Group I finalists announced for the 2023 Signature Project Contest

Erin Chandler | May 05, 2023
The top 20 finalists have been selected for consideration in the 2023 Kiwanis Signature Project Contest. This year, more than 425 clubs from 42 Kiwanis districts submitted entries — a record-breaking number! Altogether, these projects will have a positive impact on the lives of approximately 315,000 kids throughout 27 countries. 

Communities around the world know their Kiwanis clubs through their signature projects. Some clubs hold festivals and fundraisers that are eagerly anticipated throughout the year. Others are always ready to hand out books to developing readers. Each signature project is tailored to the community it serves with the goal of making it a better place to be a kid. 

For the Signature Project Contest, each district selected its nominees to compete against clubs from other districts. The Service and Partnerships Committee of the Kiwanis International Board of Trustees then reviewed the district winners and selected 10 finalists in each of two groups based on club size.  

The finalists below were selected from Group I — clubs with 27 members or fewer. 

The gold, silver and bronze winners for each group will be announced on June 22 at the Signature Project Breakfast during the 2023 Kiwanis International Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. Convention registration ends June 5. Thank you to all the clubs that took the time and effort to apply! 

Here are the Group I finalists in alphabetical order by district:  

Australia District 
Kiwanis Club of Shepparton Sunrisers 
Sprout Healthy Lifestyle Garden and Education Centre 

When the Kiwanis Club of Shepparton Sunrisers, Victoria, Australia, noticed the abandoned community garden attached to KidsTown Adventure Playground, members saw an opportunity to create a fun, interactive space where their community could learn about and practice healthy lifestyle choices. The Sprout Healthy Lifestyle Garden and Education Centre is free and easily accessible to the 10,000 people who visit KidsTown every year. It offers multicultural and indigenous food demonstrations, workshops on caring for the local environment, health programs for children and the chance for families to spend quality time together outdoors. 

Austria District 
Kiwanis Club of Klagenfurt 
MOPS—Mobile Psychosocial Prevention
The Kiwanis Club of Klagenfurt, Carinthia, Austria, partnered with autArK two years ago to help area young people who are dealing with mental health issues. autArK’s Mobile Psychosocial Prevention program aims to strengthen mental health through counseling and support opportunities. The Kiwanians of Klagenfurt transport the young people to and from therapy, help them find apprenticeships, involve them in Kiwanis projects, purchase school supplies and cover costs of educational courses and training. So far, they have helped 30 young people in their community achieve greater stability in life. 

Eastern Canada and the Caribbean District 
Kiwanis Club of Young Professionals St. Catherine 
SLP Inner City Single Mothers Empowerment Project 

The Kiwanis Club of Young Professionals St. Catherine in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, Jamaica, is dedicated to meeting the needs of single mothers, especially teenagers, in what they call a “volatile inner-city community.” As part of their project, the club distributed 551 care packages containing food and school supplies for single moms and their children. Doctors and nurses provided basic health services and immunization on-site at a local elementary school, where there were also health education and exercise activity sessions. Seven single mothers were given baby chickens and chicken feed to jumpstart a sustainable form of self-employment, and two more received full scholarships for skills training to enhance their future career prospects.  

Michigan District 
Kiwanis Club of Lapeer Sunrise 
Weekend Food Backpack Program
When teachers noticed their students suffering from food insecurity at home came to school on Monday mornings “unruly, exceptionally tired and inattentive,” they reached out to the Kiwanis Club of Lapeer Sunrise, Michigan, U.S., for help. The club decided to provide backpacks full of food for children at five local elementary schools to take home on weekends. Teachers immediately noticed a difference in the kids’ behavior and success in the classroom. Over the past 10 years, the club has made sure thousands of children have enough to eat at home, setting them up for brighter futures. 

Nepal District 
Kiwanis Club of Nilgiri 
Program for Sight-Disabled School-Aged Children 

Three years ago, the Kiwanis Club of Nilgiri in Lalbandi, Madhesh Pradesh, Nepal, began offering vision screenings for children in their area. Club members and teachers were trained in how to conduct the screenings, and they transported those who needed further help, including surgery, to the hospital. Every year, this project helps thousands of children get the vision help they need to succeed in school or to simply take in the world around them. Currently, the club conducts the project in two districts, with help from other area Kiwanis clubs — but members hope to expand to cover more, with follow-ups each year to make sure treatments are working.  

New England and Bermuda District 
Kiwanis Club of Lowell 
Monster Bash and Halloween Stroll 

In an area with an above-average number of families classified as “low income,” the Kiwanis Club of Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S., stepped in to make sure all children could have a scary-good Halloween. For the past 27 years, the club has hosted a free, family-friendly Halloween event that includes a “SAFE” house where the fire department teaches about fire safety and a Halloween Stroll where over 20 local small businesses hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Last year, City Hall was offered as a haunted house location, with the mayor himself giving out candy to over 1,000 children. 
Pacific Northwest District 
Kiwanis Club of Bainbridge Island 
All Comers Track Meets 

On your mark, get set, go! For six consecutive Mondays last summer, the Kiwanis Club of Bainbridge Island, Washington, U.S., hosted its 10th annual series of All Comers Track Meets. The running and field events are free to the public and open to all ages, creating what the club calls “a collaborative, high-energy, wholesome family-oriented environment” that promotes outdoor exercise. Hundreds of competitors take part in the meets, which are staffed entirely by Kiwanis club members and volunteers— and the event is only growing more popular each year. 

Pennsylvania District 
Kiwanis Club of Linglestown Area 
Little Libraries
When residents of the West Hanover and Lower Paxton Township communities in Pennsylvania, U.S., need a good book, they can turn to any one of seven library cabinets maintained by the Kiwanis Club of Linglestown Area. Six of the libraries were provided and decorated by local Girl Scouts, while one is a Kiwanis-branded Little Free Library. The club restocks each library every few months with family-friendly and inclusive books that appeal to a wide range of ages and interests in the diverse communities they serve. Because of its efforts over the years, the Kiwanis Club of Lingleston Area has become known as “the club that the township turns to for literacy materials.” 
Switzerland-Liechtenstein District 
Kiwanis Club of Limmattal-Zürich 
Beacon Project hiki 

When children experience brain injuries, the whole family is affected. The Kiwanis Club of Limmattal-Zürich in Unterengstringen, Zürich, Switzerland, is two years into a 10-year partnership with hiki (Hilfe für hirnverletzte Kinder), an organization that assists these families. The club already has exceeded its US$100,000 fundraising goal through projects such as selling bread and chocolate coins. Members also committed to provide volunteer assistance during at least one hiki event per year, and in 2022, they co-organized the organization’s annual family day, bringing families of children with brain injuries together for a day of fun. 
Texas-Oklahoma District 
Kiwanis Club of Greater Ada 
Kiwanis Club of Greater Ada Kiddie Park
All aboard! For 64 years, the Kiwanis Club of Greater Ada, Oklahoma, U.S, has operated their Kiddie Park, a low-cost place for families and community members of all ages to enjoy fun outdoor activities together. The park began with a train built by club members — gradually replaced and upgraded over the years — and has expanded to include a carousel, miniature golf, playgrounds and a concession stand. Club volunteers who operate the park say they “frequently have three generations of riders who all grew up riding the train,” which has become a beloved staple in the community. The club is currently raising funds to replace the train tracks and build a loading platform for increased accessibility. 



Vision Partners

Be a Partner