At the core of many civic organizations are service, assistance and leadership to youths. Kiwanis International is no different and has developed guidelines to protect youths and expects their members to be knowledgeable about the guidelines as they work with students at events sponsored by the club.

Since there was no formal speaker Tuesday at the club’s first meeting of the new year, Vivian Marschik, secretary of the Heights Kiwanis Club, took the opportunity to review the guidelines for members.

“The international organization requires us to stay informed concerning guidelines and best practices and to understand what to do when there is the occurrence of potentially harmful situations,” Marschik said about the refresher course.

Topics discussed at the meeting included being a chaperone, criminal history background checks, overnight stays, transportation, medications, use of alcoholic beverages and tobacco, reporting troubling behavior, personal information, youth and social media, and behavioral or health issues.

The two major student groups under the leadership of the Heights Kiwanis membership are the Key and Builders leadership clubs.

Clubs are strongly encouraged to ensure confidential background checks for all adults who will be working directly with youth outside of a school or who may not have undergone a background check.

Concerning youth and social media, a Kiwanian should use their best judgment in responding when it comes to request from youth.

“They should treat any interaction on social sites as though it was happening in public in front of the whole world,” Marschik said.

The next Heights Kiwanis meeting is at noon Tuesday at the Central Texas Home Builders’ Association, 445 E. Central Texas Expressway, Harker Heights. The guest speaker will be Jennifer Cobb.

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