PITTSBURG — Kiwanis is gearing up for its 100th year.
One of the group’s goals for its centennial birthday is to amp up the memberships with its annual membership drive.
According to a release, “Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improve the world one child and one community at a time.”
In 2021, the club will have its 100th birthday.
Over the years, the club has sponsored or supported many community organizations and programs through various means — including Children’s Advocacy Center, Family Resource Center, Habitat for Humanity, Mother-To-Mother Ministry, Mount Carmel Foundation, Parents University and many more.
The organization has also provided scholarships over the years. The group has also worked through fundraising to help organizations eliminate goiters and tetanus worldwide.
Past President Mark Johnson, began his membership in the Pittsburg Noon Kiwanis as a  transfer member from Parsons. He started in 1984 and then joined Pittsburg Noon Kiwanis in 1986.
One time, Johnson speculated, the club had approximately 40 projects in a single year.
“The reason I joined Kiwanis is community connection and helping young people grow and be what they want to be,” he said.  
“And I would say it’s great fun,” Leann Webb add. Webb has been a Kiwanis member for 15 years. “It’s great fellowship. “I’ve gotten to know people that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”
The club had an positive effect on Rick Hudson, a member since 1996. His involvement helped build his resume, he said.
“The programs have been unbelievably great, we have every subject you can imagine,” he said.
One of the longest standing members is Joe Beauchamp. He’s been in Kiwanis for 30 years, and of those year’s he had 29 years of perfect attendance.
“I think we are really like a time capsule,” Beauchamp said. “I was a member of the club when we debated to and decided to allow women to become Kiwanians.  
“And then I have been able to see that it is the women of the community that have kept our club going and have made great contributions.”
Beauchamp said it is “very fulfilling” to see students in Kiwanis youth groups — K-Club, Key Club, Builders Club and Circle K International  — become Kiwanians as adults.
One of the newer members, Chris Bohrer, started at the end of 2017. What is unique to Bohrer’s membership is that works in the community and resides elsewhere, he said.
Kiwanis gives Bohrer an opportunity to visit with the community he works in, he said.
“It was a way to be part of the community,” Bohrer said. “A huge part of it was to give back to the community.”
Noon Kiwanis President Nazar Saman agreed and said the group allows people to stay in touch with the community. “Joining Kiwanis is my way of giving back to a community that I care for,”  Saman said. “For a long time I searched for a way to help and volunteer, but by joining Kiwanis I was able to help in many projects to support organizations helping kids.”
“The object of the membership drive, is the more members we have the more we can do for the kids in our community.”

Want to go?
Kiwanis Club of Pittsburg will host a membership drive at noon on March 7 at the dePaul Hall at Ascension Via Christi Hospital. Guests eat for free. People must RSVP by March 6 by calling  620-249-2620.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.