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Cedar Rapids Kiwanis Club
It's All About Helping Kids

By Jodi Harris
March 2011

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."

Dan Breitbach
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 dbreitba@coe.edu.   Membership information may also be found on the website.

 

History

Kiwanis was founded in 1915.  The purpose of the organization became "Community Service"-a humanitarian concept from which Kiwanis has never deviated.  Kiwanis International's permanent major emphasis program - Young Children Priority One - addresses the needs of children.  Today Kiwanis has grown to 8,600 clubs and 315,000 members in 83 countries around the world.

 

Yearly Fund Raisers

Wrist-banding at the Kernel’s baseball games during the month of August.
Numerous Gumball machines located through out Cedar Rapids.


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Goals

Community service with emphasis on children.

Kiwanis Club of Cedar Rapids Charitable Foundation was established May 22, 1989, as an Iowa non-profit corporation to provide permanent funds to serve the needs of the youth in our community.

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Service Projects

Worldwide reduction of iodine deficiency - $75 million to be raised.
Ellis Boys/Girls Club - to purchase & install gymnasium equipment.  1997 - $5000 co-project with General Mills Foundation

Playgrounds located at:
Tanager Place
Inn Circle
Four Oaks
Christ Episcopal Church - Head Start
Linn County Day Care Center
Olivet Mission
MAHP Brown Apartments
Brownstone Family Resource

Madge Phillips Center - Toys for inside/outside recreational areas.
Cedar Rapids Community Schools - eye and dental exams, provide eyeglasses.
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art - children's gallery
Wading Pools in Cedar Rapids
Shoes provided to foster children
HACAP - Homeless Children's Trust Fund
Headstart
Salvation Army - Bell Ringing
Boy Scouts - camping equipment
Camperships for:  Girl Scouts, Camp Wapsie Y, Camp OK Kiwanis, Science Station, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Association for Retarded Citizens, Theatre of Cedar Rapids

Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Program
Junior Achievement Consultants
Special Olympics
St. Lukes Child Protection Center
Cornerstone Project

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Membership

Membership in our Kiwanis Club is open to professional area business people of good character and community standing residing in, and having community interest within, our club area.  Application for membership will be submitted to our board for approval.

Responsibilities of membership:

Attend club meetings regularly
Participate in club service and fund-raising projects
Wear your "K" pin with pride
Recommend friends and associates who qualify for membership.

 

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