Swartz Creek Kiwanis Club
The Rock Volunteer Group of Swartz Creek
“Serving the Children of Swartz Creek and the World”. That mission statement is the foundation of the Swartz Creek Kiwanis Club. They have been improving the lives of the citizens of Swartz Creek since 1955 when they were first chartered by Kiwanis International, with a strong emphasis on our youth. They have done that with thousands of selfless hours in working fundraisers to finance their many community programs. Every penny of the money they raise from the public is used for their charitable programs.
What is Kiwanis?
Basically, we are a group of good hearted people that believe if you want to live in a good community, you have to actively contribute good to it. It won’t be a good community on its own. Furthermore, we think the best investment of 'good' is in the children and youth of our area.
Kiwanis International was founded in 1915 in Detroit, Michigan, and became an international organization with the creation of the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton, Ontario, the following year. In the early years, members focused on business networking but in 1919, the organization changed its focus to service. In the 1960s, worldwide expansion was approved and within the decade, Kiwanis International-Europe was formed, representing Kiwanians in 11 European nations. In 1987, women officially were allowed into the membership. The first club in Genesee County was the Flint club, which was chartered in 1917. Currently Kiwanis has over 240,000 members in 7700 clubs in 80 nations. The name “Kiwanis” is a Native American term which loosely means "We have a good time", "We make a noise" or "To Express Oneself".
Tell me more about the Swartz Creek Club
The focus of the Swartz Creek Kiwanis Club is to support projects and activities that build character and leadership skills and encourage community service by the youth of the Swartz Creek area. This is a fun and informal community service club (no secret rooms, hats, or initiation rituals)! They meet weekly at 7:30am. Thursday mornings at the Country Carriage Restaurant, Miller Road, Swartz Creek. Meetings begin with the call to order (bell) the Pledge of Allegiance, a song, and grace. Business is then brought forward by the president, followed by a short presentation from a “guest speaker”. Each member provides 1 or 2 meeting speakers a year. At many meetings the “Sheriff” will collect fines (usually 25 cents) and some members donate “Happy Bucks”. For a buck you can stand up and announce something that is going good in your world. Fines and happy bucks are deposited in the club administrative accounts and are used to pay for breakfasts for speakers and guests. Meetings adjourn at 8:30 am. so folks can get to work.
How does the Swartz Creek Club raise funds for its projects?
They have a variety fundraisers throughout the year. No mater what your interests you will find at least one to your liking. Here is a list of their current fundraisers:
Art in the Park ArtFest:
A juried art show and sale held at Elms Park in late August. Members layout the booth placement - who goes where - help artists set up their booths, assist the artists and host the 2000-3000 customers that circulate on Saturday of the event. A committee meets for 10 months prior to the event to promote the sale of spaces for the artists, working with other community groups to structure what happens and acts as a liaison for juried sample pieces submitted by artists for acceptance in the show. This event is co-sponsored with the GFWC Women's Club, and the Swartz Creek Art Guild. For more information on the ArtFest visit their website at www.swartzcreekkiwanis.org/art.
Weenie Wagon/Lunch at the Dump/Hotdog sales:
Members sell hot dogs at Hometown Days (June), Tuesday night Concerts in June/July/August sponsored by the SC Fine Arts Association. Lunch at the Dump is a catered meal for truck drivers and area elected officials at the land fill in Grand Blanc. Members cook and serve food for those in attendance at this July/August event.
This event is held on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter) 7:30 am. at the Swartz Creek Methodist Church, bringing together community members and Kiwanians from across Genesee County and generally featuring a speaker with an uplifting spiritual message. Members sell tickets for this event to cover costs only. It is not a fundraiser. It's just an event the club provides for the community
A fund raiser that allows them to make money as they make their routine purchases. The club sells gift cards for restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, drugstores, lumber yards...Pr-paid gift cards are available from about 200 major retailers. The club receives between 2 and 20% of the face amount as commission for selling the card. Cards are paid for when the order is placed at any Thursday meeting and are delivered at the meeting the following week. Cards are redeemed like cash at the retail outlet for the full face amount of the card/purchase price.
In the winter the club sponsors a Euchre Tournament at the American Legion Hall on Morrish Road.
In the early Spring the club sponsors a scrapbooking event, also at the American Legion Hall on Morrish Road.
What does the Club do with these funds?
All funds collected from the public goes towards funding their charitable projects. Administrative costs comes out of the club dues that the members pay. Here is a list of their current community projects:
A community/Youth theater program in which live performances are held at Mary Crapo School several times a year.
SC Area Food Bank:
Supplies food and basic toiletry items for area residents in need. The club regularly contributes to this activity housed at the Methodist church. Food provided is purchased from the Eastern Michigan Food Bank and donations from area gardens and farms. Donations from area churches are also part of the food banks support.
Co-sponsored by the SC Police Department teaching elementary students how to be safe and how to react in emergency situations.
DDA Movie Night:
Free Friday night movies at the Pijtas Pavilion on Civic Drive College Scholarships: At the SC High School graduation/awards ceremonies, the club makes a contribution to 3-4 deserving good citizen/students attending college each fall. Law Enforcement Career Program: They pay student tuition for this career exploration program.
Young Children Priority One:
Providing books/supplies to the Head Start pre-school classroom in the Deick Elementary School.
Tall Pine Council of Boy Scouts:
Providing funding to cub scouts and boy scouts in the area.
People to people:
This is an international student exchange program. Over the past few years the club has contributed funds to help meet the tuition for area youth to attend/participate in this program...
This is a regionally recognized music camp. Over the past few years the club has contributed to tuition for students from this area to attend this program.
This is a Kiwanis sponsored community service organization for high school students at SCHS. It is a sub set of the national program for Kiwanis youth/leadership development.
Kiwanis International Foundation:
Providing financial support for children's causes locally and world-wide.
For example, they recently provided funds and labor to repair the main pavilion and refurbish the play-scape in Elms Park.
This is Interesting. What are the qualifications to join Kiwanis?
Simply put, Kiwanis is open to anyone with a high moral standard who wants to be involved with a high profile group dedicated to improving his/her community. You must be sponsored by a member. Once your application is approved by the Board of Directors then you are a member with all the rights and privileges thereof.
What are the obligations of membership?
The dues currently are $120 per year, due in September of each year. You are expected to attend as many of the weekly meetings as possible, as well participate in as many fundraisers and projects as you can. The more you put into the club the more satisfaction you will receive from it.
“How does one enjoy—have fun—while doing something good for our community and children?”, asks past President and past Lt Governor Rosemary Robinson. “Easy—they join the Swartz Creek Kiwanis. Most of us have busy lives but the hours we spend with our Kiwanis family are generally fun filled hours. Please consider this your invite to come and see what the Kiwanis club is all about. We'll even buy your first breakfast.”
How do I contact Kiwanis?
You can call Doug Stephens at 810 282 7641.
Visit their website at www.swartzcreekkiwanis.org.
Facebook at www.facebook.com/swartzcreekkiwanis.