Fatima's Heart

Listen to the Rhythm of my Heart!

Memberships in Service Clubs (Part 2)

Part Two: Retaining Memberships

Once the aspiring new member decides to join, the first meeting is a crucial step as it is the first impression and deciding factor of whether they will come to more meetings. Establishing the importance of meeting among members is a way to prevent fluctuating, low attendance and diminishing interest among members. Making sure each member feels involved is the key in keeping them.

Communication is one of the major aspects of keeping a club in sync, and is important in developing a successful club.This can help the members feel a part of the club and be a valuable asset to the organization. Hopefully, good ideas will allow them to have consistent interest throughout the year. Set the tone of the club by connecting personally with interested people. Strive to create an environment where members want to be there.

Members tend to attend meetings because of the friends and relationships they have developed with other members. Keep meetings fun and lively. Without mutual respect and appreciation, any club has the potential to fail. Keeping the members coming back is what counts.

It is just the matter of getting over the initial fear, of being in a new setting, with new people. Once the new member feels comfortable, that is when friendships are made and a great time at a club begins.

Create projects that are fun, doable and everybody can participate. Reach out to the members and ask them what they need, what they want. Accommodate them, find things that interests them. Keep in touch frequently, utilize technology; texting, social networking. Make everyone feel needed. They are a part of a service club and every action of their counts. Appreciate them, acknowledge them, most of all commemorate them.

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Memberships in “SERVICE CLUB” (Part 1)

Today I am going to write about “service clubs” and the importance of maintaining memberships to sustain these clubs.

A club is a place where people come together around a common cause or concept. Clubs need to maintain memberships, to keep them running, making sure each member feels involved. Without dedicated members, a club cannot exist. Finding people who have that particular interest, that the club is all about, and having them sign up, can prove to be quite challenging.

Service clubs are volunteer based, non profit organizations whose members either perform direct hands-on community service or raise funds for other charitable organizations. Recent trends have shown a decline in memberships of these service clubs. My goal is to explore ways to gain membership and also retain them. Since it is a very broad topic, I will cover it in two parts.


Part one: Attracting Memberships

To attract potential members who are dedicated and committed, we need to understand the nature of our probable recruits. Many people are unsure of what they want to do and what they can do and most clubs prove to be intimidating. Many do not feel educated enough to fully participate in a certain club, many do not have the money to pay the membership fee and many fear lack of time and commitment.

An ideal club should be welcoming towards beginners, who are interested in learning. It should have a minimum membership fee and flexible meeting options so people, who are not available at a certain time, can be accommodated. Once people get familiarized with the club, they can get involved in more focused projects that they feel passionate about. Such a club appears to be less intimidating, as it is more open and offers people to discover their own interests. The less limitations a club has on membership, the more members it draws in.

Clubs need to be accessible. Start by searching the club’s page online and one should be able to find general information and how to contact its most current president. Having a continually updated Facebook page, with pictures and information, current events and members willing to talk to new recruits is always very effective. In this way, people on the go can keep in touch, anytime, all the time.

Every club does their very best to appear welcoming and appealing, but gaining new members is a constant challenge. Invitation based recruitments, word of mouth, recruiting events, info fairs, social networking and advertisements are different ways to let the word out.

Invitation based recruitment establishes a sense that a person’s presence is truly desired so that the new person truly feels welcomed and important. It affirms that the club is legitimate and it instills a personal tie into the group.

Word of Mouth is the most effective way of recruiting members. Members talking to non-members, peers, community people, passing on information about the club, sharing their excitement, showing what they do best and sharing their activities and skills.

Displaying effective club activities and exciting events is also very effective. People will naturally be more interested in a club if it displays active and interesting events.

Advertisement is a great way for the clubs to catch the eyes of new members. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, emails, posters at events, tabling at vendors and booths at fairs are all ways to advertise. With current members on Facebook, they are able to send out invites to friends who they think would like to join the club. On Facebook, the members can post information about their clubs and answer any questions. It is basically a team work.

Event recruiting is also a method used by different clubs that works in creating a larger membership base. Once you have impressed a potential candidate enough that he is willing to attend your club’s meeting, then starts the second phase.

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A Mission Abroad

It’s been a while since I’ve been active on this blog, my apologies, but I was out of country visiting my parents. It was a long, fun and tiring trip (it’s funny how vacation trips are always more tiring than the mundane life), but at the end of the day…it was to see my mother and that’s a mission accomplished!

Much has happened with Cyber Kiwanis while I was away. A mid-year Cal-Nev-H North Convention in Monterey, a bowl-a-thon for Special Olympics, a St. Paddy’s Dinner and Dance by Visalia Pride Lions, donation of over 400 books to the First Lady’s Project and not forgetting, upcoming next week, our Kiwanis One Day project, cleaning up the Civic Center, park area in Hanford. Now that’s going to be fun. Members and Key clubbers will also be collecting (and counting) cigarette butts from that non-smoking ground as part of a study being conducted by the health department.

And while I was away, I had the chance of attending a meeting of Karachi Club of Kiwanis (www.kiwanis.org.pk) and meet it’s pioneer Mr. Javed Jabbar and the President, Past President, Vice President and Secretary of the club. It was a very pleasant meeting. A guest speaker, Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Afridi, a psychologist and behavioral specialist, talked about behavioral patterns in children and adolescents. It was a very informative session.

We were also invited to the Karachi Down Syndrome Program (KDSP) Carnival, that was held on 22nd March, 2015, to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. It was a very happening carnival with a huge turn over and many fun activities arranged for children with and without disabilities.

I had also managed to take with me 72 dictionaries to donate, considering baggage weight limits when you’re traveling Internationally, but thankfully I was able to have them delivered to the right people.

Zindagi Trust Foundation (www.zindagitrust.org) strives to reform already existing public schools and also has a ‘Paid to Learn’ program for children who work.

The foundation took over the management of a government girl’s school in November 2007 and documented the process with the objective of creating a blueprint for government school reform. Throughout the project, the foundation worked closely with the Education Department, lobbying the government to institutionalize the policies they introduced, so that schools across the province could benefit from them. It’s important to note here that most of the good schooling in Pakistan, at Primary and Secondary level, is being provided by private schools. The government or public schools are mostly neither well maintained nor well equipped. Hence the low rate of enrollment and high rate of primary school drop out.

Their ‘Paid to Learn’ program recruits children who work in the urban slums of Pakistan and enrolls them in an accelerated non-formal curriculum of primary education. The children get paid for attending school. This helps the children, toiling in car-repair shops & other general stores, see a window out of child labour; empowers them as responsible and more complete future citizens of a young Pakistan, all the while making a dent in the country’s literacy rate.

I feel happy that I was able to contribute in this mission of alleviating illiteracy in Pakistan. As they say, drop by drop becomes a river. Each and every drop has its own weight. Each drop makes a difference. And that is what we should all do, continue putting in our drops any time and every time. Then only will we see its impact on the society as a whole.


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Love for Mia


Mia, the cleft palate chihuahua, was born on June 26th, 2010. Vets noticed the cleft palate right away and suggested she be euthanized. Cleft palate babies are too much work and they rarely survive, but her owners decided to give her a fighting chance. Her spirit and will to live, no matter what obstacle she faced, was unlike anything they had ever seen in their lives.

Sue and Gary Rogers, the founders of “The Mia Foundation,” loved her and took care of her for two years before she passed away on Easter Sunday in 2012. She had fought multiple bouts of aspiration pneumonia, the first one being when she was 4 days old and had multiple surgeries to fix her palate. She had to be tube fed five times a day and went every where with them so that if she aspirated, she could be suctioned.

And she was a lively little dog, made friends every where she went. She is no more but her legacy lives on. By taking the time to save her life, she, in turn, opened the eyes of many people, veterinarians and breeders who thought special needs babies weren’t worth the effort.

The Mia Foundation was created to give animals, born with birth defects, a fighting chance. So many animals born with cleft palates, deformities or missing limbs are euthanized at birth just because they are too much work. With a little effort and a lot of love, these animals can give back a lot more than imagined. All they need is a chance!

Little Max was another chihuahua born with severe scoliosis (deformed backbone), severely deformed ribs and only one functioning lung. He was the first animal taken in by the foundation. He was only 6 weeks old and by the time he turned seventeen months, he was ready for adoption. You can read more about his story on their website.

The foundation first rescues babies born with defects, takes care of them till they are physically stable and then puts them up for adoption. Most of the animals that come into the foundation require multiple testing and extensive surgeries. From the very expensive veterinary care, to the formula that each pup needs in the months to come, right down to intensive physical therapies, are all covered for by donations.

Many dedicated volunteers have put in a lot of time and hard work to raise the much needed funds and also to take care of the already sufferIng animals. Fostering, caring, feeding, transporting and finally adopting these babies is the aim of these self-less volunteers. Janet Lynne Jones is one of the volunteers who manages the fund raising part of the foundation.

She recently (in Dec 2014) was able to arrange a successful bowl-a-thon for the Mia Foundation. She frequently holds auctions of donated items on facebook and looks at ways to raise funds for the foundation. She herself has one of the Mia foundation babies, Peanut Nuckols, who came into the foundation from Florida with seizures. Now she lives happily with Janet.


If you go through their website, you will not only find success stories but also list of animals that are currently under evaluation and treatment and those that are ready for adoption.

You can find information on how to take care of a puppy born with cleft palate, what and how to feed them and in case you want the foundation to take up any such baby, they will send you an overnight emergency kit to take care of the pup till transportation can be arranged. You can also read about Swimmer Puppy Syndrome where a puppy paddles his legs like a turtle and is unable to stand.

There are links to their facebook pages where you can follow and post individual animal stories, participate in their fundraisers, connect with specialists who can guide you about adoption, transportation and financial assistance in taking care of any such animal.

Although the foundation is based in Rochester, New York but animals come in from all over US. Volunteers, donors and well-wishers from all over the world look up to The Mia Foundation for support and guidance on how to take care of animals born with birth abnormalities. Let us give them a hand. With expectations, emotions and expenses running that high, they need all the support they can get to continue with the great work that they do. It is all about LOVE for The Mia Foundation!

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Want to lose some WEIGHT??

Hi friends,

I am looking at trying something NEW for losing weight! No, it’s not weight watchers or nutrisystem… Being a doctor myself, I’ve been doing a lot of research and I have come across something that I feel is worth trying BUT I need partners. Do YOU want to know more? Please contact me, thank you!


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Happy International Volunteer Manager (Leader) Day!

Happy Volunteer Manager Day!!


great leadershttp://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/articles/manager_leader.htm

While doing some research, I came across this comparison between a manager and a leader and that got me thinking about our jobs. Are we managers or leaders or both? I’ve included the main points of the article below, but you can read it in its entirety if you follow the link above at changingminds.org.

What is the difference between management and leadership? The biggest difference between managers and leaders is the way they motivate the people who work or follow them, and this sets the tone for most other aspects of what they do.

Many people, by the way, are both. They have management jobs, but they realize that you cannot buy hearts, especially to follow them down a difficult path, and so act as leaders too.

By definition, managers have subordinates – unless their title is honorary and given as a mark of seniority, in which case…

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Knowledge is power when it comes to fighting FLU!


Knowledge is power when it comes to fighting Flu!

As the season begins to change, there you go, the first sneeze, the overnight cough and sore throat. Oh Lord! I hope it’s not the flu!!

“Flu,” the miserable respiratory infection we fear every start of winter and spring, is basically a short form of Influenza caused by the Influenza virus. The virus is spread person to person through respiratory secretions either through inhaling droplets or directly touching contaminated objects. That is why frequent, thorough hand washing is advised during flu season.

Let’s try to understand the difference between a common cold, rhinitis and the flu.

1. The Common Cold is a self-limiting infection of nose and throat, mostly caused by Rhinovirus (over 90 strains). It is contagious and causes sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, post-nasal drip, coughing and sneezing and sometimes low grade fever. It usually resolves in 7-10 days. Complications in children include middle ear infections and febrile seizures.
2. Rhinitis or coryza is a condition of irritated or inflamed mucous membrane of the nose that results in secretions causing rhinorrhea or runny nose. This can be a result of an irritant, an inhaled allergen, a bacterial infection like strep or H. influenzae or a viral infection like rhinovirus and influenza virus.
3. Flu is a contagious respiratory infection caused by the Influenza virus that has 3 sero-types, A, B and C. All three types of virus can mutate yielding new strains of the virus every few years. It has symptoms similar to common cold but more severe and can get much worse leading to life threatening pneumonia. Flu symptoms, that start to develop one to four days after infection, include chest congestion, sore throat, sneezing, coughing, chest discomfort and then abrupt onset of head and body aches, weakness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and high grade fever.

Diagnosing Your Symptoms:

Depending on the onset, severity and duration of symptoms, it can be easily detected if you are suffering from a common cold, flu or life threatening pneumonia. A common cold usually has mild symptoms with or without low grade fever (under 101F) and goes away within 7 days without any treatment. However if weakness, body aches, fatigue or high grade fever (101F and above) set in, flu is usually suspected. If sneezing and runny nose are prominent, then a patch test can be done to determine allergic rhinitis. If the high grade fever continues for more than 3 days, and the cough is accompanied by chest tightness or shortness of breath, a visit to the doctor is recommended. The doctor might do a swab test of the throat or collect secretion samples to check for bacterial infections and do a chest X-Ray to determine pneumonia.

Management of Symptoms:

Depending on severity of disease and age of the person, symptomatic treatment is recommended. Many over the counter medicines contain a combination of cough suppressant (dextromethorphan), an expectorant that thins the mucous, an antihistamine (anti allergy) for sneezing and runny nose, a decongestant and a pain and fever reliever but it’s better to take medicine for symptoms that are present. The combination of medicines may give optimal relief if you have multiple cold symptoms but the downside is that you may be taking medication that you don’t need.

Drinking lots of fluids and using salt water gargles (made by combining a cup of warm water and a teaspoon of salt) can often be helpful for easing the pain of sore throat. Over-the-counter pain relievers and medicated lozenges and gargles can also temporarily soothe a sore throat.

Antibiotics may be helpful only if there is a bacterial infection. Antiviral medications are available to treat flu. Due to continuous mutation in the influenza virus, producing new strains every few years, it’s difficult to develop a permanent treatment and prevention plan for controlling the diseases. Even if you develop antibodies against a flu virus one year, those antibodies are unlikely to protect you against a new strain of the flu virus the next year. That is why vaccination against the flu virus is recommended every year for everyone over the age of 6 weeks.

You can find out more about treatment options and prevention methods of Flu as recommended by Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the year 2014-15 here.

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Keeping un-fortunate children in mind…

It is very disheartening to know that girls don’t attend school in Uganda just because of lack of sanitary pads. Really! Is that it?

Visit Act Uganda Foundation, a very interesting name for a charity organization that is working in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. As the name suggests, first visit…then act…and then help Uganda!

Uganda is a landlocked country surrounded by Tanzania, Rwanda, Congo, Sudan and Kenya. It is one of the poorest nations in the world, with 37.7% of the population living on less than $1.25 a day. Despite making enormous progress in reducing the countrywide poverty incidence from 56% in 1992 to 31% in 2005, poverty remains deep-rooted in the country’s rural areas, which is home to more than 85% of Ugandans.

Visit Act Uganda Foundation has helped more than 200 children, youth, women and over 70 families living and affected by HIV/AID’S and poverty. The organization supports 3 elementary schools and provides life saving medicines to HIV positive children and sanitary pads to young girls so that they do not miss school.

I had a conversation with Mr. Kiyemba Vicent, who is one of the key members of this organization. This is what he had to say :

“Uganda is riddled with unemployment and young people are without much hope. An urgent need exists to kick-start the economy. Many foreign aid agencies and governments are working hand in hand with local authorities in an attempt to turn this into a reality.

Our organization supports 3 elementary schools (only) for now because of lack of funds, but many schools like ours need us. There are 200 students in total, my mum takes care of one school where we have 100 children and other 100 children are from the other two schools. Our aim is to help them go from primary up to university, only if we can get more sponsors.

Despite the best intentions, there are few state run schools which are free in Uganda and the quality of private schools varies tremendously. The education program, that runs from February through to December, begins with 7 years of primary school education. With up to 100 pupils in a class who fail to pass their leaving examinations, this ends their hopes there!

There are also four technical colleges, of which one is private. Those students who do qualify for tertiary education, less than 50% of them find places there.

In the few funds we get, we utilize them by buying scholastic materials like text books, stationary, geometry sets etc. We also pay for the school fee of students, lunch during school and provide sanitary pads to girls. Since the ministry of sports is under the ministry of education, we also support sports activities by buying football, netball, volleyballs and all their gears.

We would like to tell the world that our organization needs help to continue supplying HIV+ children with daily life-saving medicines in Uganda and also provide sanitary pads to girls. Many girls miss school because of that.”

Kiwanis International is seeking to identify members who are actively involved in Africa, whether to serve, or as a result of personal or business connections. If you or anyone you know has a connection to share with them, let them know here.

If we can all just donate a small amount, out of our pockets, to Visit Act Uganda Foundation, thinking that we are providing sanitary pads to young girls so that they can go to school, I think Mr Kiyemba Vicent and his team at Visit Act Uganda Foundation would be very grateful. Keeping all such unfortunate children in mind and praying that life becomes easier for everyone everywhere, I would like to end my blog here. Continue the great community service that you are doing and support the less-fortunate amongst us.

Have a great week ahead!

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Serving Without Boundaries

How I ended up being a volunteer member of Cyber Kiwanis! Thank you Joanne for giving me the opportunity to express myself. Highest regards.

Joanne Guidoccio

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Dr. Hina Fatima sharing her story of a fulfilling life of service.

Here’s Fatima!

As a young girl growing up in a metropolitan city of Pakistan, my parents always inculcated into me that I have to become a doctor when I grow up. Ah! A doctor! A very honorable profession that is not only internally satisfying but provides selfless service to the people. A rigorous course of education of seven years followed by an equally tenacious house job of one year, the sleepless nights at the civil hospital general wards and the consistent emergency calls at the OR…life as a medical student was a test of perseverance and determination.


When I graduated as an MD, the triumph my parents felt, could be seen on their faces. As I ventured into the clinical field, I realized this was it! My life serving…

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Keep the conversation going…

There are many non-profit organizations that need volunteers and donations all the time. Every year, we see new set of faces helping out. In the face of growing population on the planet, more non-profits are emerging and more people are donating their time and efforts, every day, to change lives. And yet service organizations are suffering and losing memberships. If I can go to the Food Bank or the Salvation Army and spend time, make a financial contribution on an individual basis, why would I join a service club?


Volunteering is a great opportunity to model good values and have important conversations. Keep The Conversation Going, Join a Service Club Today!



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