Civitan Club giving others a helping hand

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 6, 2002

If you're interested in helping out developmentally disabled people, but not sure what to do or who to help, the Austin Civitan Club may be able to help.

Recently, members of the Civitan Club began working to establish the organization in Austin.

Gwyn Morse, a charter member of the club, says Austin seemed a good place to start the club because of the number of services available for the developmentally disabled.

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How the club will help those with disabilities depends on what the members of the club want to do and what the needs of the community are, says Morse.

Amy Blackstad, also a charter member of the group, says, "We have a lot of disabled people who live on their own, so we're hoping to go out and help fix up anything they need done."

She says the organization also plans to get involved with fundraising by asking local businesses if the Civitan Club can put boxes of candy mints by the cash register. The money raised from the candy boxes will be donated to organizations and causes within the community.

However, Morse expects the club will be an action-oriented club rather than one that depends on meetings.

"We'll probably meet monthly and focus on doing things for the community rather than meeting all the time," she says.

"(Jack Preggins, governor of the Civitan Clubs in southeast Minnesota says) it's not something the members will have to do, but when they get involved they will want to do those things, they'll want to help out people who need it."

Those who want to participate by just attending the meetings or donating money to group are welcome to join, though.

"It's a good cause and if you don't have time to help, but you can financially, that's fine," says Morse.

Twenty people are needed for the group to officially establish itself in the community, and though the group is close to that number, they still need a few more.

Blackstad says the club should be enjoyable for anyone who joins.

"I think with the group we have now, it's going to be a fun, positive group.

They're doers and we have a lot of good ideas floating around out there."

"It's a real diversified group," Morse says, citing the varying ages and occupations of the members.

The group will hold organizational meetings at noon on Sept. 10, 16 and 23 in the Roosevelt Room of the Holiday Inn.

Attendance of the meetings is not needed to become a member.

A $25 initial fee and $6 in dues per month are required.

The group's charter banquet will be held at 6 p.m., Sept. 28 at the Holiday Inn and anyone interested in joining is invited to attend.

For more information, contact Blackstad at 437-0087 or Morse at 433-2326.

Amanda L. Rohde can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at