printable photo props. Another simple activity is the Key Club Mind Twister! Print off copies and challenge attendees’ knowledge of Key Club.
    • Offer to serve. When you connect with the Key Club district administrator about your alumni event, offer to support he DCON with volunteer service. You may find that you’re a real asset to the convention—even beyond the alumni gathering.  

    However you decide to host the alumni event, it’s bound to be a good time. Be sure to take pictures and tell us about your event so we can share the details with the rest of Key Club’s alumni!


    And don’t forget to promote your event on the Key Club alumni Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

    accounts. Host an experience that people won’t forget!

    Key Club Bell with members in the background

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Circle K International - Kiwanis Service Leadership Programs