It was the late 1990s, and something was missing in south Augusta -- a Rotary Club.
"We felt that it would be helpful to have a club in south Augusta," said Joan Puryear, a charter member of Augusta South Rotary Club. "The Augusta club had helped to sponsor other clubs, like the Augusta West club, the North Augusta club, as well as the Waynesboro club in their years." So, with the sponsorship of the Augusta Club, those interested began organizing in 1998, and in 2000 they were chartered as the Augusta South Rotary Club with 21 members, including Puryear and the club's current president, Jo Anne Robinson.
"It's a heterogeneous club," Puryear said. "We all come from different walks of life."
The Augusta South club celebrated its 10th anniversary during its weekly meeting May 18.
The club makes a big impact on literacy, said member Pam Lightsey, who cited the recent distribution of dictionaries and Rotary 4 Way Test coloring books to elementary pupils.
Lightsey is also the Rotary's assistant governor for District 6920, the Georgia Rotary student program trustee and the Rotary area council chairwoman.
"Our children are our future, and we need to invest in that. They need to stay involved in education and need to graduate," she said. "We're making that commitment to make sure they stay in school, have the tools they need to do well and become good role models. They can see that there are people out there who care about them and their future and are positive role models for them."
Robinson agreed: "We feel when you have an educated community, the community has a better potential for growth and economic development, which of course, makes the community a better place to live, provides more opportunities for employment and creates stronger schools."
Over the years, the club has donated computers to schools, provided scholarships for Youth Challenge Academy and sponsored visits by World War II veterans to Washington, D.C.
The club also participates with several other Rotary clubs in the Stop Hunger Now campaign, which will provide food to people in Haiti.
"Even though we are a small club, we have shown that small clubs can make an impact, too," Robinson said. "We're a cohesive group and we work well together. Because we work in the south Augusta area, we all know what the needs for the community are and how we can best serve the community."