About 75 volunteers from local service clubs met to help clean up a portion of the Green River Trail in Kent.
The Celebrate Community initiative united local clubs from the four major volunteer service organizations — Kiwanis, Lions, Optimist and Rotary International — to focus on joint community service projects during the week of Oct. 10-16. This first public effort encourages local clubs to reach out to one another to work together on projects that improve and benefit local communities.
Locally, Kent-area service clubs worked together to organize a cleanup of the Green River Trail on Oct. 16. Volunteers met at 9:30 a.m. to socialize over doughnuts and coffee, and cleaned the trail from approximately 10 a.m. to noon.
Volunteers from the following clubs were in attendance: the Kent Lions Club, Kent Kiwanis Club, Kent-AM Kiwanis Club, Kent Rotary Club, Kent Sunrise Rotary Club, Green River Valley Aktion Club (a Kiwanis Club), and Kentridge High School Key Club (sponsored by Kiwanis), Green River College Rotaract and Kentlake High School Interact (both sponsored by Covington Rotary).
In addition, several members of the community – without any club affiliation – joined the effort.
“The pandemic has stretched many communities, particularly smaller cities and towns, to the limit,” said Rita Schwarting of Kent-AM Kiwanis. “A joint project allows us to pool resources, join hands and work together. We have our Kentridge High School Key Club and our Green River Valley Aktion Club (adults with intellectual and physical disabilities) joining us to make a difference in our city.”
The city of Kent provided tools for the project.
“We have so many common goals and objectives and this is one way to join together to work on a project that will have a measurable impact in our community,” said Kaycie Wood, president of Kent Rotary Club. “Many thanks to the City of Kent for providing equipment – pickers, vests, and bags – for this project.”
Randi E. Shartin, president of the Kent Lions Club, said coordinating to work on a joint community project was an awesome idea and that now more than ever, collaboration is needed.
Shartin also noted that resources can be limited in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Having our groups come together for one common goal is like the ‘beginning of a beautiful friendship,’ as Humphrey Bogart once said,” Shartin said.
Leadership from the four main international service organizations encouraged clubs around the world — and their youth programs — to work together on projects during Celebrate Community. Joint projects in each community allow volunteers who are serving in different clubs to learn more about each other, their organizations and their combined efforts to help children and adults who are challenged by environmental or financial difficulties.