Cedar Rapids Kiwanis Club
It's All About Helping Kids
By Jodi Harris
The Cedar Rapids Kiwanis Club is a dynamic organization, comprised of local professionals who make great things happen for many children of our community. The funds they raise are spent for building area playgrounds; buying shoes for foster children; providing eye exams, dental exams and eye glasses; and motivating kids to work harder to improve their grades, to name just a few.
Their largest annual fundraiser is the club's Farmers Breakfast, set for Saturday, March 19 th , served from 7:00 am through noon at Xavier High School cafeteria. A hearty breakfast offering pancakes, eggs, sausage, cereal, orange juice, coffee and milk will satisfy the entire family. Cost is $7.00 at the door, $6.00 in advance, and $5.00 if purchased for 20 or more in advance. You may purchase tickets by contacting Dan Breitbach at (319) 399-8612. This year marks the 35 th year for the fundraiser.
"Being a member of Kiwanis has given me the opportunity to help children and families in our community. It has allowed me to join with others who want to make a difference, and collectively, we are able to do more than we could as individuals. The feeling one gets when helping someone is truly a blessing, a reward in itself. The friendships and camaraderie that develop are icing on the cake. That's why I am a Kiwanian."
Immediate Past President
The Kiwanis directly impact children through their partnership with many local organizations such as The Boys and Girls Club in Cedar Rapids. They sponsor the "Bring Up Grades" (BUG) Program, which has been both exciting and motivational for the kids at the club. The kick-off of BUG was November 3, 2010 and has proven to be a great source of assistance for the kids. Kiwanis members go to the club the second Wednesday of each month between the hours of 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm to recognize the kids for their academic achievements, assist with homework and participate in fun activities with the kids.
The Cedar Rapids Kiwanis Club often partners with other groups to make a bigger impact within the community. They recently teamed up with Cedar Rapids Downtown Rotary Club, with both clubs contributing $5,000 to "Flood Them With Love". This organization was founded by Karla Goettel to provide relief to families who were flooded out of their homes in 2008.
Focusing on helping young children, the club has many special programs. One such service program identifies children in need of eye exams, eye glasses and dental exams through referrals by the Cedar Rapids School Nurses Association. These kids have no other means of obtaining these services, so the club covers the costs, getting the kids what they need.
Another long-running service involves providing shoes for foster children. " Many times these children meet their foster families with nothing more than the clothes on their back and a well-worn pair of shoes. We provide vouchers so they can purchase a new pair of shoes at no cost," says Joe Schmall, Cedar Rapids attorney
Other community projects sponsored by the club include playgrounds built at various sites throughout the area such as Tanager Place and Four Oaks. They also sponsor many kids by sending them to nearby camps each summer.
"More than anything, Kiwanis has given me a sense of belonging, and the joy and
satisfaction of knowing that our club is giving children more opportunities to succeed."
Joe Schmall, 25 year member of C.R. Kiwanis
Kiwanis is a world-wide organization with primary focus on helping young children. Founded in 1915, Kiwanis membership now exceeds 315,000 throughout 83 countries. The Cedar Rapids Kiwanis Club recently celebrated 90 years of service to the community. For more information on this organization, check out www.cedarrapidskiwanis.org
or contact: Dan Breitbach at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Membership information may also be found on the website.