The New Jersey branch of the Y’s Men’s Club International, an organization that focuses on charity, has been kicked off at a meeting at St Andrews Parish Hall in Harrington Park, New Jersey recently. The official inauguration and handing over of the charter will be held soon, said noted industrialist and community leader Daniel Mohan, who took the initiative to form the club.
“The club is unique as it has membership from people from different cultures. Usually people from the same community join together to form a club. We thought it is important to bring all people irrespective of their cultural backgrounds to one forum,” he said.
“The international leaders of the club praised the move and termed it a historic change. Representatives belonging to American, African American, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Filipino and Chinese ethnicities attended the meeting.
“After many years of living in Harrington Park, I was interested to form some new friendships and was looking to join a local organization, but could not find one that had a unifying mission with a diversity of members that was outside a specific faith or culture. Several people I talked to shared a similar interest,” he explained.
“Deciding that doing something is better than doing nothing, we have decided to organize a New Jersey chapter of the Y’s Service Club International.
“Do you wish you could meet new people and form new friendships in a friendly local setting? Do you wish you could share lunch with new friends outside your church or cultural organization, but more like a neighborhood club. Well, I did too,” he noted.
Five priests belonging to different denominations attended the event.
Contrary to the trend of a decline in membership for clubs, more people are joining the Y’s Club, Debbie Redmond, former president of the America region said. “People are ready to work for a particular project but they are not willing to give a long term commitment joining a club. Even I was skeptical to join the club for a decade. Now I am happy that I made the right decision.”
Y’s Service Club has much more freedoms in taking decisions. They can chose the projects to help. There is also no stipulation for holding a meeting monthly. Fewer people can join to form a club.
She also spoke about the beginning and working of the club, which was founded by attorney Paul William Alexander, who later became a judge.
In October 1920, Alexander, along with 17 ardent YMCA workers formed a Booster club within Toledo YMCA, Ohio, and named it as Tolymca club. Later, when membership increased, he brought about a constitution and suggested that the name be changed to Y’s Men’s Club. Soon after, the first club outside USA was formed and the movement became international. In November 1922, International Association of Y’s Men’s Clubs was born, with Paul William Alexander as its first International president.
Alexander laid the foundation of a great movement and nourished it with rare dedication. He gave it a golden motto and glittering and meaningful emblem, apart from the great name and constitution. The club has a presence in more than 70 countries and India leads in membership. The Women are also accepted in the club. There are Y’s Women’s Clubs and Y’s Service Clubs now.
Those who attended included: Rev. Diane Rhode, Philip Thampan, Michiko Tomioka, Amy Wong, Rev. Babu Mathew, Paul Shackford, Rev. Jacob David, Rev. Verghese Mathew, Bouazi Yessoh, Esow Mathew, John Sacharia, Thomas Abraham, Carol Pobanz, Dr. Drissa Kone, Rev. Roy Bregapi, Lourdes Sy, Glenda Sagendrof, Mathew Chamakkala, Shaju Sam, Rajive Ninan , Prema Thomas, George Joseph, Abraham Thomas, Dr. Benjimen George, Dr. Santha Mohan, Vibin Priyesh, Reji Oommen and Joe Kanjamala among others.
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