One big, big day

Vicki Hermansen | Nov 11, 2019

A volunteer discovers a set of car headlights while cleaning trash along a walking path in Los Gatos, California.

Nearly 10 miles of trail in the San Francisco Bay area of California received extra attention on Kiwanis One Day when the Kiwanis Club of Los Gatos worked with the Key Club from Los Gatos High School to spruce up the walking path. 

“From the beginning this was a fun event,” said Nancy Pearson, president of the Kiwanis Club of Los Gatos. “I can already see how next year we can have an even bigger experience with more people.” 

Pearson managed the event and entered the project in the Kiwanis One Day contest.  

Kiwanis One Day, held annually on the fourth Saturday in October, is the one day when clubs around the world can work together to make a positive impact in their communities — all with the goal of making their world a better place. While the Los Gatos club was picking up trash on walking path, the club in Fredericksburg, Virginia, cleaned up a river; the Kiwanis Club of Chinatown, New York City, New York, spruced up sidewalks and planted tulip bulbs, and Toronto clubs worked together to make emergency kits for families in Syria.  

In Los Gatos, Pearson and her volunteers divided the trail in two sections, with Kiwanians taking one-half and Key Clubbers taking another section. Along with Terry Martin, California-Nevada-Hawaii District lieutenant governor, a couple of community residents showed up to help after learning about the project on social media. One of the volunteers expressed interest in joining Kiwanis.  

“We heard from our volunteers that people on the trail were thanking us for cleaning up,” Pearson said. “It was definitely a worthwhile day. It builds trust in the community, it was fun for the club, and it was fun for the SLPs (Service Leadership Programs) to be involved. Just a positive experience — and it was so simple.” 

Pearson said the Key Clubbers enjoyed the day of service, even asking when “the next one” would be. As a result, the group to set a date for November 16. In fact, a K-Kids advisor has a park in mind for a clean-up, so that’s in the works too.  

The Los Gatos club promoted its trail clean-up on social media and asked participants to post pictures, identifying the event with the hashtags #losgatoskiwanis, #kiwanisoneday and #losgatostrailcleanup. Community member Diana Yanez Pastor, who saw the event on social media, came to help and won a $25 gift certificate for her efforts.  

“We have a lot going on, just from this one event,” Pearson said. “Next year I’ll promote it more for the kids. It’s like the T-shirts say: ‘Eat, Sleep, Volunteer, Repeat. Life is short, do stuff that matters.’”

Other One Day celebrations 

Here’s how other clubs around the world observed Kiwanis One Day:  


For the 10th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk, Eastern Kingston, Port Royal, Jamaica, Kiwanians and 60 students from Randolph Lopez School of Hope (for students with disabilities) participated in a day of haircuts, manicures, pedicures, woodwork projects, gardening demos, food and home items, performances and career-training opportunities. 


The Kiwanis Club of Las Perlas, Panama, organized a day of kids’ activities, which included a parade, dancers, drummers, face painting and balloons, as well as a donation of diapers to the Voluntarias Hospital del Nino.

Cake was served at the Kiwanis Club of Alcaraván, Colombia's Halloween-themed children’s day.


Volunteers from the Greater Toronto area Kiwanis clubs assembled 1,200 family emergency kits for Syria.

South Edmonton Kiwanis Club members, joined by CKI and Key Club members, sorted toys for Christmas at Centre of Hope.

The Kiwanis Club of Chinatown, New York City, New York, planted daffodil bulbs at the Bowery.

The Kiwanis Club of Queens Boulevard, New York, along with Key Club members, planted daffodil bulbs and cleaned up Hoover-Manton Playgrounds for "It's My Park Day."

The Kiwanis Club of Oceanside, New York, hosted trick-or-treating in a junior high school for hundreds of kids.

The Placentia, California, Kiwanis Club helped kids carve jack-o-lanterns at LOT318, a nonprofit that empowers at-risk children.

The Kiwanis Club of Tempe, Arizona, planned a bewitching good time for kids at its Halloween Carnival

The Maryvale, Arizona, Kiwanis Club “closed” the Arizona State Fair for a day, allowing special education students from Holiday Park School to enjoy the rides without the crowds.  

Massachusett's Taunton High School Key Club hosted a Trunk-or-Treat night along their city's main street.
The Key Club of Somerset Academy in Pembroke Pines, Florida, participated in a Kiwanis One Day “passport” activity. Participants stamped their passports at service stations for no-sew blankets, Veteran’s Day cards, Relay 4 Life luminaria, Honor Roll goodie bags and dictionary labels. Those who finished all the projects were entered into a drawing. 

A basketball/fitness event was organized for South Florida children by the Little Havana, Miami, Florida, Kiwanis club.

The Kiwanis Club of Florida City, Florida, donated 1,000 diapers to Le Jardin, a nonprofit that serves families living in poverty.

The East Moline-Silvis, Illinois, Kiwanis Club, along with Builders Club volunteers, sorted 80 tubs of books, cleaned out a shed and stocked YouthHope’s children’s book room. YouthHope meets the physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual needs of children from disadvantaged families.

Lindenhurst, New York, Kiwanis and Key Club members read to kids and planted bulbs in a vegetable garden at Lindenhurst Memorial Library.

The Kiwanis Club of Middletown, New Jersey, were hard at work painting at the Jersey Shore Art Center

Choosing a winner

This year, Kiwanis held a contest for clubs to receive coverage of their One Day projects. Twenty clubs from around the world submitted entries. A panel of four judges unanimously selected the Kiwanis Club of Los Gatos to be featured on Kiwanis’s website and social media channels.  

“The Los Gatos Creek Trail clean-up project contained many of the key elements of the perfect Kiwanis service project,” said Bill Jerrow, strategic alliances executive in Corporate Relations. “It had high visibility, because many users of the trail would see them. It had high impact, because it improved a community asset. And it’s repeatable, has the youth connection and promotes Kiwanis.”

Fabienne April, communications and cross-cultural advisor, also noted that the club had thought of everything. “Branding, social media strategy, community outreach, collaboration, potential new members, visibility and impact. It was well thought out, through and through.”

Linda Shrake, member services representative, agreed. “I thought the project would serve quite a few people using the trail and could influence others to be conscious of their trash,” she said. “I can see other groups being influenced to do a clean-up project also.”

Emily Sharp, area director for the Northeast Region of Kiwanis, appreciated the club’s effort to share the event with the public. “I like how the club leveraged the service project to attract new members,” she said.


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