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Together: Connecting your spirit of service and fellowship with CKI and the Kiwanis family

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Are you a former CKI member—and still committed to service leadership? Or getting ready to graduate and leave your CKI club? Connect with other alumni!

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As the network grows, we will continue to evolve to ensure a valuable experience for our members. Through blogs and story-sharing, let’s reconnect and find out who's where and what they are up to.
 
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  • Eliminate Project goals

    During the 100th annual Kiwanis International Convention, the Kiwanis family had many reasons to celebrate history. The event also set the stage for The Eliminate Project’s next six months. 

    First, the celebrations: Circle K members wanted to protect five lives per member, and just before the convention they reached that goal! As of June 26, US$7.66 per member had been raised. And Circle K wasn’t the only program celebrating. Key Club International pledged to raise US$3 million for The Eliminate Project, bringing the program’s donations and pledges to more than US$7 million! 

    Key Club and Circle K rank at the top of the Kiwanis family for per-member giving and have already surpassed their goals for the year—a big shout-out to them! Both groups participate in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, which in 2014 raised a combined amount more than $600,000. And this past February, CKI’s Valentine’s Day “Show Your Love, Save A Life” fundraiser surpassed its goal of US$27,000. It’s amazing what we are capable of if we work together!

    Alumni, do you want to make history with the Kiwanis family? Show your support for Circle K and The Eliminate Project by making a donation today. When you do, make a note in the comments section that you are giving as a Circle K alumnus supporting Key Club’s pledge! Want to get even more involved? Join a Kiwanis club and then help support local Circle K and Key Club efforts as a Kiwanian. 

    If you want to learn more about The Eliminate Project or connect with your district leadership, contact them via email Campaign@TheEliminateProject.org. Thank you for supporting Circle K and The Eliminate Project—and thank you for making a difference.

    The Eliminate Project

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  • Welcome 2015 graduates!

    ConGRADulations, 2015 Circle K graduates! We appreciate the time and service you’ve given to people through Circle K—and now it’s an honor to have you as an alumnus. You made a true difference in your community, the lives of others and in yourself. Fellow alumni like Ryan Balentyne know how CKI helps build lifelong relationships and develops leadership skills that serve members for years to come. 

    “CKI provided me with an outlet to develop my leadership, teamwork, and professional skills through service,” Ryan says. “CKI also helped me with interviews, networking, and presentations.”

    You probably weren’t aware of the long-term benefits when you first decided to join. Now think about all the other students that have no clue what benefits CKI has in store for them. Become a CKI advocate by sharing your experiences with the world! Anyone can benefit from joining Circle K, but no one will know unless you speak up

    The Next Chapter
    For you, college is over . . . and a new chapter begins. If you’d like to turn the page but remain in the Kiwanis family, you can. Join a Kiwanis club! After all, community service, leadership development and fellowship don’t have to end with Circle K. Take all you’ve learned and share your skills with a Kiwanis club in your area. 

    Other News
    • We encourage Circle K alumni to share what their Kiwanis clubs have been up to. Give us an idea of how your club meetings are run. Share how your involvement has influenced you. Inspire recent grads to stay involved with Kiwanis! 
    • We are pleased to announce that the Circle K Alumni program is growing—fast. Thanks to 2015 grads, we now have 5,571 CKI alumni! That’s nearly double our size from last year alone! We expect that number to keep going up, meaning a larger network for you! Do you know anyone who was in Circle K but isn’t part of Circle K International Alumni? Encourage them to join!
    • Circle K gave you fellowship that lasts. So be certain it lasts a lifetime. Keep up with Circle K Alumni! The easiest way is with social media. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook! We will keep you up to date on what’s happening with current Circle K clubs, other Circle K Alumni and with Kiwanis International—and most important, we’ll keep you connected with each other. 
    ConGRADulations 2015 grads!

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  • Kiwanis Youth Exchange program

    Kiwanis is always excited to add to its variety of programs. The more we can offer to our members, the better. That’s why we’re proud to launch K Corps—a new international exchange program for Kiwanis-family members, age 15–18. K Corps is a safe, simple, affordable program built on the proud, century-old Kiwanis tradition of volunteer community service. Want to get involved in this global experience? Well, there is a role you can play!

    Be a Kiwanis club coordinator. Make an impact in the lives of global-minded Kiwanis teens! Club coordinators not only expand the concept of cultural exchange, they also play a key role in identifying, vetting and matching young people to the families who can provide them with the best homestay experience. Being a club coordinator allows you to connect service-minded people, learn about different cultures (including your own), serve as a mentor, and much more. K Corps staff members will of course always be available to provide support and guidance . . . but we need your expertise!

    Be a host family. Ready for your family to go global? Well, the homestay is a crucial element of the experience—and that’s where you come in. Invite a Kiwanis teen from abroad into your home for two weeks next summer! As a host family, you will provide a safe and welcoming home environment for a visiting Kiwanis teen. Provide a comfortable place to sleep, three meals per day, and transportation to and from locations of community service projects, activities and events. Opening your home and heart to one of these teens will open your eyes in ways you never imagined—be a part of this life-changing experience! 

    Recommend an exchange student. If you know someone aged 15–18, recommend that he or she be among the first Kiwanis teens to go global in summer 2016! The host family will encourage students to participate in their everyday activities—so they can expect a lot of “firsts.” Students will also complete service projects and be fully submerged in the culture of a new community. They will even have the chance to spread awareness of their own culture and strengthen international ties. Take advantage of this opportunity for growth and recommend K Corps to a teen in your life!

    This two-week summer experience will include a three-day gateway city orientation and tour (Washington, D.C., for Europeans and Amsterdam/Leiden for North Americans). After orientation, students will learn about their host country by living with a volunteer club family and participating in club-designed service projects.

    K Corps will launch in the summer of 2016—but we need your help now! Your Kiwanis club can help make this exciting new program a success. Open your home, your heart and open your eyes in ways you never imagined. Be part of a life-changing experience. Get involved in K Corps!

    Kiwanis Youth Exchange program; K Corps

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  • Meet the 2015-16 Kiwanis International President

    The face of Kiwanis International changed forever in the summer of 1987, when delegates at that year’s convention voted to allow women to join the organization. Now we have a new reason to celebrate: this July, Susan A. “Sue” Petrisin was elected Kiwanis International President during the 2015 Kiwanis International Convention. An alumnus of both Key Club and Circle K, Sue is the first woman in Kiwanis International’s history to serve as president. In fact, she is the first woman to serve as president of any of the major worldwide service organizations. 

    Sue recently told a publication of Michigan State University, “I am deeply honored to be the first woman elected to serve in this role,” Petrisin said. “Kiwanis has always been about inclusivity and service beyond self. But to be viable in our next century, we need to recognize the differences in cultures, generations and technology that determine how and where we will succeed. We need to again focus our time and efforts on the single most powerful expression of Kiwanis life—our clubs.”

    Sue has a long history of leadership. In Key Club, she was a secretary/treasurer of the Michigan District (1978–79) and became governor (1979–80). In Circle K, she was a distinguished governor (1984–85) and then served as the international vice president (1985–86). 

    For 27 years now, Sue has been a member of the Kiwanis Club of East Lansing, Michigan. In fact, she is a life member with perfect attendance. She has also served as the club’s Circle K and Key Club advisor, as well as its sponsored youth committee chairman. In 2010, Sue was elected to the Kiwanis International Board of Trustees. While serving on the Kiwanis International board, Sue also served as board counselor to Key Club and member of the Education, Governance, Programs and Partnerships, Executive, and Audit and Finance Committees. 

    Not only has Sue made Kiwanis history by being the first female Kiwanis International president, but she was also the first person in Kiwanis International’s history to serve as a Key Club governor, Circle K governor and Kiwanis governor. 

    Her other Kiwanis Accomplishments include:
    • Vice Chair of Kiwanis’ global campaign for children, The Eliminate Project: Kiwanis eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus, during its initial year, overseeing the Service Leadership Programs. 
    • A member of the Key Leader Advisory Council and a Key Leader Lead Facilitator 
    • At the District Level: Michigan District Governor (2001-02), Chairwoman of the strategic planning committee, CKI and Key Club administrator, Member of the Kiwanis International Foundation Board of Trustees (2006-09) 
    • A Diamond-level 4 George F. Hixson fellow of the Kiwanis International Foundation 
    • A Diamond-level 6 charter Walter Zeller Fellow
    • Received our foundation’s Tablet of Honor
    • Earned membership in the Heritage Society with a planned gift

    She definitely enjoys keeping her schedule full—we are so pleased to have such a well-rounded International President! We are excited to have Sue Petrisin as the 2015–16 Kiwanis International president—and we can’t wait to see her add even more to Kiwanis history!

    2015-16 Kiwanis International President, Sue Petrisin

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  • U.S. President Obama congratulates Kiwanis

     “The world’s children will write the future,” penned the President of the United States in a letter celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Kiwanis International. President Barack Obama sent the members of the Kiwanis family his congratulations to be read at the Kiwanis International convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

    President Obama’s letter continues, “(Children) are tomorrow’s leaders, makers and doers, and we can each play a part in unlocking the extraordinary potential within them and empowering them to reach for their greatest aspirations.”

    “With hundreds of thousands of members serving in more than 80 countries, Kiwanis International is lifting up the lives of young people around the globe. Every nation, every neighborhood, and every child is different—and your work to embrace the unique needs of the individuals and communities you serve speaks to our common humanity, cultivates compassion in our society, and helps ensure all children can go as far as their hard work and dreams will take them."

    “As you reflect on a century of service, I wish you the very best.”

    The president signs his name at the bottom of the letter.

    *Due to restrictions on presidential communications, the letter from President Obama cannot be posted online. It is on display in the Kiwanis International Office in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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  • Smiling faces and full stomachs

    The international conventions of the Kiwanis family attracted nearly 6,000 people to downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, in June. Circle K’s convention was one of the events hosted in the city as part of Kiwanis International’s 100th anniversary celebration. Another big success during the weekend was the Alumni Luncheon.  


    Nearly 180 alumni from both Key Club and Circle K filled the Hard Rock Cafe—the whole place!—on June 27. Recent graduates had a chance to connect with each other, and with seasoned alumni like Cathy Caldie (formerly Cathy Black) and Eric Paul, both of whom served as vice presidents on the 1979–80 CKI International board. Cathy and Eric were joined by Greg Faulkner, international president in 1975–76, and Dave Kelly, international president in 1982–83 (pictured below).

    All attendees had the chance to participate in the Key Club Mind Twister and the Circle K Mind Twister, both of which challenged players with questions regarding the programs’ respective histories. You can play too—see how well you can do. And check out the winners!

    Circle K Mind Twister Winners:
    CKI Alumni first prize winner CKI Alumni second prize winner

    Find more pictures from the event on the Circle K Alumni Facebook page. Feel free to “tag” yourself where you see appropriate!

    Thanks to all who celebrated at the Key Club International and Circle K International Alumni reception. We hope to see even more people next year!

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  • 2015 Circle K International Convention

    If you weren't able to attend the Circle K International convention this yearworry not! Catch up with these highlights from the event.


    Attendees of CKIx 2015 completed 4,500 hours of community service around the Indianapolis area. The largest community service project, called “Extreme Neighborhood Makeover”, included multiple projects around the Hawthorne and Haughville neighborhoods. Circle K members helped to clean up neighborhood parks and community centers, cleaned up neighborhood streets of weeds and trash, painted murals in the community, and even spent some time with the local children they were volunteering for. There were so many Circle K members out doing great service that the Indianapolis newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, even featured them. There was a lot of publicity for the “Extreme Neighborhood Makeover”, and Shayna Cole (Indiana District Governor) represented Circle K International well in interviews at the project sites.


    Wrapping up service to the Indianapolis community on Friday during the convention, CKI members branched out to nine organizations across the city: Ronald McDonald House, Faith Hope Love, 24 Hours of Booty, St. Vincent de Paul food pantry, Coburn Place, Exodus Refugee, Teacher’s Treasures, Gigi’s Playhouse, and Gleaners Food Bank. It was at Gleaners that the group made history with the most food sorted in one day, setting the record at 32,504 pounds of food. The warehouse now has an honorary Large Scale Service Project (LSSP) shirt with every volunteer’s signature that will hang in it's office.


    The delegates of the 2015 convention elected the following individuals to serve on the 2015-16 board of trustees: 

    • President Racheile Ricklefs (Florida District)
    • Vice President Jessica Davis (Indiana District)
    • Trustee-At-Large Calvin Charles (Capital District)
    • Subregion A Trustee Cedrick Mah (Western Canada District)
    • Subregion B Trustee Jennifer Park (California-Nevada-Hawaii District)
    • Subregion C Trustee Emily Bagwell (Michigan District)
    • Subregion D Trustee Sara Nguyen (Missouri-Arkansas District)
    • Subregion E Trustee Amanda Ferster (Pennsylvania District)
    • Subregion F Trustee Vy Tran (Capital District)
    • Subregion G Trustee Camille Tyler (Carolinas District)

    On Saturday morning, Circle K members got up bright and early to attend convention workshops. Workshop topics range from service and volunteerism to professional skills. Members learned how to plan events, manage a budget, “chill out” and de-stress and to set and achieve fitness goals. Some members had the opportunity to attend one three-hour workshop where, with only US$200 they planned and ran a service project.


    The entire Kiwanis family came together for an Indianapolis Indians baseball game on Friday evening complete with fireworks. 2014-15 Circle K International President Kathy Le played one of the on-the-field games and 2014-15 Kiwanis International President Dr. John Button and Kiwanis International Executive Director Stan Soderstrom threw the first pitch. Kiwanis and Circle K members were joined by Key Club and Aktion Club attendees at the game.


    Delegates to the convention were also treated to a concert by hellogoodbye and A Great Big Pile of Leaves. During the concert the lead singer of Hellogoodbye, Forrest Kline, wore a Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF box─and even crowd surfed in it. The band let students come on stage and interact with the band members for most of the performance. The show was closed with an entertaining rendition of "Happy Birthday" for Kiwanis International. Circle K and Key Club members alike had a great time enjoying the music and celebrating the end of the convention.


    All in all it was a great convention. If you missed CKIx this year, plan to come to next year's convention! CKIx 2016 will be held in Toronto Ontario, Canada. Learn more about it!


    Check out the CKI Flickr account for more images!


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  • Spread the word: what does the Kiwanis family mean to you?

    Thanks to your involvement with Circle K, you’re a member of the Kiwanis family. And that experience has helped shape the person you’ve become. If you loved it, you want to share it. Here’s your chance!


    Here are a few questions to help you create your story:

    How has Circle K shaped who you are? Leadership opportunities afford CKI members the tools needed to become engaged citizens. When you joined Circle K, you pledged to foster compassion and goodwill through service and leadership, and to develop your abilities and the abilities of all people. Explain how this dedication played a role in shaping who you are.


    Tell us about your journey after Circle K. CKI members experience fellowship and develop lifelong relationships in their communities every day. Get re-connected or make new connections with other alumni, by sharing where life has led you. Your classmates want to know what you have been up to since graduation. Be proud of all you have accomplished!


    If you’re in a Kiwanis club, what service projects is it known for? Many Kiwanis clubs are known in their communities for a specific annual service project. By having a project that your club is known for, you are spreading awareness within your community. But don’t stop there, spread that awareness to your fellow alumni—by telling us. If you are an adviser or an administrator, you are enhancing the members experience -- but that’s not all, there is also impact on you. Share your experiences within your position and inspire others to get involved. If you’re not in a Kiwanis club, find one. The story doesn’t have to end after CKI!


    There are more benefits to sharing your story
    than you may think. Encourage fellow alumni to do the same. Inspire others to get involved, encourage fellow alumni to share their experiences, and spread the word. If you speak up
    today, your story could be highlighted in the next newsletter or shared through our social media sites! We want to share your story with the world, but we can only do this if you decide to speak up.



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  • Circle K Mind Twister

    Think you know all about Circle K? Prove it! Test what you know about CKI by taking the Circle K Mind Twister!

    (True master's of Circle K knowledge don't look at the answers until the end!)

    Let's begin!


    1) How many years since the first CKI club was chartered?

    A. 90 years

    B. 68 years

    C. 100 years

    D. 78 years


    2) The Circle K International pledge, fill in the blanks!

    "I pledge to uphold the objectives of Circle K International, to foster _________ and __________ toward others through service and leadership, to develop my abilities and the abilities of all people, and to dedicate myself to the realization of mankind's potential."

    A. kindness, love

    B. understanding, compassion

    C. compassion, goodwill

    D. love, duty


    3) Originally, Circle K was organized as a fraternity, Kappa lota Phi. Their mission was to serve men who needed financial aid to attend college.

    True / False

    4) The origins of Circle K International were in _________, Washington.

    A. Pullman

    B. Vancouver

    C. Redmond

    D. Auburn

    5) What is the slogan of CKI?

    A. We Rock. Enough Said.

    B. Caring - Our Way of Life

    C. Service is life!

    D. Live to Serve, Love to Serve

    _______________________________________________________________



    Circle K Mind Twister Answers (no peaking!!)

    1. B '68 years'
    2. C 'compassion/goodwill'
    3. True
    4. A 'Pullman'
    5. D 'Live to Serve, Love to Serve'


    Want to try out the Key Club Mind Twister? Check it out

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  • Jen Wolff: from member to mentor!

    From the beginning, Jen Wolff learned how important personal connection is to the Kiwanis family. It’s a benefit that has stuck with her to the present day, both as an active Circle K alumnus and a current Kiwanis club member. 
    In fact, Jen might never have heard of Circle K or the larger Kiwanis family at all—except for her connection to a Circle K member during her freshman year at Towson University in Maryland.
    “My roommate and I were walking through the student union,” Jen says. “The Circle K club was recruiting there, and my roommate joined. She swore she would get me to join.”
    It took until Jen’s junior year, but when she finally joined the club, she was all in. She even became the vice president of the Towson University chapter within a week—and eventually helped the club’s membership double. After all, she had already learned a key lesson about recruiting from her roommate.
    “It’s like we say in Kiwanis: people join people, not clubs.”
    [subhead]
    Member and mentor
    [copy]
     Like many alumni, Jen has great memories of the service and fellowship of her Circle K days.  And now that she’s a district administrator, she even sees her fondness for former advisors in a new light. But during her college years, it took a while to comprehend the full value of that mentorship.
    “I didn’t have much exposure to Kiwanians,” she says. “I saw the same two Kiwanis members at our events, and I went to a few Kiwanis meetings where we sat and ate chicken and otherwise just stayed at our table. I didn’t have an understanding of the special relationship between Kiwanians and our Service Leadership Programs until I joined the CKI district board as a committee chair.”
    It became even clearer during one Capital District event, when the Kiwanian John Tyner let some CKI members room at his home in Rockville, Maryland. 
    “I remember thinking, ‘Who would let 20 college kids they don’t know stay at their house?’” Jen says. “Now I am that Kiwanian. Every year at that first board meeting, I’ll have a few bewildered CKI board members say to me, ‘I can’t believe you’re letting us all stay here.’ I always think of John when I do something like that, and I get a good laugh. I didn’t understand what a true Kiwanian was until I met John Tyner.”
    Her experience also gives her insights into the importance of membership. As a student and a Kiwanian, Jen has seen how much it can mean to a young adult—and the difference a committed mentor can make.
    “Until Circle K, I didn’t know I had all these things in me—facilitation during leadership training, standing in front of people and speaking, that kind of thing,” Jen says. “It made me realize what I’m capable of, what I didn’t think was possible.”
    [subhead]
    A Kiwanis-family family
    [copy]
    When Jen first met Jeffrey Wolff, he was a Kiwanian on rhe Capital District Committee for CKI. At the time, she says, Jeffrey was just “the young, cool Kiwanian, the guy who’d show us his latest techie toy, like a new tablet—this was way before iPads were around.”
    A few years later, she was a college graduate and became a member of the Tysons Corner/McLean Kiwanis Club in Virginia. “I remember walking into the club and saying, ‘What are you doing here?’” Jen says. “And he said, ‘Well, I’m a member here.’”
    That was just the beginning of what became a lifelong relationship. Jen and Jeffrey are married now and have three children. And they continue to have the Kiwanis family in common too. Even if fate hadn’t brought her and Jeffrey into each other’s lives, Jen says, she would be a Kiwanian and a CKI advisor. But it’s a definite advantage for both of them to be Kiwanis leaders and CKI advisors.
    “We always joke that if we were married to someone who wasn’t in Kiwanis, they wouldn’t understand,” she says.
    In fact, Jen first got reacquainted with Circle K when she joined the Capital District’s CKI committee as a zone administrator while Jeff was the CKI district administrator. And when Jeff stepped down in 2010, Jen stepped up. She has been the district administrator since then. 
    In her seven years as a Kiwanian, Jen has also been a two-term distinguished president of the Tysons Corner/McLean Kiwanis Club and a Capital Kiwanis distinguished lieutenant governor. In addition, she is currently the editor of the district’s publication, The Capital Kiwanian. 
    [subhead]
    Alumni advantages
    [copy]
    Being a CKI alumnus has been a benefit to Jen even beyond her family (and the Kiwanis family). A graphic designer, Jen got her first job out of college thanks to her CKI membership. She interviewed for a design position with a rural advocacy group, and after some “back and forth,” she says, she was hired.
    “A few months down the road, the person who hired me mentioned that it had been between me and another person,” Jen adds. “I said, ‘What made you choose me?’ She said, ‘You had on your resume that you did club building and membership work, and we wanted someone with a membership background who could also be a sounding board for us.’
    “It was a graphic design job,” she adds, “but because of my experience at CKI, I had an advantage.”
    Now she helps current members create that kind of advantage through service experience and leadership skills. And she believes CKI members and young alumni will provide a mutual benefit for Kiwanis clubs and members who stay involved with the program.
    “I think Kiwanis is trending in that direction—becoming more and more accepting of what younger members bring to the table,” she says.
    And when it comes to club membership, Jen believes younger Circle K alumni should be proactive too. “It’s such a fulfilling thing to do in a world that’s so busy,” she says. “Talking to people who aren’t in a Kiwanis club, they sometimes tell me they visited a club and it just wasn’t for them. But it might have been just that club. 
    “I tell them, ‘That might not have been the one, but keep looking for one—or even build one that works for you.’” 

    From the beginning, Jen Wolff learned how important personal connection is to the Kiwanis family. It’s a benefit that has stuck with her to the present day, both as an active Circle K alumnus and a current Kiwanis club member.

    In fact, Jen might never have heard of Circle K or the larger Kiwanis family at all—except for her connection to a Circle K member during her freshman year at Towson University in Maryland.

    “My roommate and I were walking through the student union,” Jen says. “The Circle K club was recruiting there, and my roommate joined. She swore she would get me to join.”

    It took until Jen’s junior year, but when she finally joined the club, she was all in. She even became the vice president of the Towson University chapter within a week—and eventually helped the club’s membership double. After all, she had already learned a key lesson about recruiting from her roommate.

    “It’s like we say in Kiwanis: people join people, not clubs.”

    Member and mentor

    Like many alumni, Jen has great memories of the service and fellowship of her Circle K days.  And now that she’s a district administrator, she even sees her fondness for former advisors in a new light. But during her college years, it took a while to comprehend the full value of that mentorship.

    I didn’t have much exposure to Kiwanians,” she says. “I saw the same two Kiwanis members at our events, and I went to a few Kiwanis meetings where we sat and ate chicken and otherwise just stayed at our table. I didn’t have an understanding of the special relationship between Kiwanians and our Service Leadership Programs until I joined the CKI district board as a committee chair.”

    It became even clearer during one Capital District event, when the Kiwanian John Tyner let some CKI members room at his home in Rockville, Maryland.

    “I remember thinking, ‘Who would let 20 college kids they don’t know stay at their house?’” Jen says. “Now I am that Kiwanian. Every year at that first board meeting, I’ll have a few bewildered CKI board members say to me, ‘I can’t believe you’re letting us all stay here.’ I always think of John when I do something like that, and I get a good laugh. I didn’t understand what a true Kiwanian was until I met John Tyner.”

    Her experience also gives her insights into the importance of membership. As a student and a Kiwanian, Jen has seen how much it can mean to a young adult—and the difference a committed mentor can make.

    “Until Circle K, I didn’t know I had all these things in me—facilitation during leadership training, standing in front of people and speaking, that kind of thing,” Jen says. “It made me realize what I’m capable of, what I didn’t think was possible.”

    A Kiwanis-family family

    When Jen first met Jeffrey Wolff, he was a Kiwanian on the Capital District Committee for CKI. At the time, she says, Jeffrey was just “the young, cool Kiwanian, the guy who’d show us his latest techie toy, like a new tablet—this was way before iPads were around.”

    A few years later, she was a college graduate and became a member of the Tysons Corner/McLean Kiwanis Club in Virginia. “I remember walking into the club and saying, ‘What are you doing here?’” Jen says. “And he said, ‘Well, I’m a member here.’”

    That was just the beginning of what became a lifelong relationship. Jen and Jeffrey are married now and have three children. And they continue to have the Kiwanis family in common too. Even if fate hadn’t brought her and Jeffrey into each other’s lives, Jen says, she would be a Kiwanian and a CKI advisor. But it’s a definite advantage for both of them to be Kiwanis leaders and CKI advisors.

    “We always joke that if we were married to someone who wasn’t in Kiwanis, they wouldn’t understand,” she says.

    In fact, Jen first got reacquainted with Circle K when she joined the Capital District’s CKI committee as a zone administrator while Jeff was the CKI district administrator. And when Jeff stepped down in 2010, Jen stepped up. She has been the district administrator since then.

    In her seven years as a Kiwanian, Jen has also been a two-term distinguished president of the Tysons Corner/McLean Kiwanis Club and a Capital Kiwanis distinguished lieutenant governor. In addition, she is currently the editor of the district’s publication, The Capital Kiwanian.

    Alumni advantages

    Being a CKI alumnus has been a benefit to Jen even beyond her family (and the Kiwanis family). A graphic designer, Jen got her first job out of college thanks to her CKI membership. She interviewed for a design position with a rural advocacy group, and after some “back and forth,” she says, she was hired.

    “A few months down the road, the person who hired me mentioned that it had been between me and another person,” Jen adds. “I said, ‘What made you choose me?’ She said, ‘You had on your resume that you did club building and membership work, and we wanted someone with a membership background who could also be a sounding board for us.’

    “It was a graphic design job,” she adds, “but because of my experience at CKI, I had an advantage.”

    Now she helps current members create that kind of advantage through service experience and leadership skills. And she believes CKI members and young alumni will provide a mutual benefit for Kiwanis clubs and members who stay involved with the program.

    “I think Kiwanis is trending in that direction—becoming more and more accepting of what younger members bring to the table,” she says.

    And when it comes to club membership, Jen believes younger Circle K alumni should be proactive too. “It’s such a fulfilling thing to do in a world that’s so busy,” she says. “Talking to people who aren’t in a Kiwanis club, they sometimes tell me they visited a club and it just wasn’t for them. But it might have been just that club.

    “I tell them, ‘That might not have been the one, but keep looking for one—or even build one that works for you.’” 


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Circle K International - Kiwanis Service Leadership Programs