Projects and Partners
Our club manages a wide variety of projects that involve fundraising, community service, and assisting children locally and worldwide. Below are brief descriptions of some of the projects in which we are currently involved. Click here to see the many partner agencies we work with on a regular basis.
Dogwood Pancake Breakfast
The Dogwood Pancake Breakfast is one of our club's two annual "signature" projects. For these signature projects individual members of our club advocate for a particular beneficiary, and the decision is made by a vote of the membership. This year's beneficiary for the "DPCB" was the The Building Blocks Program of the Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia, where parents learn and set goals about parenting and healthy pregnancy while earning points to receive needed items for their babies, including pack'n'plays, baby clothing, extra diapers, and other baby supplies.
Our 13th Annual Dogwood Pancake Breakfast was held on Saturday, April 22, 2017 and, as usual, it will took place the morning of the Charlottesville's Dogwood Festival Parade. The breakfast was open to the public from 7:30 to 11:00 in the Fellowship Hall of the First Presbyterian Church at 500 Park St - only a couple blocks off the parade route. (The parade started at 10:50.) Tickets were available from Kiwanis members, from staff and directors of the beneficiary, and at the door. The beneficiary this year was the The Building Blocks Program of the Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia, where parents learn and set goals about parenting and healthy pregnancy while earning points to receive needed items for their babies, including pack'n'plays, baby clothing, extra diapers, and other baby supplies.
The 2016 Pancake Breakfast benefitted the Benjamin Hair Just Swim for Life Foundation. Other recent beneficiaries included, Journeys Program of Hospice of the Piedmont. Ready Kids (formerly CYFS), the Carson Raymond Foundation, the Boys and Girls Club of Central Virginia, and WorkSource Enterprises. In addition to proceeds from ticket sales, more than two dozen local businesses purchase ads printed on the placemats or give in-kind contributions. One of the fun aspects of the breakfast is the "Celebrity Pancake Flippers," usually local media personalities or civic officials, who join us in making and serving the pancakes. For several years we've had a clown ("Dusty Rusty") who entertained our younger guests, and also an artist who challenged the kids to a free-hand drawing contest.
Kiwanis Independence Day 5K Race
The Kiwanis Independence Day 5K Run/Walk is the other of our club's two annual "signature" projects. The 34th annual running of the "KID5K" took place on Tuesday, July 4 and, as has been the case for the past several years, proceeds went to Camp Holiday Trails. CHT is a summer camp for children with special health needs. It is rustic, but is conveniently located just a few miles from the Fontaine Avenue exit of the Route 250 Bypass. Our partnership with CHT goes back to their founding over 40 years ago and has included many hands-on service projects up at the camp.
The KID5K course runs through picturesque Forest Lakes North, just off Route 29 across from Hollymead Town Centre at Timberwood Blvd. The start and finish points again this year were at Sutherland Middle School in the Hollymead Subdivision. Better Living has been the event sponsor for the past few years, and, in addition, about 20 additional local businesses support our efforts by placing ads on the tee shirts given to all runners. The meet itself is sanctioned by and managed by the Charlottesville Track Club.
You can see the official results of this year's race on the Track Club web site. http://www.cvilletrackclub.org/july-4.htm and see photos on the Kiwanis web page album. http://kiwaniscville.org/Page/30195.
Christmas Tree/Wreath Sale
Our biggest single project of the year is our annual Christmas Tree and Wreath Sale. This has been our principal club fundraiser for over 80 years, and we use the proceeds to fund nearly all our community service activities throughout the year. These projects include the Service Leadership Programs we sponsor (Key Clubs at four local high schools, CKI at UVa, K-Kids at Venable Elementary School), the J.T. Graves Key Club Scholarships we award each May, the holiday party for people having disabilities that we host at WorkSource Enterprises each December, and our Kiwanis Little League team.
Originally we got our trees by the boxcar from Nova Scotia, but in recent years we have sold almost exclusively fresh-cut Fraser fir trees shipped directly from a mountaintop in Valley Head, WV. Unlike those sold at many big-box stores, our trees are pruned carefully over their 6-12 years of growth, making them them the fullest trees available anywhere. In addition to the trees, we spend three successive club meetings in late November and early December making and decorating wreaths to be sold alongside the trees. Since many youth from our sponsored youth programs join us at the wreathmaking sessions, these three special meetings help all of us get into the Christmas spirit!
Around Thanksgiving we set up our stand at the Seminole Square Shopping Center on Route 29, and we are in business daily until about the third week of December. A surprisingly large percentage of our purchasers are repeat customers lured by our high-quality trees and who want to support our service efforts in the community. Each member of our club covers multiple shifts at the tree lot, and many Key Clubbers and CKI members come out to help us set up and staff the lot.
Holiday Party for Persons with Disabilities
Each December the Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville hosts a holiday party for people with intellectual disabilities at WorkSource Enterprises on Carlton Avenue. We usually have 110+ guests, including folks having disabilities and, in some cases, their caregivers. We serve a catered dinner of barbeque and fixings. We follow that up with a popular show by "Mr. Magic" (one of whose specialties is creating balloon sculptures) and a visit by Santa and an elf or two. In addition to the annual Christmas Party, we return to WorkSource Enterprises at least once a year for a Dick Fowler Service Work Night where we usually do general painting, repairs and cleanup. For many years the management of WorkSource has graciously allowed us to use their workshop facilities for three successive Monday evening wreathmaking sessions.
'Tis the Season Pancake Breakfast
Kiwanis President Bill Reusing and First Lady Janet Reusing welcomed guests to the first ever Kiwanis 'Tis the Season Pancake Breakfast at Hilton Garden Inn in the Pantops area on December 12, 2015. The second Kiwanis 'Tis the Season Pancake Breakfast took place on December 12, 2016. Beneficiaries included Ronald McDonald House Charities, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital CATCH Program for Child Health, the Piedmont Family YMCA Child Care Program, and University of Virginia Children's Hospital Safety Store. Nearly 300 pancake breakfasts were served. Kids and their families enjoyed meeting Santa and Mrs. Claus and "the Elf-ettes" while others participated in arts and crafts and fun and games organized by the YMCA and by Ronald McDonald House. Each of the four beneficiaries received checks for $750 as a result of this project.
Salvation Army Red Kettle
The Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville staffed two Red Kettles all day on the Saturday before Christmas: from 10 until 7 at Kroger at Rio Hill and from 10 until 5 at Giant at Rivanna Ridge. In all, 13 Kiwanians rang the bell, several including President Bill Reusing pulling multi-hour shifts, and two Kiwanians brought family members and guests to help ring. Pictured are Division 9 Lt Gov Barb Ritter with Salvation Army Capt Sue Shiels at the Kroger locatio. When you add the Kiwanis Key Clubs ringing at five different sites this year, and the donations made to the Kiwanis Red Kettle on-line, the K-Family helped raise $3,320 for the Salvation Army in Charlottesville.
Dick Fowler Memorial Service Work Nights
Fifteen years ago we decided to replace one regular club meeting a month (with an outside speaker, published agenda, etc.) with a service night on the premises of a local non-profit. Ever since, we have put on our old clothes on the fourth and occasional fifth Monday of the month, gathered up our tools and gone to work on a list of tasks provided by the agency. In honor of a long time member and champion of community service, we call these projects "Dick Fowler Memorial Service Work Nights." We work from 6:00 pm to 7:30 and then convene for a light dinner and brief meeting. Oftentimes the liaison from the agency gives us a 5-10 minute overview of their mission and operations. With 20 - 25 members typically participating, we get a lot of small projects done, including painting, pruning, cleaning, assembling and mailing. Members of our SLP's (frequently a group from CKI at UVa) join us on our projects. Many of our local Service Partners are local agencies that we've helped in this way in recent years.
Service Leadership Programs
As Kiwanians we take great pride in the "K-Family", the worldwide network of Kiwanians and Kiwanis-sponsored programs for service-minded people of all ages. The latter include Key Clubs at the high school level, Circle K (CKI) at the collegiate level, Builders Clubs for middle-schoolers, K-Kids at the elementary school level and Aktion Clubs for adults with disabilities. In March of 2017, the Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville board approved the establishment of two Aktion Clubs in Charlottesville. All Kiwanis service leadership programs provide opportunities for their members to lead, to grow and to belong through community service.
Over 400 local youth belong to the "SLP's" sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville. We sponsor an active CKI club at the University of Virginia, and CKI members in turn help us support a K-Kids club at Venable Elementary School. The latter is located only a few blocks from the UVa grounds. We support Key Clubs at four area high schools: Charlottesville High School, Albemarle High School, Western Albemarle High School, and Monticello High School
The Service Leadership Programs committee provides Kiwanis club advisors for each sponsored SLP club (and each club has a faculty advisor appointed by the school principal). We provide financial support for each club. For instance, this spring our club participated in the Capital District "Tri-Con" where Kiwanis Clubs met with Capital District Key Clubs and Capital District CKI and representatives of all other Capital District Service Leadership Programs at the 99th Annual Capital District Kiwanis Convention at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. (The Key Club Capital District, like ours, includes clubs from VA, DE, MD and DC.) Our club and Kiwanis International provide training for advisors and leaders and guidance in event and meeting planning. Each May we give the J.T. Graves Scholarship to a graduating senior at each of the four high schools who best exemplifies the values of Key Club. We often support their community service events, and they reciprocate by lending a hand at ours.
The Key Leader Program
Key Leader is a leadership development weekend for high school students ages 14-18 and is open to all high school students, not just Key Club members. The goal is to give each student participant an opportunity to experience personal development, growth and fellowship. They learn about achieving excellence and becoming a true leader in all aspects of their lives. For many, it is a life changing program.
The Capital District will hold its Spring Key Leader Weekend at Jamestown 4H Camp in Williamsburg, VA on April 28-30, 2017. Two students from Western Albemarle high School, with support from the Kiwanis Clib of Charlottesville Foundation, attended the Jamestown Key leader event. The Fall Key Leader Weekend for the Capital District was held Oct. 28-30, 2016 at the West River Center in West River, MD. The Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville Foundation will support the attendance of two students from each of the four high schools where Kiwanis sponsors Key Clubs. Tax-deductible gifts may be made to the Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville Foundation to help defray the cost of sending a local student to Key Leader.
Kiwanis and Baseball
For many years we have sponsored a team in the Central Little League. We usually host a picnic toward the end of the season for the players, their parents and the coaches.
We also support the Carson Raymond Foundation, which builds fields and provides equipment, instruction and transportation to allow school children to “GO PLAY” in their own neighborhood. In addition our club supports UVA baseball as well as the Charlottesville Tom Sox.
Maternal/Neonatal Tetanus is a deadly disease that steals the lives of nearly 60,000 innocent babies and many of their mothers each year. The disease is contracted during childbirth under non-sterile conditions. Its effects are devasting. Tiny newborns suffer painful convulsions and extreme sensitiviy to light and touch. Death within a week or ten days is inevitable. The Eliminate Project is Kiwanis International's current campaign to help eliminate MNT from the face of the earth. A series of three shots costing a total of $1.80 protects a woman and her future babies. Working closely with UNICEF, the goal of the worldwide Kiwanis family is to raise a total of $110 million to provide these shots. As of August 2016 we have met our goal and have eliminated MNT in 40 of the 59 priority countries. There are 19 still to go. The majority of the latter are in Africa, a few are in the Middle East and one (Haiti) is in the Americas. The Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville has raised $11,011 as of January 2016, and the members of the Service Leadership Programs we sponsor (Key Clubs at five area high schools and CKI at the University of Virginia) have raised an additional $11,747.
The Eliminate Project is the second world-wide service project undertaken by the Kiwanis. Earlier the members of Kiwanis International raised $80 million to eliminate Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD). IDD is the most common form of preventable intellectual disablity and can be eliminated completely with just $.05 worth of iodine per child. Small scale salt iodization plants were built all over the world, especially in areas remote from the oceans. (Eating salt water fish provides the miniscule amount of iodine needed for normal development naturally.)
"Kiwanis Cozy Comforts" (formerly "Sweet Dreams" Project)
A NEW VISION STATEMENT: Kiwanis Cozy Comforts is a basket of love and support for children and families in transitional and/or difficult situations. The goal is to show these families and children they are warm, safe, cared for and inspire them to have fun together as well. Items in each basket will vary based on need but might include hand-made blankets to surround them with warmth; books and puzzles to share together as a family; nightlights for security and safety; and personal care items to ensure health and well-being. Our hope is that each basket will bring a small sense of security and comfort to these children and their families.
The first Kiwanis Cozy Comforts event, helping 14 families identified by Jefferson Area Children's Health Improvement Program (CHiP), took place on April 6, 2017. Gifts to the Foundation can be designated specifically for "Kiwanis Cozy Comforts."
I In December, 2015, eighteen children and their families who are in difficult circumstances and who are being assisted by Jefferson Area Children’s Health Improvement Program (CHiP) were presented with unique, portable bags of bedding assembled by volunteers from the Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville in a project entitled “Sweet Dreams in a Bag.” Lt. Gov. Barb Ritter and fellow Kiwanians, Ronda Guill, Heather Mott, Joyce Lesich, and Karen Dowell, campaign among their fellow Kiwanians to raise money, search out the best deals from local stores, and solicited outright gifts of items that go into filling these large, sturdy, yet portable, clear plastic “Sweet Dreams” bags, that resemble over-sized suitcases rather than bags. Each bag contains a child-themed coverlet, a fleece blanket, a set of sheets, a pillow and pillowcase, toothbrush and toothpaste, a small toy, and an age appropriate book. The Kiwanis Club held an assembling workshop on a recent Monday service work night held at WorkSource Enterprises, where the collected contents of the bags were sorted according to particular ages and sex of the individual children who were being served and packed neatly into the cases. Smaller gift packages have also been prepared especially for the parents.
Need to Read Program
Kiwanis values the benefit to children and young adults of having access to their very own books. Through the generosity of a local book retailer we have been able to arrange for the donation of hundreds of books to The Book Baskets organization. They, in turn, will distribute these books to those who have expressed a need. Pictured at right is Bob Ribando, Immediate Past President of the Kiwanis Club of Charlottesville, whose inspiration to provide books to children was the beginning of our project. To Bob's right are Jenny Grayson of Book Baskets; Don Foss, current President of Kiwanis Charlottesville,and Joyce Lesich, Kiwanis Service Chair. For further information on Book Baskets see their website.