With Kiwanis Children’s Fund grants, three clubs are pursuing projects that make sure all kids have an equal chance to play.

By Erin Chandler 

Accessibility for all people, especially children, is a goal many Kiwanis clubs strive to achieve. Recently, the Kiwanis Children’s Fund awarded grants to three clubs that are working to make all kinds of play accessible for kids in their communities. Libraries and parks in these communities will now have toys and equipment adapted for children with physical, neurological and developmental differences. Each club consulted with experts and members of their communities to determine what would best serve kids and families. Young people everywhere deserve safe and fun ways to play, and these clubs found creative ways to fill that need. 

 The Children’s Fund makes grants that improve the lives of children around the world by identifying the projects that create a continuum of impact in a child’s life — one that spans their entire childhood and sets them up for a bright future. By funding projects that target the Kiwanis causes, whether through a Kiwanis Club’s local service project or through a club’s partner, the Children’s Fund ensures that its grantmaking has the greatest possible impact.   

If you are interested in extending your and your club’s impact beyond your community by giving to the Children’s Fund or applying for a club grant, visit the Kiwanis Children’s Fund page. [https://www.kiwanis.org/childrens-fund]   

Expand Toy Box Library
The Kiwanis Club of South Sioux Falls, South Dakota, U.S., is working with the Toy Lending Library of South Dakota to adapt their service for children with special needs. The organization stocks hundreds of toy boxes for children 5 and younger at local libraries, where the boxes can be checked out and returned. The club is stepping in to create 34 toy boxes for kids with physical or neurological differences, such as autism and visual or auditory impairments. To design the accessible boxes, club members consulted with experts, including professors of child development at Augustana University and parents of children with disabilities. A club grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund will help pay for special books and toys, which can be more expensive and difficult to find, as well as educational materials for caregivers. Club members will assemble the toy boxes and sanitize them on a regular basis. The club estimates that around 300 children will benefit from these toy boxes that are just for them. 

Kiwanis Sensory Music Garden
The Kiwanis Club of Bowling Green, Kentucky, U.S., consulted parents of children with special needs and adults with special needs in planning their club’s 100th anniversary project: a sensory music garden playground in Basil-Griffin Park, the most popular park in the county. The club found that of the 21 parks in the county, only one had equipment for children with special needs. The new sensory music garden playground’s eight structures will stimulate multiple senses to appeal to all children, especially those with physical, neurological and developmental differences. A grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund will help the club purchase three pieces of equipment from Landscape Structures: the Grandioso Chimes, Vivo Metallophone and Animato Metallophone. The club anticipates that thousands of children will be able to enjoy the sensory music garden’s sounds, textures and more. 

Anniversary Playground Project
For their club’s 100th anniversary, the Kiwanis Club of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., is also working to make local parks more accessible for children of all abilities. With help from a Kiwanis Children’s Fund grant, the club will install handicap-accessible signs and merry-go-rounds at six community parks. They will also install a pavilion at Helen Amhurst Park for park-goers to have parties and picnics while enjoying the new playground equipment. The club and members of their Service Leadership Programs clubs will be involved in maintaining the facilities so that future generations will also be able to play and have fun. 

How you can help
The Kiwanis Children’s Fund amplifies Kiwanians’ impact to reach children around the world through the Kiwanis causes of health and nutrition, education and literacy and youth leadership development.Make a giftor learn how your club canapply for a grantto help kids in your community.