JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The newly minted 2013 will see three new service clubs at Northview, Chattahoochee and Johns Creek high schools with more than 120 students as the newest Junior Civitans ready to make a difference in their community.
The Dec. 11 ceremony at Taylor Lodge saw the clubs each receive their charter and congratulations from Johns Creek Civitan President Doug Smith, Fulton County Schools Area Superintendent Will Rumbaugh, Civitan District Gov. Betty Lastinger and Civitan Area 2 (Ga.-Fla.-S.C.) Director Faye Evans.
The evening was even more remarkable because the Johns Creek Civitan Club, itself just chartered six months ago, had worked with school officials to get the younger generation involved so quickly.
Civitan International, based in Birmingham, Ala., is an association of community service clubs founded in 1917. The organization aims “to build good citizenship by providing a volunteer organization of clubs dedicated to serving individual and community needs.” But it specializes in helping people with developmental disabilities.
The organization boasts 40,000 members in around 1,000 clubs worldwide.
The elder Civitans got their start in Johns Creek when Civitan Terry Crouch moved to the city only to discover there was no local club for him to join.
“Well, I’ve been 20 years a Civitan. So I did what any Civitan would do, and started a club here,” Crouch said.
They now meet the first and third Tuesdays at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast at the Standard Club.
“Then getting the Junior Civitan clubs started was something the club wanted to do right away. I have to say, they didn’t waste any time,” Crouch said.
Civitan advisors working with school officials spoke to students in groups to recruit members who would take up the Junior Civitan Creed in which they dedicate themselves to society and with a commitment to make the world a better place.
Of course, they will start with just one little corner of Johns Creek. But it’s a start.
District Gov. Lastinger told the students that all Civitans carry out civic projects.
“But our organization is more hands-on. We might build wheelchair ramps or clean up yards. We do fundraising and work to transform our communities. But our main focus is to change and improve the lives of the developmentally disabled,” Lastinger said.
Evans, who is director of a tri-state area, congratulated the students for making this service commitment.
“You have taken this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. But you will find it will make a difference in your lives as well,” Evans said. “You will find the Junior Civitans build good citizenship through fellowship with others, knowledge as you expand your mental horizons and through service.”
Eric Beppler, the newly installed co-president of the Northview Junior Civitans, said he was approached by the Northview Civitan advisor Grant Hickey and liked the idea of doing something.
“I see an opportunity to get involved with our community and the international community as well. It’s a chance to help others and expand your personal horizons at the same time,” Beppler said.