Working with others to do more good

Working with others to do more good

Kiwanis clubs around the world joined other service organizations to help even more communities. 

Community service took center stage September 11-17 for the third annual Celebrate Community, a weeklong joint initiative from Kiwanis International, Lions Clubs International, Optimist International and Rotary International. 

Why collaborate with other service organizations? To help even more communities and kids! Plus, members of participating service organizations had the chance to learn more about one another — and see how teamwork, not competition, makes our world better.  

Kiwanis clubs around the world highlighted their projects on social media using the hashtag #CelebrateCommunity. Here are just a few: 

  • The Kiwanis Club of Hendersonville, North Carolina, U.S., collaborated with two Rotary clubs and a Lions club to collect and deliver 3,760 diapers and 136 packs of baby wipes to the Children & Family Resource Center. Aktion Club was involved too. “Children & Family Resource Center is so thankful to be the recipient of such generosity in our community,” says Jamie Wiener, the center’s executive director. “We provide roughly 400 children each month with diapers and formula so moms and dads don’t have to choose between food, utilities and other expenses over the health and safety of their baby.” 
  • Kiwanians in India, a provisional Kiwanis district, joined forces with Lions Clubs International by painting smiles on the faces of children through the distribution of stationery and vibrant painting colors, all in the spirit of spreading boundless joy.  
  • In Evanston, Illinois, U.S., service clubs collaborated to perform a range of community service activities, culminating in a cleanup at the International Friendship Garden. “The International Friendship Garden is a symbol of community unity, and we are eager to make it shine,” says Evanston Rotary Club President Shawn Iles.  
  • The Kiwanis Club of Grand Cayman co-organized a beach walk with Lions, Optimist and Rotary club members, raising more than $1,000 for the Cayman Islands Community Food Bank.   
  • Club Kiwanis Playas in Panama teamed up with a Lions Club to donate food to students at the El Farallón School. “El Farallón is a fishermen community. These kids mostly belong to families whose economy depend on the catch of the day,” says club President Lanny Lowe. “Food insecurity and malnutrition are issues that the school helps solve, and Club Kiwanis Playas looks forward to the school having enough food supply to feed the kids.” 
  • The Kiwanis Club of Lebanon, Indiana, U.S. co-hosted an intergenerational ice cream social for more than 120 senior living community residents, family members and Lebanon High School students. “It was a great night for all involved,” says Amy Hammerle, Lebanon Kiwanis Club president. “Coming together with the Lebanon Lion and Rotary clubs to serve these special seniors was rewarding and so much fun.”  
  • Kiwanis and Circle K International members in Ontario, Canada, collaborated with Rotary Club members to fill backpacks with school supplies for kids in need. “I enjoyed working alongside people I knew who genuinely wanted to help their community,” says University of Windsor CKI member Abdullah Nadeem. “The energy was amazing. I remember how everyone was smiling and trying to match the notebooks with the color of the backpacks, and it was these small gestures that made me realize how much this project meant to the volunteers and how they knew they were making a difference.”

“We are thankful for this wonderful opportunity to have worked with other service clubs to create stronger communities around the world as part of Celebrate Community,” says 2022-23 Kiwanis International President Bert West.

Did you participate in Celebrate Community this year? Don’t forget to submit your joint project for possible inclusion in upcoming Kiwanis communications. 


How we reach recruits

How we reach recruits

From Two For Two to SLPs, the Kiwanis Club of Kewanee, Illinois, has several ways to recruit people.

By Brock Tumbleson, Angela Burford and Willie Burford 

Kiwanis members all have different spheres of influence. In the Kiwanis Club of Kewanee, we have found that new members help us fulfill the mission of Kiwanis — by bringing much-needed resources to our club.

Here are some activities, principles and people that have proved useful in our recruiting efforts:

  • Two For Two. We first heard about the Two For Two program in 2021. With our 100th anniversary taking place in November 2022, we used it to bring in 22 new members during the year. Our greatest success through Two For Two has been with our evening club. Younger members can attend meetings and get involved in community projects. They have expanded their meeting schedule to two meetings per month. One meeting focuses on service opportunities while the other meeting is more traditional with a program and the like.
  • Putting it in print. Our best aid is a statement of club activities, fundraisers and where our dollars go. Potential new members need something physical to go back and study as they make a decision. We can tell a great story, but people also need something tangible to consider.
  • Following up. If you don’t get back to those you have visited with, they may think you have forgotten them. We try to reach out again in a week or 10 days to answer any questions they may have, explain our mission more clearly and hopefully get a signed membership application.
  • Persistence. When it comes to inviting people to join a Kiwanis club, the worst someone can say is “no.” And we have found that many times they mean “not now.”
  • Kiwanis youth connection. We are very fortunate in Kewanee to have nine Service Leadership Program clubs — at least one in every category. This is a tremendous help in that Kiwanis is well-known and respected in the community. We strongly encourage other clubs to work on building SLPs in their communities.

Brock Tumbleson is the president of the Kiwanis Club of Kewanee, Illinois, U.S. Angela Burford is club secretary, and Willie Burford is a club member and Tumbleson’s Two For Two partner.

5 tips for a strong club

5 tips for a strong club

Want your Kiwanis club to grow and thrive? Learn from the largest Kiwanis club in the Capital District.

By Julie Saetre 

The Roanoke Kiwanis Club in Virginia, U.S., has served kids in its community for 102 years, and its membership roster is 150 — making it the largest Kiwanis club in the Capital District. Clearly, the club has found a formula for success.

Jeanne Bollendorf, the club’s 2022-23 vice president, shares what works for her club — and could be impactful for yours.

Be active and visible.
The Roanoke Kiwanis Club sponsors a Key Club in each of the area’s high schools, and it gives out US$50,000 in scholarships and grants each year with funds raised at its annual pancake breakfast in May. For its 100th anniversary, the club established a $400,000 accessible playground in an underserved neighborhood, and it is currently working on an adjacent nature park.

“We work really hard,” Bollendorf says. “I think one of the reasons that our club has so many members is because we have such an impact in our community. People can see it’s not just coming for lunch. We’re actually getting things done.”

Adapt to attract.
Roanoke club members recently completed a survey to determine how they should plan strategically for membership growth. One approach will focus on Gen-Xers.

“That group does very much want to see impact, immediate impact,” Bollendorf explains. “They want to know that what they’re doing is making a difference. They don’t want to go to a lot of meetings. So those are all things that we’re going to be really focused on.”

Create community connections.
“We partner with a lot of other community groups. I think that’s really important to the success of the club,” says Bollendorf. “We can plug ourselves into coalitions of other people. Then we’re all working together.”

Make meetings meaningful.
A focus on business minutiae can make members impatient. The Roanoke club avoids boredom, Bollendorf says, with robust weekly programs.

“As the vice president,” she adds, “it’s my responsibility to coordinate all the speakers for the year. So we have a committee of volunteers who bring in very engaging speakers.”

Foster a sense of belonging.
Some Roanoke members have participated in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training. And they add an extra element: belonging.

“For the past few years, we’ve had a big focus on making sure our club is a welcoming place for everyone so that the process is more holistic and organic — just making sure that people know that they are welcome in our club and that they can belong in our club,” Bollendorf says. “We work hard to bring in members who represent lots of different areas.”