Toastmasters, Kiwanis Club team up to support Eliminate Project

The mission of a Toastmaster Club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop and practice communication and leadership skills, which in turn fosters self-confidence and personal growth.

Simmons First Toastmasters meet each Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. at the Pine Bluff Civic Center in a room next to the Council Chambers. A typical meeting includes table topics, a speaker and evaluation time.

A recent special meeting was held to combine the missions of two organizations — Toastmasters and a Kiwanis Club of Pine Bluff International project. Barbara Rhinehart, Toastmaster past district governor, spoke on the Eliminate Project, Kiwanis International’s global campaign to help eliminate material and neonatal tetanus from the face of the earth.

Rhinehart, also a past lieutenant governor of Missouri-Arkansas Kiwanis District, stated that unsanitary conditions and untrained midwives in Third World countries cause one baby to die every nine minutes with 160 babies to die each day from tetanus. Tetanus is acquired because children are delivered by untrained midwives on dirt floors or on the ground. Tetanus germs are present in the tracts of all animals and spores are developed in the soil.

Kiwanis International has partnered with UNICEF to raise $110 million to eliminate this disease. Kiwanis pays for the vaccine as well as administration by trained health-care workers. UNICEF educates and keeps offering training for these workers. A series of three doses of tetanus vaccine means immunity from tetanus. A woman given a dose before the baby is born protects both the baby and the mother. The mother is protected for 10 years and two more doses gives immunity to the child. One dollar and 80 cents protects one woman and her future babies.

The Kiwanis Club of Pine Bluff is participating in the Eliminate Project. Each member has been given a baby bottle in which loose change will be deposited. This is an ongoing project as the concluding date is 2015 when Kiwanis International will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Any citizen who wishes to contribute to the Eliminate Project should contact the Kiwanis Club of Pine Bluff. For more information about Toastmasters or Kiwanis Club of Pine Bluff, contact Rhinehart at 870-534-3625.