The mission of Civitan worldwide is to provide a volunteer association of clubs to identify and meet community needs with an emphasis on helping people with mental and developmental disabilities.
Purpose of a Civitan Club:
Civitan’s purpose is to serve the community. This is done by fulfilling human needs that are not met by other organizations or by individual efforts. Individuals whose needs are best met through organized group action are prime candidates for Civitan service projects. In all they do, Civitans seek experiences that provide life direction, character building, leadership development, and the satisfaction of helping others. As a result of this work, a Civitan typically experiences a heightened sense of self-esteem and accomplishment.
How Civitan Originated:
On March 17, 1917, a group of Birmingham, Alabama, business and professional men began meeting weekly at lunch to discuss ways they might contribute to the improvement of the community. Like all major cities — then and now — Birmingham had problems. These men found some f the answeres , and decided to join together as a winning team.
During World War I, these Birmingham Civitans generously contributed both resources and service. Club members not entering the armed forces took up the task of conscientiously supporting every drive started in support of the United States war effort.
Dr. Courtney W. Shropshire, a prominent physician and surgeon, was among that initial group. He is credited with being the founder of Civitan Internationa.
As word of the effectiveness of the Birmingham Civitan Club spread, men from other cities became interested in the Civitan concept. The growing interest outside Birmingham soon convinced the original members that their club could be a pattern for an international organization of Civitan clubs.
The international organization was established on April 15, 1920, with Dr. Shropshire as president. Several years later the title “Founder and First President” was conferred upon Dr. Shopshire. Today Civitan International has 1,800 Junior and senior chapters in more than 20 countries.
The meaning of the word Civitan:
Civitan is a coined word that comes from the Latin word “Civitas,” which means citizenzenship.
Although the logo of Civitan has changed a few times in the past 75 years, it has signifcant symbolic points that have remained constant. The gold color represents the purity of highly refined metal, indicative of those who would volunteer their time. The Blue is a regal color, which together with the gold, has become symbolic of many organizations within the service club movement dating back to the early part of this century. The “C” around the globe is representative of Civitan around the world. The 12 highlights around the emblem represent the 12 points of the Creed.
The Civitan Creed:
The creed is unique among the volunteer organizations, being the most completely developed ethical statement set forth for a service club and serving as a challenge to every Civitan. Originally written in 1922 by Chanp Andrews of Chattanooga, Tennesse, Civitan Club, it has been modified over the years. Last changed in 1984
Things we do:
Civitans seek to be more informed about their communities. Through learning more about community events and issues, Civitans are able to focus their efforts on causes most deserving of their attention. At club meetings Civitans hear from community, media, business and government leaders who provide informative and entertaining programs on the issues that affect Civitans and their Families the most.
Civitans are dedicated to improving their communities through community service. On the international level Civitan’s major focus is toward helping people who are mentally and physically disabled. Civitan funds the Civitan International Research Center, a research and treatment facility for mental retardation and other developmental disabilities (MR/DD). However, on the local level, clubs are involved in a varitey of fund-raising and service projects.
Civitans are active, involved members of their communities, leading the way to a better and brighter future for the young people of the world. And as a growing and productive community service organization, Civitan realizes the importance of offering its members opportunities for personal and professional development, as wellthe opportunity to meet new friends and develop long-lasting friendships with people who share similar interests.