Grants expand medical services for kids

Grants expand medical services for kids

Kiwanis Children’s Fund grants for pediatric medicine will help four clubs help more kids.

By Erin Chandler

This year, the Kiwanis Children’s Fund awarded pediatric medicine support grants to four Kiwanis clubs for projects that will help medical centers expand their services for children. These grants are especially important where access to medical services is limited by families’ financial or geographic constraints. The support they provide allows Kiwanis clubs and medical centers to unite in making sure all kids get the best possible care — whether through a specialized wheelchair, equipment that makes therapy fun, better milk storage or simply a pack of diapers to take home. 

Wheels of Hope: Empowering Kids of Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Center
Kiwanis Club of Sayville, New York, U.S.
The Kiwanis Club of Sayville and the entire Suffolk East Division of Kiwanis’ New York District are working together to provide specialized wheelchairs to Stony Brook University Hospital Pediatric Trauma Center. Trauma recovery has been shown to be faster — and hospital stays shorter — when patients can move around early in the process, socialize and experience changes of scenery. With help from a pediatric medicine support grant from the Children’s Fund, the division will purchase 12 Convaid Cruiser wheelchairs, which will be sized specifically for pediatric patients. Most importantly, the chairs will be built with the necessary safety measures, including harnesses, to move children with ventilators and other equipment to the playroom, to visit with family members and more. Hospital workers and Kiwanians hope these wheelchairs will help hundreds of children in their recovery from illness or injury.  

University of North Carolina Health Southeastern Pediatric Supply Drive
Kiwanis Club of Robeson-Lumberton Young Professionals, North Carolina, U.S.
A pediatric medicine support grant will help the Kiwanis Club of Robeson-Lumberton Young Professionals donate pediatric supplies to the University of North Carolina (UNC) Health Southeastern Regional Medical Center. UNC Southeastern is the only hospital in Robeson County, where over a quarter of the population struggles with poverty. Club members will work with hospital staff to determine the greatest supply needs for families on the pediatric floor, such as formula, clothing and, most of all, diapers. They will then purchase and drop off the supplies personally. The club hopes the pediatric supply drive will become an annual event, so that thousands of families get the supplies they need to give their children a healthy start in life. 

Children’s & Women’s Hospital Milk Room Expansion
Kiwanis Club of Mobile, Alabama, U.S.
In March 2024, staff from USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital approached the Kiwanis Club of Mobile for help in providing a bigger and better milk room — the area where breast milk and formula are prepared and stored — for its growing number of patients. The hospital is highly regarded for its pediatric care and delivers more babies annually than any other hospital on the upper Gulf Coast — and its Pediatric Emergency Department recently doubled in size. A pediatric medicine support grant will help the Kiwanis Club of Mobile and other clubs in its division purchase refrigerators, a freezer, a stainless-steel workstation and a milk warmer for the expanded milk room. The new equipment will allow for more storage and better organization while reducing the risk of infection, contamination and mislabeling. The additional refrigerators and improved milk warmer will also prevent the nutritional value of the milk from degrading. When the milk room opens next year, it will be ready to provide the best care for patients in the hospital’s Newborn, Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care units. 

Unity Medical Center Pediatric Sensory Gym
Kiwanis Club of Grafton, North Dakota, U.S.
Unity Medical Center is one of the few places where families in the rural area of Grafton can access occupational and speech therapy for children. Since August 2023, the number of kids in the Center’s therapy programs has more than doubled, and the Kiwanis Club of Grafton is stepping up — helping enlarge the pediatric gym and add a sensory gym to meet the growing demand. A pediatric medicine support grant will help to purchase gym equipment, including wall padding, a balance beam, tunnels, activity mirrors, monkey bars and more. Kids in the program will use the new equipment to develop skills such as motor planning, coordination, body awareness and sensory integration. Kiwanis club members will assist in delivering and setting up the equipment. They will also help with annual screenings to identify area children who would benefit from the therapy program’s services. The club hopes that the new and improved gym will be ready for patients in September 2024. 

How do I apply for a pediatric medicine support grant?
The Pediatric Medicine Support Grant Program offers onetime grants for clubs to fund projects that specifically support local children’s medical centers. Grant money can be used to purchase products or supplies for patients’ hospital stays or to support a capital improvement project. 

You can learn more and apply for a Pediatric Medicine Support Grant on the Kiwanis website. For more information about the Kiwanis Children’s Fund, visit 

Doug Butler marks 75 years with Kiwanis 

Doug Butler marks 75 years with Kiwanis 

In the year of his 100th birthday, U.S. club member Butler reflects on his journey of service.

By Tony Knoderer

In the Kiwanis family, anniversaries are a big deal. It’s not uncommon for clubs to celebrate 50, 75 or even 100 years. But how often do you hear about a member reaching those milestones?

Meet Doug Butler. A member of the Kiwanis Club of Winchester, Virginia, U.S., Butler has been a Kiwanian for 75 years — and he will turn 100 in December. (In fact, his club is only two years older than he is.)

“In Winchester,” he says, “I’m known as Mr. Kiwanian.”

Like many men of his generation, Butler served in the military during World War II. When he came back, he started working in his family’s business. For professional men, it was common to join a club like Kiwanis. And back then, like today, it started simply enough — with a club member inviting someone to attend a meeting.

“The guy who worked across the street, he said, ‘Why don’t you go to lunch with me?’” Butler recalls. “He was talking about going to his Kiwanis club. I went to the meeting and thought, ‘This is pretty good for me.’”

Butler joined the club on January 1, 1949. “I got hooked on it,” he says. “I said, ‘I’ll be here every Wednesday.'”

Throwing his hat in the ring
Butler was eventually elected club president in 1955. That first step into Kiwanis leadership wouldn’t be his last, but a lot of members would recognize his path into a new role: Fellow members encouraged him to give it a shot. 

“Some of them were wanting to make sure that the club leadership was varied, and they were encouraging other people to seek out officer roles,” Butler says. “They came to me and said, ‘We’d like you to be president.’” 

Butler chuckles at the memory. “I told them, ‘Okay, I’ll throw my hat in the ring,’” he says. “And darned if I didn’t win.” 

The start of his leadership journey may have been unexpected at the time, but his increasing commitment to Kiwanis was no accident. Even at a relatively young age, Butler was contemplating life after his career.  

“I always said I wanted to retire at 50,” he remembers. “And I did. I walked out the door at 50. I started spending more time on Kiwanis projects.”  

That included projects beyond his own club. One of Butler’s favorite memories, he says, is being governor of the Capital District.

“I made it a goal to visit each club in the district. That’s a great memory. I always ended up with something new. Every time I talked to a new club, they had a project they were working on — and they gave me details.”

Kiwanis International conventions are another source of fondness: “That’s given me a lot of happy memories. I especially enjoyed going to locations all over the country over the years.”  

Always looking
But there was always plenty going on in Winchester, and it’s going on still. Today, Butler belongs to two clubs in town — one of which, the Kiwanis Club of Old Town, he started in 1992. (His wife, Linda, is also a member of the club.) 

“I was trying to get merchants and businesspeople,” he says. “The club was convenient for people, and there are a lot of restaurants there. It worked out great.”  

Opening clubs and growing membership have always been a central part of Butler’s work as a Kiwanian. 

“They came to me one year and told me they’d like me to be the membership chair,” he says. “I told them I’d try — and we ended up getting 32 members in one year. I got the president that year excited about (recruiting). I brought him with me when I talked to people, and he started looking forward to it himself.” 

Even now, Butler says it’s one of his favorite things about belonging to a Kiwanis club.

“I’m always looking for someone to hand an application to,” he adds. “I say to people, ‘It’s important to be a part of the community.’ I tell each person that the club has a roster, and you can see all kinds of people and professions on it, and most of them keep coming back.” 

Still getting better
Needless to say, Butler has seen a lot of change in his lifetime — both in his own clubs and throughout Kiwanis. And he’s proud of that change.  

“Our club has gotten better,” he says. “Especially with women coming on as members. In many cases they ended up being leaders, moving into committee chairs. And (our club) ended up with a lieutenant governor.” 

For his fellow club members, Butler has long been a Kiwanian to emulate, both for his leadership and his fellowship. And, of course, for his 75 years of changing children’s lives. 

Scott Straub, a member of the Winchester club, speaks for all his fellow members when he talks about Butler.

“Whether it’s Kiwanis Club Pancake Day, packing kids’ lunches for Bright Futures, ringing the bell for Salvation Army, picking up trash on the highway or doing maintenance work on the Kiwanis pavilion at the park, Doug Butler always shows up and sets the example for others to follow. 

“Thanks for being such a good role model for all of these decades since 1949, Doug!

UNICEF announces MNT elimination in Guinea

UNICEF announces MNT elimination in Guinea

With help from organizations including Kiwanis, Guinea is the latest country to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.

By Erin Chandler

Kiwanis International joins UNICEF and people around the world in celebrating the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) in Guinea. In May 2024, just one month after UNICEF confirmed MNT elimination in Mali, Guinea became the 49th country to achieve MNT elimination out of the priority countries identified in 1999. 

MNT is a painful and deadly disease that disproportionately affects areas where poverty, lack of education and inadequate health infrastructure make unhygienic birth practices more common. Kiwanis partnered with UNICEF in its global campaign to eliminate MNT in 2010, focusing on countries with more than one case of neonatal tetanus per 1,000 live births. Since then, twenty-nine priority countries have achieved MNT elimination status, significantly dropping the number of newborn deaths from tetanus. Now, MNT poses a significant threat in only 10 remaining priority countries. 

In 2023, the Kiwanis Children’s Fund granted US$275,000 to UNICEF USA to help facilitate mass tetanus vaccination campaigns for women of reproductive age in countries such as Guinea, Pakistan and Yemen. The grant also funded the assessments and surveys that validated the elimination of MNT in Guinea, and it will continue to strengthen the country’s health systems to ensure that MNT does not return in the future. 

Support for UNICEF’S fight against MNT is just one way Kiwanis has furthered the cause of children’s health around the world. Throughout the year, the Kiwanis Children’s Fund awards grants to clubs across the globe — like the Kiwanis Club of Lalbandi, which is working to provide autism screenings and therapies for families in Nepal; the Kiwanis Club of Libertad, which is helping to create a nutrition program at a primary school in Panama; and the Kiwanis Club of Wentzville, which is part of a partnership to build beds for kids who need them in Missouri, U.S. 

You can make a gift to the Children’s Fund today to make a healthier world possible for kids everywhere.