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Club partners with SLPs, Florida Kiwanis Foundation to meet a community need

Lew Matusow, Florida District PR Coordinator | Feb 22, 2021

Club partners with SLPs, Florida Kiwanis Foundation to meet a community needOn Christmas Eve 2019, a police dog (or “K9”) named Cigo was shot and killed while chasing a suspect. The Kiwanis Club of Martin County, Florida, helped the students in the Service Leadership Programs they sponsor turn a community tragedy into a cause for hope.

“The students in our youth-sponsored clubs were simply heartbroken about Cigo’s death,” said Jeff Carson, an 11-year member and current president of the Kiwanis Club of Martin County.

The club contacted the Martin County Sheriff’s Office about raising money and donating bullet-proof vests for the K9s in their unit. Officer Ryan Pearlman told the club that the canine unit had bullet-proof vests for the dogs, but really needed a donation to help purchase training equipment such as bite sleeves, bite suits, muzzles, tug toys, special leashes, harnesses and other equipment.

Club partners with SLPs, Florida Kiwanis Foundation to meet a community need“Our club made the decision to make this a project,” Carson said, “and the first step was to contact all the schools whom we work with through Kiwanis.”  

These included the Key Clubs from Jensen Beach and Martin County High Schools, the Builders Club from Stuart Middle School and the K-Kids Clubs from Pinewood, Felix Williams, Bessey Creek and Parker Elementary Schools.

“Each of the clubs received a visit from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office Canine Unit, and the officers demonstrated what the dogs can do,” Carson said. “Needless to say, they were fascinated by the canine demonstrations and motivated to plan projects to raise money to donate to the sheriff’s department.”

Projects such as bake sales, Support the Canines pin sales and others were up and running when COVID-19 hit. Ultimately the club was able to donate US$2,000 for the department to buy training supplies.

“We were ready to explode in fundraising,” said Carson. “We could have easily doubled the amount.  But the sheriff’s department was extremely grateful, and our club was grateful for the help of the Florida Kiwanis Foundation, which gave us two grants totaling $1,500.”

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