CKI member wins nationally televised tuition contest

CKI member wins nationally televised tuition contest

Victory in football-throwing competition brings money and kudos from across the U.S.

Kiwanis International congratulates Andrew Jiminez, a member of Circle K International — our Service Leadership Program for university students — for winning US$100,000 in tuition during college football’s SEC Championship Game on Saturday. A member of the Sandhills Community College CKI Club and lieutenant governor of the Carolinas District, Jiminez won the Dr. Pepper Tuition Challenge during halftime, tossing 18 footballs into the sponsor-branded “can” in a timed competition.

His win during the televised game got national attention and compliments for his technique. See some of the reaction below — including video of the contest when you click the CBS Sports tweet.

Kiwanis mourns Trustee Salembier 

Kiwanis mourns Trustee Salembier 

Kiwanis International Trustee Vincent G. Salembier of Kooigem, West-Flanders, Belgium, died on Monday, October 30, 2023. He was 71. 

A member of Kiwanis in the Belgium-Luxembourg District since 1989, Salembier was elected to the Kiwanis International Board of Trustees during the 2022 Kiwanis International Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.   

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our friend and fellow Kiwanian, Vincent Salembier,” said Kiwanis International President Katrina Baranko. “Vincent was a champion for growing clubs in Europe and for making life better for children around the world.  

“He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered for his passion and dedication to Kiwanis. Our thoughts are with his family and friends around the world.”   

Salembier founded and served as past president and past treasurer for the Kiwanis Club of Avelgem, Land van Streuvels, and was president of his current club, the Kiwanis Club of Kortrijk. He was also a member of the Kiwanis Centennial Internet Club.  

He served as governor for the Belgium-Luxembourg District in 2006-07 and president of the Kiwanis International-European Federation in 2014-15. He mentored Kiwanis clubs in the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and the United Kingdom and was involved with training, new-club building, communications, youth services and meeting/convention planning at all levels of his Kiwanis experience. He also received a George F. Hixson Fellowship and a Walter Zeller Fellowship for his support of the Kiwanis Children’s Fund.  

Salembier held a degree in civil engineering in construction and was CEO of a timber company. He served as a mariner in the Belgian Naval Component of the Belgian Armed Forces and as a social board counselor in Kortrijk.  

Salembier is survived by his partner, Linda, three children and five grandchildren. 

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. 


Emergency training pays off

Emergency training pays off

Thanks to guest speakers at a club meeting, a California Kiwanian helps save a life. 

By Phil Abrams, president, San Carlos Kiwanis Club, California, U.S.

We all know that being a Kiwanian is a great way to support one’s local community and the larger worldwide population. And sometimes, being an active member and attending meetings translates into something beyond everyday service. 

On April 11, 2023, the San Carlos Kiwanis Club in California, U.S., held a dinner meeting.  In attendance was club member James Dean “Reggie” Regino, (pictured below), who coaches tennis and pickleball. The seven guest speakers that evening — local firefighters and EMT/paramedics — focused on how to help someone who experiences a heart attack or cardiac arrest. Club members focused, asked questions and learned — not knowing those skills would be called into play just months later.

In mid-September, on his day off, Regino stopped by the pickleball courts in town. He was watching some of his adult students play a game when one collapsed, and he quickly realized that she was not breathing.

Remembering the training from the club meeting months earlier, Regino got help from other players and initiated an emergency call to the fire department. With support from the dispatcher, Regino gave the student CPR, using the technique he learned on that April night. He kept her alive until emergency help arrived some minutes later and the paramedics took over.  
Today, Reggie’s friend and student is recovering more each day. We are proud of you, Reggie — an amazing Kiwanian! 

Community helps garden bloom, feed hungry

Community helps garden bloom, feed hungry

The Kiwanis Club of Topsail Island Area’s community garden shows the power of partnership.

By Erin Chandler 

This year the Kiwanis Club of Topsail Island Area, Surf City in North Carolina, U.S., will mark Celebrate Community week by coming together for a workday in their new community garden — one that truly lives up to the name. 

Once it is finished, the Greater Topsail Area Community Garden will play a significant part in alleviating local food insecurity. It has already forged partnerships and brought people closer together — and it all began at the 2022 Kiwanis International Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.  

Former Club Secretary Cathi Litcher, who now serves as garden coordinator, says she was walking down the street with Treasurer Kimberly Patrizi and then-President Nicki Swafford when Swafford casually suggested starting a community garden for Share the Table, a local organization whose motto is “neighbors feeding neighbors.” 

“Kimberly and I looked at each other and responded, ‘Sure,’” Litcher says. As it happened, she and her husband had some land they could donate to the project. From there, the garden idea “just blossomed.” 

Still walking along the streets of Indianapolis, Swafford called Dawn Ellis, founder and executive director of Share the Table, who immediately got on board. The Kiwanis club already supported Share the Table’s program to send backpacks of food home with Pender County Schools students on weekends, so she knew the club shared her commitment to helping the hungry. Share the Table was in the process of building a learning kitchen, where families — including children — will learn how to cook nutritious foods and sit down to eat together, so a nearby source of free, fresh produce was too good an opportunity to pass up. 

Next, the club contacted Siobhan Fargo, career and technical education coordinator for Topsail High School. Fargo not only connected them with interns to help with project management and social media, but with a host of other groups who would be willing to help: the horticulture students and Future Farmers of America could help plan and plant the garden; the woodworking class could build the raised beds, picnic table and bench; and the National Honors Society students could join the Key Club in volunteering to work in the garden. 

Swafford and her team also did not hesitate to involve the Surf City Rotary Club. Topsail Island is a small community with only a few permanent residents, many of them retirees. Knowing that nonprofit and service organizations would otherwise compete for limited sponsorships and publicity resources, area nonprofit leaders have opted to band together. The Rotary Club stepped in at once to donate the lumber for the raised beds. They also organized the first workday to clear the garden perimeter. 

“We thought we may have five to 10 people show up from our respective clubs,” Surf City Rotary Club President Debra Sasser says of the rainy Earth Day gathering, “but after both clubs sent out announcements, we had 41 volunteers show up from the community!” 

That spirit of community collaboration only increased as the project developed. Not only did it receive a club grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund, local businesses and organizations have stepped in to help. According to Litcher, every time she has reached out to a potential partner, the response has been, “We want to be involved. What can we do?” Even small businesses, once they find out what their fencing or mulch will be used for, have thrown in additional supplies, given discounts and not charged for delivery.  

“Every time I turn around, somebody else is offering something,” Litcher says. Before she knew it, people were reaching out to her to offer support — including the nearby Hampstead Lions Club. 

For Sasser, the benefit of the Rotary Club’s collaboration with Kiwanis is clear: “Awareness and unity!” Working together, the two organizations bring more attention to food insecurity in the area and bring the community together to help address it. “I think it goes without saying that, ultimately, we hope this project will bring an end to food insecurity in our community.”  

Litcher, too, sees advantages to tackling the community garden project in collaboration with other organizations rather than as a Kiwanis club alone. “Instead of having [only] one or two people to call, once you get to know your partners, … they can give you an idea about where to go, or they’ll find somebody, and it actually expands exponentially the amount of networking you have to find people who want to help and have this servant leadership heart … and then, the next thing you know, things are getting done. I mean, it’s amazing!” she enthuses. “Now I’m finding all these people that love to dig in the dirt with me — and, like, how fun is that?!” 

Among those people are the student volunteers, whose contributions are not just welcomed, but encouraged. Plans for the completed garden include birdhouses built by elementary and middle school students that will draw birds to the garden to help deter pests.  

Local teenagers are already getting involved. On his second day of volunteering, one high school student informed Litcher that he raises and propagates carnivorous plants, and he would like to use a corner of the garden as a bog where people can learn about how his plants help control the insect population. A student attending college in Raleigh wants to put together programs virtually and on his vacations from school. 

Shane McEwan says that serving as an intern on the project while he was a student at Topsail High School was “so awesome! I felt so much purpose in being able to help the community.”  

Current social media intern Juliet Timmons agrees, saying that the experience “has been the highlight of my high school career! Kiwanis has given me the opportunity to grow as a student, leader and worker.” 

The Topsail Island Area Kiwanians recognize that listening to these students, taking them seriously and creating leadership opportunities not only enhances the good the project can do, but also increases the garden’s longevity as a community investment.  

Plans are in place to involve community members in making decisions about the garden’s future operation. The club sees the garden growing into a place where neighbors help feed neighbors, where families can learn about native plants and more in educational spaces, and where fruit trees will be planted in honor of Kiwanis club members who pass away — so that the club can continue to give to the community in their honor. 

Litcher has seen students of different ages and from different social groups getting along as they work together in the garden, and she hopes this serves as a model for how the community will engage with this new resource.  

“I really, really hope that not only will it bring nonprofits together. I hope that it brings the students, the families, the retired folks—we really want to see it be a space where all generations can come together and almost relearn how to be involved and be with each other,” Litcher says 

Dawn Ellis of Share the Table agrees: “I think it’s going to do more than bring food to our community. It’s going to do so much for different types of people working together in that garden. It’s going to replenish people’s hearts and plates.” 

About Celebrate Community
Every year, Kiwanis International takes part in Celebrate Community — a weeklong initiative that promotes collaboration between Kiwanis International, Lions Clubs International, Optimist International and Rotary International.   

In 2023, Celebrate Community is September 11-17. Service projects can focus on the environment, food insecurity and hunger, health and wellness, and education and literacy. 

Learn more so your club can participate in Celebrate Community now or in the future.  

Celebrating success at the Marketplace

Celebrating success at the Marketplace

A Kiwanis club in Arizona, U.S., invited the community to help mark a fundraising anniversary. 

By Tony Knoderer 

The Kiwanis Club of Carefree, Arizona, U.S., celebrated the ninth anniversary of its Kiwanis Marketplace with local business leaders on August 10. Located in the nearby town of Cave Creek, the Marketplace was the site of an event that the club cohosted with the Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce, which invited local business leaders to join the anniversary celebration. 

Kiwanis Marketplace itself is nine years old, but the Carefree Kiwanis Club has been raising funds by giving locals a place to shop, donate and volunteer for more than four decades. The idea originated in the early 1980s, when the club started fundraising with garage sales.  

“It actually started out in a two-car garage,” says Geno Orrico, a longtime club member, past president and current volunteer. 

The garage sales were a hit — so much so that the club was able to award its first scholarship in 1986 for US$500. 

Realizing the potential of these sales, the club struck a deal with the Town of Carefree in 1999 to build a 3,000-square-foot, US$100,000 building on town land with a 20-year lease.  

According to Alex Perez, general manager of Kiwanis Marketplace, the club eventually started raising money to buy land and build a new location. More than US$1.2 million had been raised, he says, when the perfect 18,000-square-foot building became available. The club purchased the building and opened what is now the Kiwanis Marketplace. 

“When it first started, there were zero employees and about 150 volunteers,” Perez says. “It was open four days a week for four hours a day, and it made just under a million dollars. Then it grew and grew — and now today there are 14 employees and around 100 volunteers that come and help. Last year we did over US$2.25 million in sales.” 

Orrico adds that many volunteers have been around since the beginning.  

“It gives you a sense of giving back to the community, and I think that goes for all the volunteers — they feel a sense of self-worth,” he says. “We also have some folks that come here every single day to see what treasures they can get.” 

Thanks to the funds from Kiwanis Marketplace, the Kiwanis Club of Carefree donated more than US$1.2 million last year, sponsoring local school programs, projects such as Family Fun Days at the Cave Creek Museum and renovations at Desert Foothills YMCA. The club has also given US$500,000 to the Kiwanis Scholarship Program in 2023.