“It’s the exchange between people who live in the community and the services they can share and provide.”
That’s Exchange Club of Lake Highlands’ president John Irvin’s philosophy as he begins his year’s presidency.
“We want to become more of a bridge to other service organizations,” says Irvin, the executive director of administration for WFAA-TV.
“At present, we are able to help children of need with eyeglasses, dental work and other social services. We look to do more in the future.”
The local Exchange Club is part of a national network of neighborhood civic organizations focusing on community service, Irvin says. Membership is open to neighborhood residents interested in meeting neighborhoods and supporting positive neighborhood programs.
At a recent transitional meeting of the incoming and outgoing boards, Irvin said members brainstormed about the Exchange Club’s past and future. His first job as president was to create a task force for strategic planning.
“Where are we structurally and financially,” he asks, “and if we raise more money, what are we going to do with it?”
Raising money is something the Lake Highlands Exchange Club does well. This year, the organization provided $20,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors at Lake Highlands High School, says outgoing president Perry Adams.
“Our commitment to youth programs has been an important part of our service,” says Adams, associate dean of research at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
“The key to the success of the Exchange Club is members who are dedicated to the organization first of all, and to the community secondly, and are really terrific about giving their time and resources to the exchange programs.”
Other club-sponsored programs include providing funding for a child abuse prevention center on Greenville Avenue near LBJ, underwriting and coaching a T-ball team, and tutoring children.
The group also recognizes a “Youth of the Month” from Lake Highlands High School, which qualifies the honoree to compete for a national Exchange Club scholarship.
Irvin says one of his priorities as president includes increasing the club’s membership by 25 percent.
“We now have 100 members, and we would really hope to gain more women and minorities as members,” he says. “And I would like to see that membership spread throughout all of the zip codes of Lake Highlands.”
Most current members are from the 75238 zip code, where the club originated, Irvin says.
Finally, Irvin hopes to create a written history of the 30-year-old Lake Highlands Exchange Club which, he says, is one of the largest in the country.
“With our past success and new goals, we hope to make the Exchange Club as inclusive as we can,” he says, “responding to the needs of the area, keeping it a great area.”
The Lake Highlands Exchange Club meets most Fridays at Galveston Island Restaurant, Skillman and Royal, at 7 a.m. For information about membership and programs, call Bob Eckert at 340-0030.