Stronger Together

Northwest Shelby County Rotary Club receives its charter.

Brittney Gathen | 4/14/2017, 1:51 p.m.
Northwest Shelby County Rotary Club receives its charter.

Unity was the central theme last week as members of the Northeast Shelby County Rotary Club met with Northwest Shelby County Rotary Club members.

The venue was Colonial Country Club. That’s where representatives of the Northeast Shelby County Rotary presented the organizing members of the Northwest Shelby County Rotary with the new group’s charter.

“To me, this is one of the best Rotary meetings I’ve ever had,” said Northeast Shelby County Club member Ken Lee, who serves an advisor to the Northwest club. “For the first time, at least in my history, we are going to be able to charter a new club.”

District Governor Tom Wilson of Rotary International District 6800 (Shelby County (Memphis), Tennessee and Mississippi) spoke to the importance of collaboration and partnerships.

“It’s a real sense of pride that we’ve increased our team of people looking to make our communities better,” Wilson said. “That’s what Rotarians do – we join Rotary because together we can do more than doing things separately. I’m looking forward to continuing to work together.”

Lonnie Gauldin, president of the Northwest Shelby County Rotary Club, talked about transformation.

“Working together, instead of in our own silos, can really have an impact on the quality of life and the standard of living of all Memphians, especially in the Northwest Shelby County area,” Gauldin said. “The people of Northwest Shelby County, we have a dream team of members that are willing to get things done.”

The Northwest Shelby County Rotary Club already is positioning itself to provide youth arrested for minor crimes with an alternative sentencing program that would involve them and their families in C-FACT (Churches, Families and Communities Training). The youth participants will be linked to mentors and trained on topics such as conflict resolution.

Union Grove Baptist Church Pastor Charlie Caswell, the founder of Northwest Rotary, said, “Y’all are going to see some great things coming out of the alternative sentencing piece. We need more mentors and people to be engaged and involved in the lives of these young people and their families. We’re laying a proper foundation for families by teaching the young kids how to respect the elders and how to communicate their problems and not act them out.”

“It’s a lot of kids who need it. They’re not really bad, they’ve just got problems,” Kirkwood said. “There are a lot of parents that need help, but they don’t know how to ask for help. The whole purpose of this is ‘how do we create a safe community?’”

Col. James Kirkwood, precinct commander of the Old Allen Station, said, “It’s going to work. Families are on board. Most parents are asking, ‘Do you have anything? My child needs help.’

Lee has a two-year commitment as the club’s advisor.

“There’s a major part being played by this new club,” he said, “and I hope that we will be able to help and participate.”