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Kiwanis Column: What is Kiwanis?

Greg Kier

The News is allowing Kiwanis to have a monthly column. Many articles have been printed throughout the years but now there will be a monthly update. We are starting with the basics to make sure readers know about Kiwanis.

To be honest, Kiwanis is a name we have seen in many places but do you know what Kiwanis is? At the Winter Carnival held at The Centre in January, we asked children and adults a simple question: "Do you know what Kiwanis does?" The "Circle K" and Kiwanis name are seen on signs as you enter many towns and cities but what is Kiwanis? Here is the background for Kiwanis and how it relates to our communities.

Kiwanis was founded in 1915 (103 years ago) as a service group dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time. The name "Kiwanis" actually comes from the Ojibwe language and roughly means "play with noise."

Our local Kiwanis supports and sponsors high school Key Club, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, the New Richmond schools "Teacher Welcome Back" picnic, Storybook Walk at Mary Park, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten reading program, contributes to the New Richmond schools "gap" fund (those who are not able to pay for certain things, support is offered), writes letters to New Richmond eighth graders, sponsors High School Male and Female Athlete Awards, FFA Leadership Award and Banquet, Kiwanis Senior Scholarship ($1,000), Service Learning Day and THIS annual Senior Honors Banquet.

Some of the community events Kiwanis sponsors are: Kids Christmas Party, Easter Egg hunt (which gives away four children's bikes) and will be held the Saturday before Easter (March 31) at Starr Elementary School in New Richmond. Mark your calendar and look for advertisements. Kiwanis also sponsors Family Safety Day, police training for abused families and children, the Alzheimer Walk, Spring Sparkler (which funds the Fourth of July fireworks), Salvation Army bell ringing, Chamber of Commerce activities, and the Kids ID Project.

Our local Kiwanis also provides service to the community by delivering food to the Five Loaves Food Shelf, picks up backpacks from the schools and delivers backpacks full of food for needy families in our schools, provides sponsorship and picks up bread and soup for the Empty Bowls event, sponsors the Holiday Lighting Contest, and contributes to other charitable causes as requested.

A few of the state and worldwide causes Kiwanis sponsors are: Camp Wabeek for disabled children and Project Eliminate (to eliminate prenatal tetanus worldwide). Kiwanis International raises funds through a "Kiwanis Peanut Days" and has a fall dinner and auction that provides a charity event for our community.

These are some of the highlights of the Kiwanis service. It is actually very impressive! Their unofficial motto is: "Kids need Kiwanis. Kiwanis needs You." An easier way to remember is: Kiwanis = Kids. Columns will be brought to you once a month for more awareness.

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