Ken Beaton: Happy 100th birthday Kiwanis

The Kiwanis Club of Hagerstown, Md., measured the physical growth of 6,000 school children in the early 1920s.

The Kiwanis Club of Hagerstown, Md., measured the physical growth of 6,000 school children in the early 1920s.

Kiwanis originated in Aug.. 1914 in Detroit, Mich., as a result of a conversation between Allen S. Browne and Joseph G. Prance. Browne’s idea was to solicit business and professional men who would be interested in organizing a fraternal organization with a health benefit feature.

Browne was compensated $5 for each new member who joined. That money became the operating budget. They recruited enough members to have their Michigan application for a nonprofit approved on Jan. 21, 1915, forming the Supreme Lodge Benevolent Order Brothers, known as BOB for about a year.

In 1916, the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, was formed, making Kiwanis an international organization. In 1962, Kiwanis approved to expand to become a worldwide organization with clubs in all the inhabited continents.

Originally, the purpose of Kiwanis was business networking among members and to serve people less fortunate. In 1919, Kiwanis decided to become a service club with the motto, “We Build.” In 2005, its mission statement changed to, “Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.”

After three years of debating, the delegates at the International Convention of 1987 voted to change its rules to accept women. Within six months, 3,000 women became Kiwanians. At the next International Convention in June, 2015, Sue Petrisin will become the first woman to be installed as Kiwanis International President.

Kiwanis has clubs in 80 nations with 600,000 members. Each year Kiwanians donate $100 million and volunteer 18 million hours strengthening communities and serving children.

Kiwanis Clubs sponsor nearly 150,000 service projects and raises more than $107 million. Kiwanis partnered with UNICEF and collected more than $80 million to successfully eradicated iodine deficiency disorders, IDD, the leading preventable cause of mental impairment. In 2010 Kiwanis again partnered with UNICEF and launched the Eliminate Project, dedicated to eradicating maternal and neonatal tetanus, MNT, which kills more than 100,000 worldwide every year.

Carson City has two clubs — Kiwanis Club of Carson City and Kiwanis Club of Sierra Nevada. Both clubs support the Kiwanis Family House, KFH, on the University of California, Davis, campus. This facility is similar to a Ronald McDonald House. A number of Carson City residents have had their cancer treatments at UC Davis while their families resided at KFH to emotionally support their relative. Nobody is charged a penny to stay at KFH. Of course, KFH accepts donations to defray its expenses.

Seeking answers to Kiwanis questions? Contact Cheryl Knight, president of Kiwanis Club of Carson City, at 775-297-3242 or Alan Welch, president of Kiwanis Club of Sierra Nevada, at 775-315-5556. Both Kiwanis Clubs are volunteers dedicated to improving our community one child at a time. If you know a Kiwanian, wish him or her, “Happy 100th birthday Kiwanis!”

Ken Beaton of Carson City contributes periodically to the Nevada Appeal.


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