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October 6, 2011

Helping: One Child at a Time

Joan Marie Aquilino

Well, I’ve found yet another private organization that steps up and has been stepping up for nearly 100 years. I joined the Kiwanis Club of Frederick this past week and am so honored to have been accepted.


I’ve always been a soft touch when it comes to children and protecting them but on the flipside. I’m not so much a proponent of our government making everyone a dependent of government services.


Since my own girls became adults, I’ve lost my connection on a day-to-day basis in helping children and focused more on helping my county. This I will continue to do, but now it’s time to step it up and do more, reach further, test my comfort threshold. It’s time to get back to my roots and what first got me involved in things other than myself. There are problems and Kiwanis has solutions and I want to be part of that effort.


As many of you have heard me say – and even write about – over the last couple years, my own daughter put action to her words and spent many hours helping in orphanages throughout Asia. Now it’s time that Mama also follows in those steps. She is now back home (temporarily I’m sure) and teaching in a Title One school.


Kiwanis have one purpose and that is to “To Serve the children of the world,” be it right next door or across the oceans. What else in our lives could be more noble or worthy of our time, effort and, yes, our money, too.


This is where the rubber meets the road. If we don’t want government spoon feeding us, then we need to find ways to fix things ourselves within our own communities. Keep in mind when you are thinking only about taking care of those at home that our government spends billions helping other nations. So, we have to think more globally – where the need is and how we can best find solutions, one at a time. We can all see the problems, but only those that truly find solutions are the ones who accomplish and fulfill their goals.


Kiwanis has numerous objectives but the ones that stole my heart were: One Child; One Program; One Community at a time. And the other was The Power of One. They just reinforce time and again how one person truly can make a difference; and when you add up all those Ones, you’ve got Solutions happening in every corner of our world, here at home and thousands of miles away, too.


I’ve always believed that little else matters in our lives unless you matter in the life of a child. During the last election here in Frederick, I had one woman tell me that after reading an article I wrote about doing instead of whining, she opted to do exactly that and made her mark running for elected office. I so admire her for doing that, but now we can take it another step and do more.


Some of the reasons the Kiwanis might be the right fit for you is if you “Believe children are the future; Take pride in your community; and Want to reach out to those in need.”


My focus today is on this particular club, but there are so many wonderful organizations that – if each of us took the time to find our best fit and did something – our world would be the better for it. If you want our government to have less of a role, then you need to be willing to step up to the plate and take on those roles.


Remember One Person at a time can change the world and make it a better place for everyone. Don’t be someone who only points out the problems. Be the One person who puts themselves out there to solve the problems.


Find the place that best fits you personally; and, as the saying goes, “Just Do It.” Stop over thinking. Stop whining and make a move. Help one child today and then find a group that helps and involve yourself with them so all your tomorrows will be in helping and solving.


I know it will get under your skin and you won’t be able to stop at one. It’s like eating potato chips. You’ll sleep better, feel more fulfilled and be helping children. How much better could it get?


I would be remise if I didn’t give a special thank you to our local Kiwanis Club for a wonderful welcome the other evening at their annual installation dinner held at Homewood. I hesitantly admit that I was a bit nervous going in, but the welcome lunch prior with Roz Nasher (our going president) and Consie Myers (new president) made all inhibitions disappear. Their enthusiasm is infectious. Listening to them speak about the projects done and the ones to come; the passion for what they are doing shown in their face. You can’t fake that kind of feeling.


I can’t imagine anyone denying either of them anything. I look forward to working with them both and getting to know all the members. Sterling Bollinger and John Ashbury are two self-proclaimed ‘grouchy ole men.’ They, too, are a part of this organization. How wonderful is that, grouchy ole men with hearts of gold.


As always, we need to hear from you. So let us know what’s on your mind by emailing us at, or contacting me directly at


. . . . .'til next time . . .


“Just Joan” saying be safe and “don’t believe everything you think.”


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