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MEET YOUR LEADERS Get to Know Your 2018-19 International Board MISSION MINDED Let’s Talk: Philanthropy

ACT NOW Don’t miss out on these new opportunities! WJCD A shout out to several clubs who participated this year

Volume 54, No. 1 Editor:

Emily W. Kicker

International Officers: President:

Danni Jo Grider

Vice President: Marissa Lott


Victoria Bailey Victoria Davis Ethan Fabian

Junior Civitan Insider is produced for Junior Civitans to promote the objectives and service programs of their clubs. It carries authorized notices and articles regarding the interests and activities of the Junior Civitan organization, but no responsibility is assumed for the statements of other authors and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Civitan International, its officers or staff.

2017 INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION Relive the event of the summer CENTER STAGE Perseverance & Cooperation

December 2018


BEST IN SERVICE Highlights of clubs contributing as Stars of Service in their communities


2019 INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION Learn from a special guest writer about this summer’s convention


Meet Your Leaders Danni Jo Grider

International President – Alabama District North Entering her senior year at Sparkman High School in Huntsville, Alabama, Danni Jo is an experienced Junior Civitan and leader ready to lead our organization! She has served as her club’s president both last year and this current year, Alabama District North’s lieutenant governor her sophomore year, and governor her junior year. Also the member of her school’s National Honor Society, Key Club, and the sports editor for the school newspaper, Danni Jo plans to further her academic and extra curricular career at either Auburn University (Auburn, AL) or Mississippi State University (Starkville, MS) and major in business. In her free time, you can find Danni Jo cheering on the Auburn Tigers!

Marissa Lott

International Vice President – Valley District This year’s vice president could not be more qualified and dedicated! Marissa has been a Junior Civitan since 2012 and has served her club and the Valley district in several different capacities including club president, district secretary, PRC, and governor. Marissa is a senior and was a member of the Northeast High School volleyball team among many other extra curricular activities during her high school years. She hopes to attend college next fall to study something in the medical/research field. Marissa was awarded the 2017-2018 Junior Civitan International Governor of the Year at this past summer’s international convention and we could not be more excited for her to have been elected as vice president to finish up her Junior Civitan “career!”

Victoria Bailey

International Director – North Carolina District West Hailing from Cooleemee, North Carolina, Victoria is thrilled to be spending her Junior year serving as a director on the International Board. With a peak interest in the arts, Victoria has a passion for spoken-word poetry, public speaking, and serving her community through Junior Civitan. She has served as her club’s treasurer, director, as well as currently serving as her club’s president and district’s deputy governor. While Victoria is undecided what her future plans are at the moment, she hopes her passion and interest in English will lead her down the perfect path for her after her Junior Civitan days are over.

Victoria Davis

International Director – Chesapeake District Rounding out the girls, Victoria is a fairly new Junior Civitan from Martinsburg, West Virginia. Only being in her second year as a part of our organization hasn’t stopped her from jumping right in and getting involved. She spent her first year as a Junior Civitan serving as her club’s PRC and her district’s inspiration leader. Currently, Victoria serves as the Chesapeake district’s governor and has big plans to see them grow and flourish this year. After Junior Civitan comes to an end, Victoria plans to obtain her bachelor’s degree followed by enrolling in medical school as her interests include neuroscience, neurobiology, and biochemistry. She sound like the perfect candidate for a future job at the Civitan International Research Center, right?! In her free time, you can find Victoria volunteer coaching for a local middle school basketball team!

Ethan Fabian

International Director – Ethan Fabian Last but not least, Ethan was elected to the International Board as a sophomore at Robinson High School in Tampa, FL! When he’s not fulfilling his international director, district lieutenant governor, or club president duties, you can catch Ethan in the pool practicing or competing with his high school swim team. Ethan’s interest in science landed him a spot in his school’s science club and he hopes to pursue a career in the field one day. Same as Victoria, Ethan is fairly new to Junior Civitan but has jumped right in and has taken advantage of some of the awesome leadership opportunities our organization has to offer! Ethan enjoys going to Tampa Bay Rays (professional baseball) games right in his “backyard” with his family and volunteering to better his community.

Penny Bonawitz Chairs Representative Florida District

Tony Workman Civitan Board Representative North Carolina District East


Meet Your Leaders 2018-2019 Junior Civitan District Governors

Lexi Garrett Alabama Central

Kenneth Lukens Anna Beth Gunderman Alabama-West Florida Alabama North

Rachel Stripp Canadian West

Lori Nabandianl California

Emmy Gore Cardinal

Victoria Davis Chesapeake

Aysia Gilbert Florida

Kyndall Herring Georgia

Mattie Fosnot Great Southwest

Kristen Alexander Heart of the West

Maggie Davis North Carolina East

Grace Harrell North Carolina West

Madalyn Sanders Magnolia

Houston Enlow Mississippi North

Laryssa Wilson North Central


Caitlin Conner Appalachain

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Jacob Cato South Carolina

Taylor Albertia Valley


Let’s Talk: Philanthropy By: Terry Schrimsher|Communications Specialist


Dr. Powell comes to Civitan from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics where he was a Distinguished Professor in Neurology. Now in his first few months as Director of the CIRC, Dr. Powell recently visited Civitan headquarters to share his thoughts on the center and on the future of research.

What is the primary focus of your own research? Dr. Powell: “My personal lab research is focused on autism and intellectual disabilities. What we are trying to find out is if you have 20,000 genes going from all sorts of traits and characteristics—from height to eye color and everything—how do you take one little piece of that gene and change the chemistry of it from one molecule to the other and how does that cause these major transformations in brain function. They don’t have a lot of obvious changes in what it looks like but subtle changes at the molecular level. That just fascinates me. We think one of the keys is disruptions between neurons in the brain. That’s really where the rubber meets the road. How does that happen? How can we fix it? And does that help with the model systems and ultimately does that help families and their kids?” To learn more about Dr. Powell and his vision for the CIRC, find the full story at


Did you know this year’s Dance-a-thon will be combined with International Convention?? For the first time ever, these two events will take place together for a weekend that is sure to be unforgettable! Join your district’s team and raise money for the CIRC. Visit for all the details!

Your Governors are busy rasing money for the CIRC through Sno Do! Help them reach their goal so they will be able to represent your district at the annual Governor’s Update Meeting-- a vital event that takes place during the weekend. Visit and donate to their page today!



2018 International Convention By: Danni Jo Grider | 2018-19 International President

International Convention is the most fun you’ll ever have! It’s purpose is to bring together ALL Junior Civitans to celebrate the amazing work and community involvement that each individual, club, and district has been participating in throughout the year all across North America. It is meant to promote collaboration among members, inspire us for the coming year, and bring our attention back to our mission, the Civitan International Research Center (CIRC). The CIRC is a research center in Birmingham, Alabama that focuses on intellectual and developmental disabilities with their goal being to find CURES. Junior Civitans rally together each year to raise valuable funds for the CIRC alongside serving the communities around us. Convention also allows you the opportunity to meet like-minded peers from across North America that you otherwise would have never met! I personally, have met some of my best friends through this organization and attending convention has enabled me to grow closer with them and make even more friends! This year’s convention was special because it took place in Tupelo, Mississippi where many dedicated Civitans and Junior Civitans are making wonderful contributions to their community each year. Those dedicated volunteers worked together to prepare for hosting the convention and planned my favorite part about this year’s event-- Carnival! Our organization hosted a carnival for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Tupelo area. It was a HUGE success and everyone had a wonderful time interacting with our guests and having some carnival fun with them! Each district worked a booth at the event which ranged from a photo booth, corn hole, bingo, face painting, to cotton candy, popcorn, s’mores, bowling and more! The guests may have left with a smile on their faces but I can attest that we all did as well! Lastly, the Philanthropy Program of convention is SO inspiring as we celebrate the contributions our organization made to the CIRC. Through our 2 fundraisers (Sno-Do and Dance-a-thon) combined, Junior Civitans raised over $117,000 (before expenses)!!! The credit goes to the numerous people who worked countless hours to raise this money and organize these events that affect so many people -- both the Junior Civitans that participate AND the individuals who are directly impacted by the research done at the CIRC. Plans are already underway for an unforgettable 2019 convention and I personally challenge EACH of you to be there as we take over the Greater Washington D.C. Area on June 20-23, 2019 (see page 18 for more). Will you join me?! Yours in Civitan,

Danni Jo Grider 6

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A new spin on an old tradition made this year’s award ceremonies all the more special. Several clubs were honored for their extraordinary service projects and accomplishments this year while benefitting the communities around them. Congratulations to all of our honorees and winners this year! We are proud of all our applicants and are looking forward to another outstanding year of service!


Junior Civitan of the Year*

Governor of the Year*

Marissa Lott Valley District

Tatiana Fabian Robinson Noble|Florida District

Joshua Kegeris NC District West

Club Officer of the Year

Club President of the Year

Ethan Fabian accepted on her behalf

Advisor of the Year

District Officer of the Year

Niki Lockett Robinson Noble |Florida District Jacob Cato Lancaster (Boys)|SC District


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District Chair of the Year

Penny Bonawitz Florida District

Ashley Nuguyen Chesapeake District Anushe Ashraf accepted on her behalf

*Designates International Honor Key Recipient


Joint Project of the Year

Club of the Year



Bishop Moore HS Florida District


Helpful Heroes Great Southwest District

Montgomery Central MS Valley District

Queen City Magnolia District

1st 1st Lancaster High School (Boys) South Carolina District

JOCO NC District East

Ongoing Project of the Year 3rd

Environmental Project of the Year


Leto High School Florida District



Lake Howell HS Florida District

SPOT Mississippi District North


James Madison HS Chesapeake District


Lancaster (Boys) South Carolina District


District of the Year

Lancaster (Boys) South Carolina District

1st Chesapeake District

North Carolina District West



Community Project of the Year 3rd


Jaguar NC District West

Minden Magnolia District

Montgomery Central MS Valley District

District Project of the Year 2nd

Chesapeake District



Bishop Moore HS Florida District

Lake Howell HS Florida District




Campus Project of the Year

Florida District


Montgomery Central MS Valley District

International Honor Key

Aaron Kendall International Director

Presidential Honor Key

North Carolina District West

Aaron Kendall International Director

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Achievement Awards


ALABAMA WEST FLORIDA Wiregrass Homeschool CALIFORNIA El Camino CANADIAN NORTHERN LIGHTS Almonte CHESAPEAKE Churchill HEART OF THE WEST Academy of Tuscon NORTH CAROLINA EAST JOCO, Garner High School, Wake Leadership NORTH CAROLINA WEST Davie Early College, Davie High School SOUTH CAROLINA Lancaster Boys VALLEY Montgomery Central Middle School

HONOR CLUBS OF DISTINCTION ALABAMA WEST FLORIDA Cottage Hill, Stanhope Elmore FLORIDA Robinson Noble CARDINAL John Adams, George Washington CHESAPEAKE James Madison, Waynesboro Area NORTH CAROLINA WEST Jaguar (Tri County Early College)





Every effort was made to accurately report our winners and honorees. Please accept our apologies in advance should someone have been left off or incorrect.




By: Emily Kicker | Junior Civitan Membership Specialist November 29th was a fun filled day for the Jones Valley Middle School Junior Civitan Club. The back tables were filled with refreshments, the parents and guests were seated, and the students were buzzing in the back of the school library. This wasn’t just an ordinary club meeting in advisor Faith Jackson’s room; this was a special day that marked the start of a successful club year. Member Initiation and Officer Installation Ceremony was underway and the students couldn’t wait to stand before their peers and guests to accept the challenge of becoming a Junior Civitan. To some, this event seems like an ordinary ceremony but for Jones Valley, this came after a long year of persistence and cooperation. After chartering this club 4 years ago, the Greater Titusville Civitan Club and Sponsoring Club Liaison John Lanier were notified in 2017 that Jones Valley Middle School would no longer carry the club. As an 11 year Civitan and one of the original club builders for this club, Lanier did not want to take that for an answer. Greater Titusville held onto the club by paying its dues with a plan to work with school administrators to bring the club back. With the help of Principal Milton Hopkins, they were able to not only bring the club back, but make it one of the most sought after club’s on the school’s campus. We sat down with Ms. Jackson and John Lanier to learn about what kind of impact this revived club is making in their school:

Faith Jackson, Advisor

1) Why did you choose to become the advisor of the Jones Valley Middle School Junior Civitan Club? Being a native of Birmingham, I have known about Civitan my entire life. My life is all about service. My Alma Mater’s motto is “Think. Work. Serve” and I uphold it to the fullest. I absolutely love serving others so the opportunity to work with a great group of kids in a club that loves to serve as much as I do was a no-brainer. I was more than willing to accept the position. 2) What kind of impact have you seen/wish to see these students make on their school? My students come from different backgrounds but all have the same thing in common-- they know how to stand out as leaders. They are strong, respectful, and eager to learn. Students on all grade levels have expressed interest in becoming involved in Junior Civitan because of my students’ excitement and their willingness to be apart of the change. I’m hoping my students’ example of forward progression continues to leave a positive impact on the culture of Jones Valley Middle School and the communities we service. 3) What are some of the things you all have planned for this upcoming year? We have already started collecting pop tabs for Ronald McDonald House Charities and look forward to engaging in a day of service there. My students are currently designing school t-shirts as a school wide fundraiser and spirit challenge. The students plan to work with other school organizations to start a school/community garden. We have several fundraisers, service projects, and teacher appreciation activities in the making. And of course, they have already

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agreed to attend our District Convention next year. Honestly, my students are bringing so many great ideas actually worth doing to the table that it’s all a matter of getting them done! 4) What do you hope your students gain from their time in this club? Empowerment and Wisdom. I want my students to know that it is ok to do what is right and feels good. I need them to understand that being a leader isn’t a bad thing. I want them to know that they are not alone in this world. I hope they will learn how to comfortably communicate and work with different types of people, sharing and executing their ideas in the attempt to make the world better without fear.

Club officers with Ms. Jackson (far right)


John Lanier, Sponsoring Club Liaison Greater Titusville Civitan Club 1) How did you find out about Junior Civitan and why did you choose to build the club at Jones Valley? I learned about Junior Civitan through the Greater Titusville Civitan Club. Our club sponsored Washington K-8 (where I attended elementary school) and Center Street Middle School (which closed about five years ago.) When it closed, the principal of Center Street, Mrs. Carolyn Denson was reassigned to Jones Valley. About four years ago,  I received word from Mrs. Denson requesting Civitan help in organizing a Junior Civitan club at the school, because the children needed a more community focus for giving back and helping improve the community where they lived. Her vision and our persistence are the chief reasons Jones Valley MS has a Junior Civitan club.    2) Junior Civitan was on the list of clubs cut from the school last year. How did you all get the club back up and running this school year?   Persistence and cooperation is the key. The current Principal, Mr. Hopkins was desperately looking for a student activity that could be a catalyst to help improve the academic performance of his school. We met over the summer of 2018 and decided Junior Civitan could help by being an example for other students to emulate. He appointed a new advisor, Ms. Faith Jackson, who in a short period of time has reorganized the club and has it up and running. 3) How is the Greater Titusville Civitan Club involved with this club? We provide them with financial support, attend some of their general meetings and help out one of their projects by collecting the pop top tabs for Ronald McDonald House.

Students ready for initiation to begin

Club members celebrate with family and friends

Refreshments after the ceremony

Junior Civitan themed cake waiting on the guests after the ceremony

4) What advice would you give a fellow Civitan Club on how to “save” a Junior Civitan club? Stay in touch with the principal and advisor. Some principals don’t see the benefits of having a Junior Civitan club until it becomes obvious. Having an engaged advisor(s) can make a big difference. Remember this is an additional duty for a teacher or administrator, encourage them that it can be a rewarding experience to see the fruits of your efforts become productive leaders in the community. Jones Valley Middle School Junior Civitan Club

As you can see, this club is doing WONDERFUL things for the Jones Valley Middle School and surrounding community. We are so proud of these, and ALL our Junior Civitans for their commitment to being leaders in their schools and setting an example for their peers each and every day.



ACT NOW #CardsForCaleb While the Jones Valley Junior Civitan Club (see story on page 12) made plans for their year, there was a central focus in mind-- Caleb Davis. Caleb is a 6th grade Junior Civitan currently battling brain cancer. His fellow club members have rallied around him and want to do as much as they can to support him and give back to cancer research through their upcoming projects and fundraisers.

Let’s show Caleb just how big a support system he has in our organization! Post pictures of your club participating on social media using #cardsforcaleb and join in this initiative to bring a smile to Caleb’s face. Mail to:

Jones Valley Middle School ATTN: Junior Civitan-- #CardsForCaleb 2000 31st Street Southwest Birmingham, AL 35221

We have learned that Caleb loves receiving cards and we would love for him to know that the ENTIRE Junior Civitan family is on his side during his battle. We want to strongly encourage you individually, as a club, or as a district to take some time and send a card to Caleb!


HEY SENIORS!! Are you on the hunt

for scholarships to apply for? Use your passion and dedication for Junior Civitan to help earn you money for college by applying for the Shropshire Scholarship! This year’s application has been totally is re-vamped thanks to our new Philanthropy Committee and International Board and has transitioned to an ALL ONLINE platform to make it easier than ever to apply!

Head to and APPLY!

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#WhyWednesday Have you seen our new campaign on social media?? We want to know WHY you’re a Junior Civitan. Film a quick video (30 seconds or less) explaining your “Why” and email it to for a chance to be featured on one of Junior Civitan International’s social media channels and included in a fun future project! Not sure what your “why” is? Now’s the time to discover that! Dig deep and share with us.



OCT 27, 2018

Each 4th Saturday of October, Junior Civitans around the world are encouraged to participate in World Junior Civitan Day (WJCD). WJCD is a day to celebrate our wonderful organization and spend time with fellow Junior Civitans in service and/or fellowship. This year, we saw great participation by our membership on WJCD and were thrilled to see so many celebrated by serving their communities. Some ways our clubs and districts celebrated were by hosting inclusive Halloween dances, local park clean-ups, trick or treating for canned goods, soliciting donations for the Civitan International Research Center, volunteering at community events, and more. We are so proud of all our Junior Civitans for not only being a part of our organization, but for serving their communities so well. Check out some of the photos we received from you last October!

Little Rock Central HS | Heartland

Burlington | Canadian West

North Carolina District East

Saltillo Lee County | MS North

Sumter HS | South Carolina

Walker Valley HS | Appalachian

Cottage Hill | AL West Florida

Clarksville HS | Valley

Helpful Heroes | Great Southwest

CD Hylton | Chesapeake

Mississippi North


Stars of Service BEST IN SERVICE

We have loved seeing so many clubs carrying out our theme thus far this year! Thank you for being #StarsofService in your schools and communities. Check out some things our clubs have been up to this fall.

Rowan County Early College from North Carolina District West designed awesome themed t-shirts to get their year started!

Vina Junior Civitan Club from the Alabama North District volunteered at their sponsoring club (Vina Civitan Club)’s annual scholarship dinner. Applemen club members from the Chesapeake District re-painting their school’s parking lot over the summer

Florida District Junior Civitans enjoying their District meeting on Saturday November 10th Sandalwood High School from the Florida District volunteering at Light the Night Walk benefitting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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North Carolina District East Junior Civitans made “blessing bags” for a local organization during their fall meeting.

South Carolina Junior Civitans at their annual FunFest this fall.

Robinson Noble Junior Civitans from the Florida District wrapping gifts for local Angel Tree children. Stanhope Elmore club members from Alabama-West Florida District serving snacks to students taking the ACT.

HANDS Junior Civitans from North Carolina District East hosting a “Breakfast with Santa” for their local communities.

SOCIAL MEDIA If your club or district doesn’t already have a social media account, start one today! Use it as a tool to help communicate with your fellow club members AND share pictures of projects, meetings, events so International can see what you’re up to and even share! Here are some tips on how to structure a GREAT social media post:

1 WHO: Tell us who participated 2 WHAT: What did you all do? Be specific! 3 WHEN: When did the event take place? 4 WHERE: Where did the event happen? 5 WHY: Why did you choose to participate in this project?

HANDS Junior Civitans from North Carolina District East hosting a “Breakfast with Santa” for their local communities. Newburgh Junior Civitans from the North Central District collected warm clothing for local homeless shelters.

Be sure the picture(s) show you IN ACTION and BAM!-- you’ve got the perfect post!



for the 2019 Junior Civitan International Convention presented by The Chesapeake District and The Foundation for Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

June 20-23, 2019 Greater Washington D.C. Area (Hyatt Regency Dulles in Herndon, Virginia)

$250 per Junior Civitan

Visit for more info!

Chessie’s Corner Hiya Junior Civitans! Chessie here. For those who may not know me, I’m the mascot for the Chesapeake District and I’m SO excited to meet you this summer! You’re coming, right?!? Not only will you get to meet new friends (like me!), hear awesome speakers, and expand your Junior Civitan knowledge to lead your clubs more effectively-you’ll even have some time to visit my backyard, Washington D.C.! Me and my friend, Governor & International Director Victoria, are so excited to show you around our stomping grounds. Start saving NOW and join us this summer!

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Junior Civitan Insider- December Edition