Club grants let more kids play outside

Erin Chandler | Oct 27, 2022
Members of the Kiwanis Club of of Bartow, Florida, and family members pose in front of the playground in Nye Jordan Park following a clean-up in 2021. Photo courtesy of the Kiwanis Club of Bartow.

With help from Kiwanis Children’s Fund club grants, Kiwanians are breaking down barriers between children and healthy outdoor exercise. Kiwanis clubs are bringing the Kiwanis cause of health and nutrition to communities — by giving free bicycles to kids whose families can’t afford them, making playgrounds accessible to kids with disabilities and building parks in urban areas lacking green space. Thousands of kids will enjoy the physical, mental and emotional benefits of access to safe places and ways to play.  

The Kiwanis Children’s Fund makes grants that improve the lives of children around the world. We do this 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 of health and nutrition, education and literacy, and youth leadership development, 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 website. 

A city’s first accessible playground  
A grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund will help the Kiwanis Club of Escondido-Hidden Valley, California, U.S., give the city of Escondido its first fully ADA-compliant playground among its 14 public parks. The 825-square-foot playground will be near Lake Dixon and Daley Ranch, which host frequent educational and recreational events for children and are big attractions for campers, fishers, cyclists, hikers and picnickers. The playground will give thousands of children the opportunity to have fun in a beautiful environment.  

A centennial swing set for everyone  
The Kiwanis Club of Reidsville, North Carolina, U.S., is celebrating its 100th anniversary by furnishing the city’s new inclusive playground with a We-Go-Swing, thanks to a grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund. The county’s only existing inclusive swings require that children be lifted out of their wheelchairs and placed into a harness — but the We-Go-Swing allows children to roll their chairs onto a platform. The swing can be used by children of all abilities, and it includes a seat that will enable another person to swing along with a child who uses a wheelchair.  

Bringing a community outside together  
Rosedale Park needs revitalization and, with the help of a grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund, the Kiwanis Clubs of Sault Ste. Marie and Lakeshore, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, have stepped up to answer the call. Grant money will go toward the purchase of playground equipment for a local park, which will get new trees and benches, an accessible pathway, eight play zones for children of all ages and abilities, a zipline, a berm for water tobogganing and a basketball court. In a low-income area that lacks recreational services, this park will provide safe, fun outdoor activities for 1,500 kids. The club plans to keep the park as a vital center for the community by hosting free, family-oriented neighborhood events there throughout the year.  

A park in the heart of a city  
A grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund will help the Kiwanis Club of Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S., put the finishing touches on the new Children’s Nature Playscape on Bronson Park. Located in the middle of Kalamazoo, the playscape will bring a bit of nature and a safe place to play to thousands of kids in the city. Grant funds will go toward the installation of a concrete path to make the playscape accessible to children and families of all abilities. The club hopes that this addition to Bronson Park will improve the health and development of children in their community.  

Remembering the past while serving the future  
For its 100th anniversary, the Kiwanis Club of Bartow, Florida, U.S., is partnering with the City of Bartow to revitalize a park that commemorates a past Kiwanian. A grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund will help purchase new, ADA-compliant playground equipment for Nye Jordan Park. The park will also see the addition of pickleball courts, new landscaping and fencing, a splashpad and a memorial to Nye Jordan, a late Kiwanis club member and philanthropist. The revamped park will accommodate over 7,000 kids — a fitting tribute to the club’s long history of service to kids in the community.  

Let’s go ride a bike  
The Kiwanis Club of Yakima, Washington, U.S., will continue its Free Bikes 4 Kidz (FB4K) program with help from a Kiwanis Children’s Fund grant. Over the past three years, the club has refurbished and given away over 250 bicycles to kids in need. Along with the bike, each kid gets a free helmet and training in bike maintenance and repair. The bicycles are cleaned and refurbished by volunteers, and any parts that cannot be used are recycled. The Children’s Fund grant will be matched by a grant from the Outride Foundation and used to expand the program by purchasing more helmets, bicycle parts and educational maintenance materials, as well as for outreach to the Yakama Nation and local schools for bike giveaways. According to the club, 25% of Yakima County residents live below the poverty level, and they hope that their FB4K program will allow hundreds more children to get outside, exercise and experience the joy of their first bike.


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