As you make your New Year's resolutions, add this one to your list: Visit a service club and check one out for possible membership. Membership in a service club is an extra 30 minutes a week on a breakfast, lunch or dinner hour for a club meeting filled with information, fun, friends and service.
For some, it's a way to start a day inspired with a sunrise club. For others it's a way to stay informed about your community. For others, service club membership is a way to end a day, with friends at a dinner meeting.
Many people want to make a difference in the world, and for those of us in service clubs, we find that we can have a greater impact as a group than as an individual.
Take, for example, Rotary's $480-million effort to eradicate polio and provide the polio vaccine to some 2 billion children under the age of five. As many as 1.2 million Rotarians, including 170 in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, are making a difference with their local community service projects. Visit http://www.rotary.org.
Here are some other clubs that you might want to join:
Exchange Club members make a difference with their major thrust of prevention of child abuse. They promote Americanism with the Freedom Shrines — copies of historical documents important in American history — that are found in our schools, libraries and at John Wayne Airport. Visit http://www.nationalexchangeclub.org.
Soroptimist International, including our local Newport Harbor chapter, makes a difference with its emphasis on local women's opportunities and the development of women peace ambassadors around the world. Visit http://www.soroptimist.org.
The Lions Club's major emphasis is on blindness, and preserving sight with eye exams for our local schoolchildren and major treatment campaigns in developing countries. You can recycle your old eyeglasses thanks to the efforts of Lions Clubs locally. Visit http://www.lionsclubs.org.
Kiwanis clubs around the world have a major campaign underway to eliminate iodine deficiency illness in developing countries and dozens of local projects benefiting youth. Visit http://www.kiwanisinternational.org.
Who are members of service clubs? Men and women. Business and community leaders, educators, clergy, retirees, recent college graduates, housewives and your neighbors. People who want to make a difference.
Help your community and the world through a service club! For many, service club membership is an extension of our religious beliefs and congregation affiliation.
You are invited to attend a service club meeting this coming week to learn more about opportunity for service. Most clubs will buy your first meal for you as you get acquainted with them.
Lions wrap up holiday season for boys and girls
Children at the Westside Boys & Girls Club had their annual opportunity to choose gifts of toys and items to give to their family members and themselves again this year.
The Harbor Mesa Lions once again were there to wrap hundreds of gifts for them. Tons of brand-new toys, electronics, stuffed animals and sports items were donated by local businesses and individuals to provide a genuine Santa's Warehouse for the shopping spree.
Children earn points throughout the year to "purchase" the items, and most of the children had a huge bagful of gifts for the Lions to wrap.
"The excitement and happiness of these kids on this day is quite contagious," Harbor Lions President Carol Proctor said. She added: "Our members really get a kick out of doing this each year."
One of the members, Kathy Blake, who is blind and can outwrap any of the others, brought her Seeing Eye dog, who also enjoyed the event. For further information and pictures of this event and other projects the club is involved in, go to the chapter's website at nhcmlionsclub.com.