James Hokanson believes that taking care of your kin extends into the community.
Hokanson, 37, is the recently-elected president of the Kinsmen Club of All Saints, which will host an open house to increase awareness and membership on Tues., Oct. 30 between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. at 30 Chesterfield Ave. in St. Vital.
That’s the location of Chesterfield Housing Development — an 82-unit, low-income residential rental facility that was funded and built by KCAS members in the 1960s. The facility’s operations are overseen by a board of directors comprised of current and retired club members.
Under the umbrella organization of Kin Canada, Kinsmen clubs are fraternal, male-only groups (Kinette clubs are female-only and Kin clubs are mixed), Hokanson said, noting the KCAS currently has 19 members and has helped him develop communications, leadership and team-building skills.
The St. Vital resident — a chartered accountant and married father-of-two who grew up in the Interlake area — joined the club four years ago because he was looking for ways to give back.
"I grew up in a large family and my parents were always active in the community, so I was raised with that mentality," Hokanson said. "After raising my children and establishing a career, I was looking for something I could be hands-on with."
The club is involved with numerous activities and organizations, including the Peaceful Village program, facilitated by the Manitoba School Improvement Program (MISP).
The program runs at Gordon Bell High School and Hugh John Macdonald School and is designed to help immigrant families adapt to life in Winnipeg’s inner city.
"We want to help integrate newcomer families, which have often come from war-torn countries. They can have trouble integrating with society and the kids sometimes fall into gangs and not make the most of their lives," Hokanson said. "Because of where they come from, they are often suspicious of authority."
KCAS also is also involved with Taché Centre, a long-term care facility for the elderly; organizes a Christmas Safari with the Salvation Army, fundraises with the local chapter of Cystic Fibrosis Canada and fed approximately 6,000 individuals this summer at barbecues and charity events, Hokanson said.
He said the club has members from across the city, including Windsor Park, Island Lakes, Sage Creek, Transcona and the West End.
He hopes the open house will increase awareness, boost membership and also appeal to a younger generation of men.
"In my experience, more people in my age category are looking for something like this and have the same feelings as I had," Hokanson said.
Last year’s president, Rodger Salm, said the club brings together individuals from diverse backgrounds "all driven by the same desire to make a positive impact on our community."
"From farmers to mechanics to business owners, they are all there to make a difference and have fun doing it," Salm said.
For more information about Kin Canada, visit www.kincanada.ca. To register for the open house in advance, email Jhokanson75@gmail.com or call 204-781-2073.