Kiwanis Club of Oakmont welcomes new members to serve children and families
By Jeff Davis
Kiwanis International is a service organization of over 600,000 volunteers in over 7,300 clubs that are active in over 96 nations. These members are dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time. Over the course of a year these members contribute 18 million service hours and millions of dollars to communities worldwide. Each Kiwanis Club concentrates primarily on the needs of children in their own communities. Individually, members decide for themselves how much time they can contribute and to which project they direct their attention.
The Kiwanis Club of Oakmont is a good example. This club is engaged in several projects that involve direct interaction with children in local schools. Oakmont Kiwanis has a long-term relationship with Kenwood Elementary School, both in on-campus projects for improvement of the grounds and curricula, and in classrooms as substitute “grandparents” several times a year.
The club also mentors Service Leadership Programs at four elementary, middle and high schools. Each of these is aimed at encouraging children and youth to see the value of acts of service by students for their school and community, and to design projects that are appropriate for the children’s age. Examples that the students have thought up themselves range from selling snacks to raise money to buy goats for poor families in Africa, to packaging food for the Redwood Empire Food Bank, to cleaning up trash and debris from local creeks. In many instances, club members work hand-in-hand with the students on these projects. The interest and enthusiasm exhibited by these students is certainly encouraging for the future.
Club members also raise funds that the Kiwanis Club of Oakmont Foundation then distributes to various organizations and agencies in the county. The Redwood Empire Food Bank, the Valley of the Moon Children’s Center, YWCA, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts Music Camp, Santa Rosa Symphony Music for Our Schools, Social Advocates for Youth, the Living Room, and providing aid to fire victims are only a few of the efforts that the Foundation has supported. Many club members have also volunteered to work directly with these organizations. Two of the most successful fundraising projects in recent years are the club’s annual Pancake Breakfast, and the Wii Bowl-a-thon, a fun and friendly competition for children and grown-ups alike.
Although the club meets in Oakmont, membership is open to any interested participants. For many years, a number of Kenwood residents have been active in the club, along with members from other parts of Santa Rosa. Regular meetings are 8:30-9:30 a.m. every Thursday at the Oakmont Berger Center, 6633 Oakmont Dr. There’s usually a short business meeting and a guest speaker or group that keep the members informed of local needs and projects in our community. A light buffet breakfast is available starting about 7:30 a.m. It’s a great time for socializing with a friendly crew of participants.
Since so many more people are working longer rather than retiring early, the club has been experimenting with having one meeting a month at 5:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month for members who cannot attend meetings in the morning. These are also at the Berger Center. If there is enough interest by persons who would benefit from an evening get-together, this arrangement will be made permanent.
Take a look at our website, oakmontkiwanis.org, and contact Charles Ensley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Everyone is invited to any meeting to get acquainted with what we do. See you soon!