Shelby County Exchange Club honored with award

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

PELHAM — The Exchange Club of Shelby County was recently given the distinct honor of receiving the National Exchange Club Service Award, highlighting the clubs’ dedication to service and excellence within the community.

Exchange Club of Shelby County President Joyce Franklin said that since the club’s inception in 2015, it has received this honor each of those years for completing projects in certain areas.

“To win this award you have to be completing programs in the three areas of service and a national project,” Franklin explained. “The three programs of service are Americanism, community service and youth, and the national project is in the area of preventative child abuse.”

For the Americanism projects, the club has several programs such as participating in Wreaths Across America, helping to register people to vote, giving out flags at events for military appreciation and encouraging patriotism in children.

“We will have a booth set up that says something like ‘say the pledge and win a treat,” Franklin explained. “We will have children 10 and under say the pledge to try and encourage more patriotism in our young folks.”

For youth projects, the club recognizes youth of the year in high schools throughout schools in the county. They also support organizations that supply schools and children with necessary items for educational success.

“We have provided school supplies to several organizations in the area such as Vineyard Family Services and SafeHouse in Pelham,” she said. “All of this is donated from our members. We go out, purchase things and deliver them to the organizations.”

For community services, they do similar assistance like providing supplies and donations of products for programs through Vineyard Family Services, they do organizing and also assist with sister clubs to support issues like Christmas needs.

“We get families from the schools who have needs like food or toys, and during the couple weeks before Christmas we organize to get these items to families,” she said.

For their national project, the club does preventative child abuse. They actively support the Exchange Club Child Abuse Prevention Center in Southside, who goes into homes to teach parenting skills, anger management and intervention techniques to prevent child abuse.

“We have donated money and assisted in programs,” she said. “A few years back, Mayor (Randall) Woodfin in Birmingham allowed us to set up giant pinwheels in front of city hall to bring attention. We have continued doing this in other cities to bring awareness to child abuse prevention centers.”

By completing these projects, the club was eligible for and received the National Exchange Club’s Service Award which highlights extraordinary work by local clubs to furthering their motto of “Unity for Service.”

Franklin said the club is actively trying to recruit new members and volunteers to assist with these projects to help make the county a better place to live.

They are not meeting in person right now; however, they are having Zoom meetings. They meet the fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m., but for November they will be meeting on the third Thursday due to Thanksgiving.

Those interested in serving the community through the Exchange Club of Shelby County should contact Franklin by emailing her at joyce35210@gmail.com.