Key Club’s districts show off their signature projects
By Adrian Kendrick
Three years ago the Alabama District pledged to raise $150,000 over five years to purchase two rooms at the Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children. The rooms are for children and teens to forget about treatments and enjoy life. The district has raised more than $60,000 toward its goal.
The Bahamas District is working with the Kiwanis Club of Nassau AM on its service projects, especially refurbishing projects the clubs started last year at the Persis Rodgers Home for the Aged. The Key Clubbers
replaced tiles and sheetrock and painted rooms and the home’s exterior.
“When we give ourselves in service, someone is always appreciative of it no matter how big or small. That caring, sharing and service should be our way of life daily,” says Janae Henefield, district governor.
The California-Nevada-Hawaii District is focused on Project Shine: Bring light into someone’s life. The project helps improve the lives of people with special needs. “It’s easy to make a difference. You don’t have to cure cancer to have an impact. Just taking time out of your day and sharing it with a child makes a huge difference,” says Kathy Hong, lieutenant governor.
Key Club’s Capital District contributes service to the initiative Operation: Hometown, which involves giving back to the community via education and caregiving. Members volunteer at schools, libraries, daycare centers, hospitals, homeless shelters, food banks, nursing homes and animal shelters.
The Caribbean Atlantic District does Key 2 Kids: Mentor, inspire, encourage project. It’s similar to the Key Club International initiative Live 2 Learn and focuses on improving grades, giving back and growing together. The sessions include help with homework, storytelling, recycling projects, arts and crafts, educational
games and much more.
Since 1981 the Carolinas District has been helping The Boys and Girls Club at Lake Waccamaw. The Boys and Girls Club provides care for children, many of whom have been abused and neglected. Key Club members provide time, clothing, food, school supplies, toiletries and more.
This district collaborates with War Child Canada to raise funds and increase awareness within schools and the community. War Child assists children whose lives have been tattered by conflict, and provides them with means to build a better future. I’ve learned a great deal about myself and how everyone should get out into the community and strive to make a difference whether big or small,” says Anh Than, district service project committee chairwoman.
The Florida District project is the Special Needs Awareness Program. The goals of SNAP include promoting service to help those with special needs and building awareness and increasing communication between the community and those with special needs.
Endorsing the Georgia Sheriff’s Youth Homes as its project, the Georgia District donates to the expansion of the Learning Center at the GSYH Campus in LaGrange, Georgia. Each club is expected to raise at least $400 for the project, in order to surpass the district’s goal of $20,000.
This Key Club district teams up with its Circle K and Kiwanis counterparts for a district project that benefits the Spasitc Paralysis Research Foundation. Together, they provide financial grants to medical and scientific researchers specializing in spastic paralysis and other diseases of the central nervous system.
Indiana’s district project is Water for Villages. Working with the organization A Simple Thing, Key Clubbers provide water to three villages in the Kavre District, located in the northeastern part of Nepal. Water is installed in a water pumping and piping system from a nearby water source that will take clean, drinkable
water to these villages all year round.
Jamaica’s district project is helping beautify Browns Basic School, a small rural community of children who wish to learn and become productive citizens. The district officers believe this project will significantly help the environment become more conducive to learning.
The Kansas District project is giving back to the elderly for the hard work they did in building and framing America. Key Clubbers volunteer and host Rake and Run, Senior Citizens Prom, Majestic Movie Night and Bingo Night. “What I enjoy the most about this project is that senior citizens seem to be the most thankful people. They are grateful for the simplest of things,” says Brice Peterson, district governor.
The Kentucky-Tennessee District serves the Ronald McDonald House. RMH is a home where families can stay when their children are sick in the hospital. Key Club members donate time to clean and cook for residents. They also raise money to donate so the house can purchase supplies and food.
This district works with Healthier Eating Always Leads to Happier Years (H.E.A.L.T.H.Y.), which encourages people to lead healthier lifestyles. The project is divided into two parts: ‘Taking an Action,” which involves volunteers talking to people about specific topics, and “Raise Funds for Diabetes,” which raises money for the American Diabetes Association.
Operation Smile is Michigan’s district project. The nonprofit organization provides free surgery for children to repair cleft clip, cleft palate and other facial deformities.
The Minnesota District project is Kids Against Hunger. The goal is to eliminate world hunger. Meals are distributed to starving children and their families in more than 60 countries worldwide. To kick off the fundraiser members are hosting a Duct Tape the Governor event, where people will pay to duct tape the district governor to a wall.
This district is encouraging Key Clubs to read books to young children (preschool through grade four) and then donate books to the class or the library. The district board chose this because of its potential to help the local communities in the district.
Montana is among the top three states in the nation for teen suicide. The Montana District wants to change that
statistic through Project Life, an antisuicide and anti-bullying project. “This project isn’t easy to talk about, but talking about it is the best way to lower suicide rates. We make a difference. In a couple years our suicide rates will decrease and that will be the best experience of all,” says Tori Houle, district governor.
By teaming up with Building Tomorrow the Nebraska-Iowa District is helping make the world a better place. Building Tomorrow is a nonprofit organization that raises funds to build schools in subsaharan Africa with the help of schools and colleges. Currently, there are five active schools in Uganda.
The New England Key Club is tackling three projects this year. The first is Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Institute, where clubs raise funds to support a Key Club project sponsored by KPTI. Another is Camp Sunshine, where the clubs host fundraisers for families and children with diseases. Finally, the district works with Children of Peace International, an organization that provides schooling for children in the poorer areas of Vietnam. New England has provided funds to build a school.
This district is focused on Operation Educate, a program designed to promote both service and education across the state through community involvement. Members may host a book and school supply drive, or plan a visit to their local elementary schools to read or tutor students.
The New York District project seeks to reach children and senior citizens through reading and education. The project, Keys to Education, ranges from reading a book to children at a local library to teaching a group of people how to play basketball.
Through the district project Lend a Hand, Key Club members can directly serve others. “Hands represent connectedness to the rest of the world. When you interact with those you are helping, you can see the good you do right in front of your eyes,” says Michael Murray, district governor.
This district works with Surgical Implant Generation Network (SIGN), which builds medical clinics that treat patients who have suffered trauma or severe bone fractures. The Pacific Northwest District has a goal of raising $25,000 to build a medical clinic in Tanzania. “It really astounds me how much a group of high school students can accomplish when they have a common goal and a passion for service,” says Caitlin Snaring, district governor.
Pennsylvania is working with Caitlin’s Smiles for its statewide Youth Serving Youth project. The organization and the district aim to help children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses by giving them hope, laughs and smiles. The program was named in memory of Caitlin Mary Hornung, who was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 1997.
The Rocky Mountain District’s project is to raise $25,000 to finish a school in Sapa, Vietnam, for Children of Peace International. The mountainous village will serve as the only school in Northern Vietnam to teach indigenous children. “The most significant thing we can give is the opportunity of a better education to thousands of kids, as long as we work as one,” says Jared James, district governor.
The Southwest District will be supporting the Beads of Courage Program, whose goal is to provide support to children who are coping with serious diseases. The organization also supports the childrens’ families and their healthcare providers.
Selecting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation as its district project, the Texas-Oklahoma District hopes to knock out cancer for good—one cup at a time.
One of life’s necessities is food, and the West Virginia District is making sure it can provide enough for those in need. Through food drives and fundraisers, the district is helping Food for Thought. “Together everyone can make a difference and help those in need. One can of food at a time,” says Philip Mickinae, district governor.
Supporting Free the Children, the Western Canada District is doing a combination of two projects, Thousand-mile Week and the Brick by Brick project. The Thousand-mile Week uses a week of fundraisers and awareness events to highlight the importance of empowering communities through long-term sustainable development. Through the Brick by Brick project, the district helps build a school for children in a thirdworld country of their choice.
This district is participating in Fighting Hunger. Clubs are not only collecting food for those in need, but they also raise awareness in communities across the state.