Materials ready for Civitan’s beach-themed events
By: Payal Gangishetti
Nonprofit Sector News
July 13, 2020
In these tough times of global pandemic to contain the spread of coronavirus, Civitan International, a worldwide organization of volunteer service clubs, has been helping those in need, while continuing its focus on persons with disabilities.
In a first of its kind initiative, the international organization is hosting a customizable beach-themed party on July 25. The event aims to provide beach experience to the medically fragile elderly, or persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who are unable to get out
due to the current pandemic situation.
“We want to make this summer special for individuals supported by residential facilities, who won’t be able to go for a vacation this year, so we are bringing the beach to them with this Beach Bash project,” said Megan Mindel, club development specialist of Civitan International. The organization has asked its local clubs to partner with the agencies or other clubs that already serve vulnerable communities to hold the event.
The organization has also come up with safety guidelines that are to be taken into consideration while organizing the event. All volunteers are asked to follow the updated CDC guidelines during the event. No water-based activities like kiddie pools, water ballons and guns will be allowed at the event, read the project guidelines on the organization’s website.
To make the event interesting and fun for the people, the local clubs, with the help of volunteers, are asked to plan a fun-filled afternoon in the sun with food, games, music, and more.
Amy Natsumi Roberts, Civitan’s marketing and communications director, stated that if throwing a party is not possible for some clubs, they can deliver beach-themed gift bags, snacks and decorations or collect supplies that they think would be needed for their community and distribute these items in the form of tool-kits.
Meanwhile, the organization delivered as many as 29 Beach Bash boxes to Glenwood Inc on July 10 — one for each residential home they support. According to Roberts, the Beach Bash boxes will benefit 124 residents. Each box contains items that residents can use in their home, including beach themed arts and crafts, coloring sheets, items to make beach pudding cups,
besides items for each resident like sunglasses, bubbles, activity sheets, and crayons.
“We held a donation drive for the event in June that lasted for two week, where we collected items including pillows, blankets, totes, arts and crafts supplies, yard games, stickers, books, etc,” said Mindel.
On the question about the project expenses, Mindel said they are utilizing the funds that were set aside for other projects and events that were not held due to the sudden lockdown. Meanwhile, the organization’s website reports that this project may cost $275 to $500 for each local club. However, the budget will vary based on how many guests attend the event, she added.
It’s been more than 100 years since a group of business leaders came together to form the first Civitan club in 1917 in Birmingham, Alabama. Their vision for helping others has grown across the world. Today, Civitan clubs operate in more than 35 countries, and the United States has 490 clubs with 11,358 members.
The clubs provide a great deal of service to their communities, with emphasis on aid to people with developmental disabilities and special needs. Civitan clubs also fund Civitan International Research Center, a research and treatment facility for developmental disabilities at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Meanwhile, Civitan officially adopted Junior Civitan into the International organization in 1917. Junior Civitan remains a vital part of the Civitan experience, holding an annual convention and conducting two major fundraising event like All In Summit and Dance-a-thon for the Civitan
International Research Center.
“Junior Civitan brings together thousands of middle and high school students across the globe. Those involved participate in various service projects like school clean-ups, awareness campaigns and volunteer activities,” said Mindel. This year, the All In Summit was held in February at Birmingham, where Junior Civitan leadership came together to take part in service projects.
Moreover, since the Junior Civitan couldn’t meet in-person for the annual convention this summer, they held a virtual convention and organized various online activities and raised $38,635.
Meanwhile, Campus Civitan, the collegiate branch, aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop leadership skills, make new friends, and to bring a positive change in the community. The US has 13 active campus clubs.
However, like many other service organizations, Civitan International has been facing decline in its membership. “We are not the only ones struggling,” Mindel said. “We are working on it and coming up with new service events and projects to engage people in the local communities.”