Kiwanis Club Division 6 Lt. Gov. Virginia L. Combs spoke during the Bell County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon on Thursday.
Combs focused her speech on the history of the club and current programs.
The idea for the club originated in 1914 from Allen S. Browne and Joseph C. Prance, both natives of Michigan. The concept was to develop an organization that provided fellowship and insurance features.
According to Kiwanis International, the club today is a worldwide service organization of men and women who share the challenge of community and world improvement.The organization has grown to include more than 4,800 clubs in 96 nations.
Combs said Middlesboro and Corbin are among two of the oldest Kiwanis Clubs in the region.
According to Kiwanis International, members give their time to make their communities and the world a better place.
The club takes on humanitarian and civic projects that many public authorities are not prepared or able to perform. A typical Kiwanis Club plans hands-on projects focusing on the special needs of the community, such as helping the elderly, promoting literacy or supporting youth sports.
The Kiwanis family includes organizations for young people, which are sponsored by clubs and the Kiwanis International Foundation. Those clubs include K-Kids (elementary level), Builders Clubs (middle school level), Aktion Clubs (for people living with disability), Kiwanis Junior (young adults in Europe), Key Clubs (high school) and Circle K Clubs (college).
Combs also spoke on an initiative Kiwanis has with UNICEF. The two organizations are partnering in a global effort to eliminate Maternal/Neonatal Tetanus (MNT), a deadly but preventable disease that kills mothers and newborns in the world’s poorest regions.
In addition to those funds provided for other Kiwanis service initiatives, the campaign is raising funds to eliminate MNT.
According to Combs, one baby dies every nine minutes from tetanus, approximately 160 babies die each day from tetanus and approximately $1.80 protects one woman and her future babies from the illness.
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