Some elbow grease and Kiwanis funds are helping the Island of Hawaii YMCA reach even more children this year.
Contacted by the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation because of its community involvement, the Kiwanis Club of East Hawaii was informed that the foundation can award nonprofit organizations a US$10,000 check if they execute a project for another nonprofit organization supporting children in the community. The Weinberg Foundation aims to assist financially disadvantaged and vulnerable individuals and families through grants to service organizations. The Kiwanis club chose to give this benefit to the Island of Hawaii YMCA, which works to meet the health and human service needs of families and children. Its services range from preschool and after school care to health and wellness activities.
But the club’s gift to the center wasn’t only financial. Utilizing the help of its sponsored Circle K club at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, the club began renovating the walls of the facility by cleaning and repainting them and refurbishing the bathrooms.
The significance of their dirty work wasn’t lost on those who helped.
“The painting and construction project for the Waiakea YMCA was much needed given the difficulty that many non-profit organizations face in obtaining program funds,” explains Kiwanian Delmar Kleckner. “The project brought the Kiwanis and Circle K members together for an opportunity to work and get to know each other better. The pre-school program serves many families in the Hilo community and having a clean, safe and well maintained facility goes a long way in providing this much needed service.”
Another member, Hunter Bishop, agrees. "It's always a pleasure to join in these types of Kiwanis projects,” he reflects. “You really begin to understand the true spirit of aloha (compassion) when so many people come together to do something so worthwhile in our community. Imua (continue with purpose), Kiwanis!"
The YMCA is more than grateful for their labor of love.
“We annually serve approximately 2,500 children, ages 3-18 years old, says Fred Yamashiro, the CEO/CFO of the Island of Hawaii YMCA. “Approximately 80 percent of the children are from lower income families and require scholarships so they can participate in our programs. The Kiwanis/Weinberg grant will be used to enhance our scholarship fund. We deeply believe in the principle that no child will be turned away from participating, so your gift truly helps us to fulfill this principle.” –Courtney Meyer