There is a group of Shelton residents that dedicates volunteer time to service projects throughout the city. They are members of the Shelton Exchange Club. Club members support the students of the month at Shelton High School, volunteer with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, pass out flags at the Memorial Day parade, are planning a 5K run, and are preparing for their annual fund-raiser on Sept. 30. The Shelton Exchange Club will sponsor the 2013 Scramble Golf Tournament at Brownson Country Club in Shelton on Sept. 30. This is the club\u2019s major fund-raising event, said Tom Christiano of Shelton, club president. Sign-in and lunch begins at 11 a.m., and a shot gun start is 12:30 p.m. A wine tasting, dinner and awards follow the golf. Individual registration is $190. The cost of a foursome is $720, and registration for dinner only is $75. Before the economic downfall in 2008, the golf tournament typically raised about $12,000 for the nonprofit organization. \u201cWe don\u2019t see those kind of numbers now but it\u2019s still a win-win situation for everyone who attends,\u201d Christiano said. The Bic Corp. is the tournament\u2019s title sponsor. Reaching more people in the community Christiano said fund raising is crucial because it allows the Exchange Club to reach more people in the community. This winter the Exchange Club plans to sponsor an 18-hole indoor golf tournament similar to the event held last February. The club raised almost $4,000, he said. \u201cIt was fantastic,\u201d Christiano said. \u201cThe mini golf tournament was at Molte Bene Restaurant. It was really a lot of fun for families. People came out in droves.\u201d Plans are also underway for the Exchange Club\u2019s first annual 5K Fun Run fund-raiser. Helping nonprofits Organizations in the greater Naugatuck Valley often rely on the Shelton Exchange Club for support. This spring members helped to replenish clothing, books and furnishings that had been destroyed in a fire at My Sister\u2019s Place, a nonprofit thrift store that assists programs for battered women. This allowed the retail store to restock its inventory so that they could donate their proceeds to two shelters for battered women. My Sister\u2019s Place uses its proceeds to support local organizations for those who experience domestic violence. This is keeping with the National Exchange Club\u2019s initiative to combat child abuse, Christiano said. A Memorial Day tradition Most recently, club members handed out 5,000 American flags at the Shelton-Derby Memorial Day Parade. This has become a holiday tradition that many attendees look forward to, Christiano said. Members arrive early and begin to pass out flags as soon as people line up along the parade route. \u201cIt brings such a sense of community,\u201d Christiano said. \u201cSo many people wait for that flag to hold in their hand and wave.\u201d Recognizing outstanding students In keeping with its focus on young people, the Exchange Club sponsors the Student of the Month program at Shelton High School. This program is spearheaded by Exchange Club member Steve Blanchette, according to Christiano. Working closely with staff members at the high school, Blanchette selects two or three students each month who meet the club\u2019s criteria for high scholastic achievement, community service and leadership. The young people and their families are invited to one of the club\u2019s meetings, where they receive a financial award. They are eligible to enter a district competition and compete in the National Youth of the Year Award. \u201cThis is a great way to recognize the up-and-coming young people in the community,\u201d Christiano said. \u201cOur hope is that it will come full circle and when the kids graduate, they will come back to Shelton and join our club and continue to give back.\u201d The club is also involved in the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley. 'Very moving and very rewarding' The organization further assists those in need by providing a complete Thanksgiving dinner for four families in the city. In December, members participate in St. Vincent de Paul Society\u2019s Adopt a Family gift-giving program. \u201cIt\u2019s very moving and very rewarding for us all,\u201d Christiano said. \u201cWe\u2019ve done this for a number of families now.\u201d With the assistance of the Shelton Boy Scouts, club members are responsible for putting together the Nativity and cr\u00e8che on Huntington Green each holiday season. About the club Along with raising money to sustain Exchange Club projects, Christiano also would like to increase its members. There are currently 24 members from Shelton, Ansonia, Newtown and nearby towns. \u201cMy goal is to double this number,\u201d he said. \u201cThe more people who are involved, the stronger and more effective we will become.\u201d From the moment he heard about the club in 2005, Christiano was ready to sign up. \u201cBased on conversations I had with its members, I became very, very interested,\u201d he said. \u201cI said to myself, \u2018These people are fascinating.\u2019\u201d Over the years, Christiano has met \u201ca lot of great people\u201d through the club. He also firmly believes in the work they do. \u201cI think it\u2019s been time well spent,\u201d he said. Established in 1959 The Shelton Exchange Club was established in 1959. Its goal is to promote Americanism, community service, youth activities and the prevention of child abuse. The Shelton Exchange Club meets the first Wednesday and the third Thursday of the month at Wellington\u2019s Restaurant in Huntington Center. Guest speakers from various local organizations talk at each meeting about upcoming projects that they would like the club to support. Christiano said members are not required to attend every meeting nor participate in every service project.