Why am I in Kiwanis?

Dionne McCullar and Walt Tibbit
My story to share and mine’s only. About 8 +yrs ago, I was feeling some kind of way. Our youngest daughter had just graduated from high school and was on her way to the next chapter of her life (college) many many miles from home. I had spent the past 4 yrs getting her off to school and back, keeping house and managing our business. I was about to be an “empty nester” and didn’t know what to do with that. There would be nobody at home that really needed me like that again (not counting the grand kids).
After discussing this at length with my husband (the dilemma that our youngest child was now going off to college), I felt I needed to volunteer somewhere to fill up this empty space. As I type about it now, I recall the day I had to drive her to the airport and say goodbye. I boo hoo’d for a while, after I got home (sitting in her room because I missed her dearly), but I digress . I’d been serving SF for 14 yrs in a different capacity, why not volunteer now?
I knew about several different community service clubs and was invited to a Kiwanis meeting by a friend I will always be grateful to for inviting me (Laura Provencher). I took her up on her offer, without knowing what I was getting into. I have a tendency to get sleepy if I’m a meeting that isn’t holding my interest. I sometimes pinch myself under the table, so I don’t fall asleep (tactic used all the time while attending training in an unmentionable law enforcement/don’t tell anybody .
From the very first meeting I did not once have to pinch myself. I was introduced to a group of people from all walks of life/age, etc. that kept me amused during this 1 1/2 hour meeting. I was surprised that everyone greeted me (I found out later there was a secret greeter in the room and a fee if you failed to greet everyone). Everyone was interested in what I had to say and why I was considering serving (weeks later I had to share sad dollars, as I’d dropped my daughter at the airport). I met several seniors who’d been serving their community for 30+ years (and continue to this day). I found out what the Mission was for Kiwanis (children and changing community stood out for me). Maybe it was the President’s (Jack Maley), charming personality that made me feel comfortable and right at home with this group of strangers I’d just met.
Whatever the reason, I never left. I welcomed the opportunity to not talk about my business for a change and to focus on serving my community. I welcomed the feeling you have when you get to see the smiles on the kids faces from the seeing the Easter Bunny at the longest running Easter Egg Hunt, to Breakfast w/Santa, Kids Day at the Park, Kids Day of Fishing to the H.S. Seniors Scholarship recipients about to start the next chapter. I welcome it because we are surrounded by negativity everywhere we look. Kiwanis gave me an outlet to change that. I get nothing back financially but it fills my need to help someone else.

Dionne McCullar Kiwanis Fairfield CA.