Key Leader benefits adults too

Curtis Billue | Sep 23, 2019

Key Leader has changed the lives of many students over the years, but what about adults?  

Carole Farris, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Hanford, California, sat down at the Kiwanis Story Booth during the 2019 Kiwanis International Convention and told the story of how Key Leader changed her life.

Farris describes herself as “a serious introvert.” She says that after she moved from San Diego to small town Hanford, it was difficult for her to leave the safety and comfort of her house, but she knew she had to get out and be a part of the community.

“If I didn’t do something with myself, then I would regret it,” she says. “My children would hate it and I could not afford that to happen.”

She was invited to a Kiwanis meeting and has never looked back.  

“I found a niche, and gradually I just grew,” she says. Kiwanis helped her grow confidence in getting out into the community and becoming a leader.

Eventually, she volunteered for a Key Leader camp and found new perspectives about leadership.

“When I first started Key Leader, I didn't really want to go,” she says. “I was just like any other kid, but I was a grown-up. I didn't know anybody when I went there. I felt like nobody was listening to me, just very much like what the students go through.”

However, her opinion changed, and she started really listening to what the students were saying.  

“I mean seriously listening,” says Farris. “I never knew that you can be a leader leading from the middle, that you didn’t have to be out in front of the room.”

All of Key Leader’s messages of achieving your personal best through service leadership started carrying over into her own life as a Kiwanian. Having volunteered and attended 20 Key Leaders, she’s learned each one is different, and each has changed her life in some way or another.  

She states that if you asked her 10 years ago to volunteer and work with youth, she would have said no. But now she can’t imagine her life without it.

“If you just immerse yourself in the program and listen to what the students say, it will impact you forever,” she says.

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