Kiwanis Club’s Projects Boost Local Kids and Community Print E-mail

Merrillville Noon Kiwanians (from left) Jeff Marlatt, Erika Kelly and George Thomas plan the group's upcoming membership Round Up Day.By Sue Ellen Ross
Post-Tribune correspondent

Merrillville, IN, August 22, 2008– As a high school teacher, Barbara Koby’s focus was always on her students.

Although Koby, a Crown Point resident, is retired now from the Merrillville school system, her focus has not changed.

Her work with the Merrillville Noon Kiwanis Club attests to this.

“My favorite project is our Dictionary Project,” Koby said. “We work with the Merrillville Breakfast Kiwanis Club to give every third-grade student in the town of Merrillville a dictionary. Each book has a nameplate in it with the student’s name, our Kiwanis logo and our Kiwanis name.”

A former English teacher, she knows the importance of a good dictionary.

“It has been proven that many children will keep their first dictionary for many years,” Koby said. “It is very rewarding to see how positively they react to these gifts.”

Koby is president of the Merrillville Noon Kiwanis Club.

Short before her retirement, she was thinking about joining a community group.

“I was nearing retirement and wanted to be involved in something,” she said. “This is a great organization, because it focuses on helping children. I worked with (teaching) high school students for 36 years.”

Bruce Woods serves with Koby as secretary/treasurer of the local chapter.

Merrillville Noon Kiwanians (from left) Jeff Marlatt, Erika Kelly and George Thomas plan the group's upcoming membership Round Up Day.“Our upcoming Round Up even is expected to generate more membership for the Merrillville Noon Kiwanis,: Woods said. “We expect our growth to boost fund-raising efforts as well.”

The group is involved in projects to help children in the community. In addition to other local organizations, Kiwanis supports charities such as Riley Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House.

The Merrillville Kiwanis chapter was chartered in November 1978. It has 19 member now, with the average age between 45 and 50.

“Our message of ‘changing the world one child and one community at a time’ is spreading, and people want to be part of that,” Koby said.

“Also, local business people are realizing that Kiwanis offers good networking opportunities that are not only good for our members and their businesses, but the community as a whole.”

In addition to supporting the dictionary project, the Kiwanis Club supports Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Camp Lawrence, the 4-H Embryology Project (a third grade program involving hatching chickens), Merrillville High School Key Club, Action Club, and scholarships, among others.

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