The Kiwanis Club of San Gabriel Valley (Asian-Monterey Park), which last year became the first Kiwanis club organized in the U.S. for Asian immigrants, has merged with the older, but smaller, Monterey Park Kiwanis Club.
The merged club will be known as the Kiwanis Club of Monterey Park/San Gabriel Valley-Asian and will conduct meetings in both English and Chinese.
Desmond Chiong, a psychiatrist who was one of three Asians in the Monterey Park Kiwinis Club, said the group’s active membership had fallen below 10, intensive efforts to recruit new members had failed and the only alternatives were to disband or seek a merger. Meanwhile, the Asian club, which started with 28 members, grew in six months to 47, according to David Ma, club president.
Ma, who will head the combined club, said the merger benefits both groups. Members of the older club have years of experience to contribute, he said, and the newer club has manpower and energy.
The Asian club was organized to attract Asians by conducting meetings largely in Mandarin Chinese. Ma said the new format will be bilingual, with most of the business transacted in English. Ma said the Asian club was never intended to be a separatist organization, but was designed to draw Asians into community life and the merger could help with that assimilation.