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Key Club International

Updated on December 6, 2014

Key Club International is the high school level branch of Kiwanis International. It was established in Sacramento California over 85 years ago and since then its popularity has grown exponentially. Today Key Club International has roots in 30 countries with a membership of over 250,000.

In September 2008 I attended my first Millburn High School Key Club general members meeting, but I had no idea how much this club would influence and affect my life. Before knowing what Key Club actually was I assumed it had something to do with keys, a common misconception. I quickly learned that Key Club was an enormous global network of teenagers giving back.

In my high school, Key Club has a huge membership as it is an organization with a very good reputation and it looks fantastic on college applications, but few can even comprehend the possibilities that Key Club can offer an individual.

At an individual high school level, Key Clubs facilitate community service projects such as raising awareness about human suffering all over the world and means of helping. Each club has a president and vice president and so on. However, Key Club becomes more and more powerful in the global community as one participates on higher levels of association.

At the divisional level Key Clubs work with other local Key Clubs to create larger events. For example, as a member of Millburn High School Key Club I was also a member of Division 14. Under the supervision of the Lieutenant Governor (the highest rank at a divisional level) and with the help of our sister clubs, we put together a battle of the bands. Round one was conducted by each individual high school (Millburn, Columbia, Union, etc.) and the top three acts moved onto the divisional round. The winner of the divisional round went on to compete in the final state-wide round which was put together by several Lieutenant Governors. This event not only raised funds for charity, but also brought a lot of talented and bright high schools students that may not have met if it was not for Key Club.

At a district level Key Club begins to show it true potential of influence and charity. The New Jersey District of Key Club International is the densest district in the United States. In other words, the New Jersey district has the most clubs and active members in the smallest amount of territory. Every year, a district project is decided on by the incoming District Governor (the highest rank at a district level) and board. The District Service Project is the core focus that connects each individual Key Club with a common goal. For example the 2012-2013 District Project is the Eliminate Project, focused on eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus. District projects are decided upon and revealed every year at District Convention, the largest annual district level event. To read more about feel free to click here.

The final and largest level of Key Club is of course Key Club International. The international board is comprised of a President (the highest rank of Key Club International), Vice President and eleven International Trustees. These leaders are the “cream of the crop” as far as Key Clubbers are concerned. They are the most qualified in people skills and community service. Key Club International brings all Key Clubbers together in order to pool efforts and energies into an area that makes an international impact through the Major Emphasis. The Major Emphasis, like District Projects, unites Key Clubs under a common banner of service that deals with the most important part of community and youth. For example the 2012-2013 Major Emphasis is "Children: Their Future, Our Focus.” Therefore, District Projects must in some way fit under this category.


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Key Club International is a beautifully structured, run and focused high school community service organization in the world (at least in my opinion). But how do you get involved? The easiest way to start is by finding the nearest Key Club to where you live. If your high school does not have one, find another local club and see what it’s all about. If your high school does have a club, join! If not, start one! Starting a club may seem like a daunting task, but there are hundreds of people, high school aged individuals who want to help. After joining/creating a Key Club spread the love and climb the ladder of service until you find where you belong within Key Club. One of the many things that being a devoted member of Key Club taught me is that nothing is impossible just because of your age. A senior in high school is the International President of the largest community service organization in the world. If she can do it, you can do.

If you are beyond your high school days or have not made it there, there are still plenty of ways to become a part of the Kiwanis family:

Is the a Kiwanis club for your age group near you? (e.g. Key Club in your High School?)

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