Kiwanis Club, Avon, Ohio

FEATURE ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 1-7-01, By ALICE ROBINSON, Morning Journal Writer

"Student sparks Kiwanis Club in Avon

AVON -- When Scott Wendell decided he would like to start a Key Club at Avon High School, he didn't envision that what he wanted would balloon into a Kiwanis Club being started in his hometown.

In fact, the Avon Kiwanis Club started in April and has 23 active members, according to the club's president, Donald Klebe.

Wendell, an Ohio State freshman who graduated from Avon High School in June [2000], started a Key Club at the school during his senior year. But because the Key Club is a high school version of the Kiwanis Club, and there was no Kiwanis Club in the city to be a sponsor, he turned to neighboring Avon Lake High School's Key Club and Avon Lake Kiwanis Club to get started ...

While they were helping the Key Club, the Avon Lake Kiwanis also researched whether or not the community would be receptive to another service-oriented club, this time for adults in Avon.

Denny Potonic, a member of the Avon Lake Kiwanis, said Wendell's idea was what sparked his club's interest in starting a Kiwanis Club in Avon. Potonic said Wendell called the district Kiwanis office in Columbus to find out how to start a Key Club and the office hooked the two up. Potonic was a lieutenant governor in the Kiwanis organization at the time ...

Potonic and Klebe have been working on building the membership of the Avon club since last winter. The club's first meeting was in April [2000] ...

The Kiwanis Club is open to anyone 18 and older who has an interest in their community, but many come as representatives of their businesses or jobs, Potonic said.

''It's really going to get a lot of people involved. It's really going to create community awareness and bring people together for the same cause,'' Wendell said.

The Avon club seems to be getting off the ground, with weekly meetings, speakers and accomplishments already under their belt.

The club's members have helped install swings in a park on Colorado Avenue and are working toward getting a Safety Town facility to teach Avon's young children about traffic safety ...

''The new Avon Kiwanis Club has a core of energetic men and women who are committed to helping children and their community. I am sure as they grow in number and in the years to come, they will have a positive impact on the development both of their youth and the community,'' Potonic said.

George Berki, an Avon chiropractor, came to the Avon Kiwanis club's weekly meeting recently to hear John Traxler, of Traxler's Nursery, give a presentation. Berki said he was recruited to join the Avon Kiwanis last spring ...

Roger Bemis, the vice president of the club, said he joined in June, after moving to Avon from Avon Lake. ''When I moved to the community I felt that this would be a way to help the community,'' he said.

The Avon Kiwanis Club currently meets at 7:30 a.m. Wednesdays in the meeting place known as ''The Barn,'' behind the United Methodist Church, 37711 Detroit Road ... ''

(c) 2001, The Morning Journal

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