Tedder Works to Enrich Lives through Kiwanis Club
By Judy Currin
Donna Tedder works hard to improve the lives of children in Pitt County. In October, Tedder will take over the reins as president of the Greater Greenville Kiwanis Club, a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.
“It’s my way of making my little corner of the world a happier, healthier and safer place to live,” said Tedder, a first-year inductee in ECU’s Servire Society and business services coordinator at the East Carolina Heart Institute.
The Greater Greenville Kiwanis Club holds annual fundraising events to benefit local children and charities. One of their largest fundraisers is the Christmas dinner and auction held every November at Rock Springs Center.
“Members solicit donated items from local businesses and sell tickets for a silent and live auction during dinner,” Tedder said.
“Our fundraising efforts benefit more than 15 local charities, including The Dream Factory, Boys & Girls Club, Rocking Horse Ranch, The Family Domestic Violence Center and Beads of Courage, an intervention program that supports and strengthens protective resources for children coping with serious illness. Through the program, children tell their story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate milestones they have achieved along their treatment path, Tedder said.
A few months ago, Tedder and several club members introduced a Beads of Courage service project at Operation Sunshine, an afterschool and summer program for Pitt County girls. “The excitement from the girls making bracelets for the Children’s Hospital was exhilarating,” Tedder said. Tedder hopes that projects like this "will encourage them to get more involved in their communities, not only when they are young, but well into adulthood.”
While service is the focus of the 39-member, all female, Greater Greenville Kiwanis Club, the organization offers fun and fellowship through meetings and social events along with networking opportunities for its professional members.
“Volunteering has given me an opportunity to change lives,” Tedder said, “including my own.” She has overcome a paralyzing fear of public speaking since joining the organization in 2007. During weekly meetings, each member is asked to share a few words regarding a happy or sad thought or event. Early on, Tedder forced herself to participate, even though she was extremely nervous.
When board members began to ask her to speak about Kiwanis Club events, Tedder sought out a professional speech coach.
“The tools I learned from my coach and experience speaking before club members gave me the confidence I need to lead meetings when I become club president,” Tedder said.
Her plans are to establish a vision for the club and to motivate and inspire members to meet that vision, as well as establishing community service goals.
“It is vital that the Greater Greenville Kiwanis’ fundraising events are meaningful to the members and the community,” Tedder said.
“We want to ensure that the lives of the children of Pitt County are enriched by our efforts.”