By Tony Knoderer
In the life that Troy and Paula Dibley have together, one of the things they share is the Kiwanis experience. In fact, Kiwanis is a longtime part of each of their lives—from their respective beginnings in Kiwanis youth programs to their Kiwanis-club membership and loyal giving to our foundation.
For both of them, it all began with Key Club, the Kiwanis-family service organization for teens. It continued with Circle K International, the Kiwanis service organization for college students—and the program through which they met. As a couple, their Kiwanis connection has continued into adulthood because of the direct impact of hands-on service.
“That’s what really kind of made me fall in love with the Kiwanis family,” Paula says. “I love to do service, especially with children, things where you really feel like you’re making an impact.”
“To me, it’s the mix of service and social,” Troy adds. “It’s much more enjoyable to do community service surrounded by friends. That’s always really attracted me to the Kiwanis family.”
The same value system
The Dibleys’ commitment to service and fellowship made them seem destined for each other when they met in 2004. In fact, they were both attending a Kiwanis family conference as members of CKI clubs.
Troy was international president of CKI that year, as a club member at George Washington University. Paula was a member of the American University CKI club.
“It wasn't long after that conference that we started dating, and we’ve been together ever since,” Troy says.
“I knew I needed to be with somebody who felt the same way about making a difference and giving back,” Paula says. “So it was just perfect that we met through the Kiwanis family because we’re on the same page about so many things. We have the same value system.”
As members of the Young Professionals Kiwanis Club in Washington, D.C.—they recently moved to Salisbury, North Carolina— they put those values to work in their community. But the Kiwanis International Foundation has also provided a way to extend their impact near and far.
“That’s the critical piece—a gift feels both local and global,” Paula says. “I think people feel compelled to make sure they give locally and can see an impact for their dollars. The Kiwanis International Foundation is a perfect example of being able to do both.”
History and loyalty
They know the difference that Kiwanis programs—and our foundation’s support—has made. They’ve seen it in children’s lives, and they remember it in their own.
“That relationship with Kiwanis was cemented at a very early age,” Troy says. “Freshman year of high school, getting involved in Key Club—I was hooked. That was all made possible through the foundation.”
Paula also joined the Kiwanis family through Key Club. After her mother died of pancreatic cancer when Paula was still in high school, Key Club membership and its service opportunities were a way of coping.
“I had been involved in Key Club, but it was at that time that I really threw myself into the Kiwanis family,” she says. “They were my family at that time. They were so supportive during what was really a hard time as a young person. And I sort of feel like they saved me when it was a place for me to give back and work through what I was going through—and to keep going.”
Many places, many ways
It makes sense that Troy and Paula would become loyal annual-gift donors to the Kiwanis International Foundation. But their consistent generosity is also a result of their awareness that people’s gifts make an impact in many places and many ways.
“Some people can give time, some people can give money, some people can give both,” Troy says. “Through the Kiwanis International Foundation, they can give financially. And there’s not only a global impact—which we can see through The Eliminate Project, which we can see when the foundation steps in during disasters—but there’s also a local impact. Because you know your local service leadership programs have access to support through the Kiwanis International Foundation.”
Join the Dibleys in giving
The Kiwanis International Foundation is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Kiwanis-family clubs, members and other friends. Gifts of all sizes are deeply appreciated. Support our foundation today.