by David Shivers
Albany resident Katrina Baranko is the incoming Governor of the Kiwanis Georgia District for 2013-14.
Baranko is currently a member of the Albany Kiwanis Club and has been active in Kiwanis for about 20 years. She doesn’t officially assume the office until October 1, but on September 9 she spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County about goals and events for the upcoming year.
The president-elect of Kiwanis International has set some pretty high goals for each district, Baranko revealed, and at least two are growth driven. During her district tenure, she said, three objectives will be targeted: an increase in net membership in each division (there are 18 divisions in the Georgia District); establishing at least one new club in every division; and supporting the Kiwanis International/UNICEF “Project Eliminate” to battle neonatal and maternal tetanus in Third World countries.
At least a couple of communities are already being eyed for formation of new clubs, she revealed. She stressed the need for growth, saying, “If we do not get more Kiwanis hands and hearts on the ground, we are not going to be able to make the difference Kiwanis wants to make,” whether on a global scale or in local communities.
The Albany and Dougherty County clubs are included in Georgia Kiwanis District’s Division 5, which also encompasses the clubs of Albany Golden K, Americus, Bainbridge, Cairo, Cairo-Morningstar, Camilla, Lee County, Thomasville, and Thomasville Golden K. Within their own communities, each club sponsors organizations such as high school Key Clubs, elementary K-Kids, college Circle K groups, and numerous projects that benefit children or the community at large.
The major theme for the coming Kiwanis year, Baranko said, is “We build bridges for children for the future. I’m quite confident that Georgia can light the way for building those bridges.”
The incoming district president also encouraged members to attend upcoming training conferences to fully develop leadership skills, as well as next year’s international, district, and division conventions and rallies.
The Division 5 rally is set for November 15 in Thomasville and the fall and mid-winter training courses for officers and club leaders will be in October and next March respectively at Wesleyan College in Macon. The District Convention next year will take place in Savannah, and the Kiwanis International Convention is slated at a site near Tokyo, Japan.
Baranko praised the Dougherty County Kiwanis club for its numerous community projects and promotion of them through local media.
For children, she noted, “You are sometimes their only ray of hope.”