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Updated last on December 8, 2004

Kiwanis is a worldwide service organization for individuals desiring personal involvement in the leadership and improvement of their communities. As a group, we can achieve what individuals cannot do alone. Thus our motto and the cornerstone of Kiwanis – "Serving The Children of the World"

Kiwanis clubs, located in 80 nations, help their communities in countless ways. Each community’s needs are different—so each Kiwanis club is different. By working together, members achieve what one person cannot accomplish alone. When you give a child the chance to learn, experience, dream, grow, succeed and thrive, great things happen.

Service footprint: Service is at the heart of every Kiwanis club, no matter where in the world it’s located. Members stage nearly 150,000 service projects and raise nearly US$100 million every year for communities, families and projects.

A family of servant leaders: Kiwanis clubs focus on changing the world by serving children, one child and one community at a time. To do this, many clubs also sponsor a Kiwanis family club—K-Kids for primary school children; Builders Clubs for adolescents; Key Clubs for teens; CKI clubs for university students and Aktion Clubs for adults living with disabilities—to reach more people and have a greater service impact on their communities.

Traditional and not: No two Kiwanis clubs look exactly the same. Each member’s and community’s needs are different, and each club should look different. Some clubs are very traditional, with weekly meetings and a strong sense of history. Other clubs don’t meet at all, and instead hold meetings online and only come together for service projects. Newer clubs may follow the 3-2-1 concept: 3 hours of service, 2 hours of social activity and a 1-hour meeting each month. Clubs should reflect their communities and their members and should work to meet their needs. Flexibility is key to a successful club.

Fellowship and fun: Kiwanis members don’t just do service—they have fun. Members make new friends by being part of a club where they attend meetings and participate in social events. Kiwanis clubs also provide excellent networking opportunities for professionals. Members meet new people from all over their region and the world through service projects, fundraising and by attending district and international conventions.

The Kiwanis Story

Kiwanis was founded in Detroit, Michigan on January 21, 1915. The original name was "The Benevolent Order of Brothers," and its purpose was the mutual exchange of preferred treatment in professional and business dealings.

Within a year, the name had changed to Kiwanis, taken from an Indian term "Nun Keewanis", which roughly means "Self Expression". It had also become obvious that the original purpose lacked the power to attract and hold members. The purpose of the organization thus became "community service," a concept from which Kiwanis has never deviated.

In 1916 a Kiwanis Club was chartered in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and Kiwanis became "international". In 1962 a Kiwanis chapter was established in Mexico. International extension has continued since that time, and today, more than 600,000 male and female members of the Kiwanis family in over 71 countries make their mark by responding to the needs of their communities and pooling their resources to address worldwide issues.
From Wikipedia:

Kiwanis

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Kiwanis International is a service organization whose mission is "Serving the Children of the World". The organization was founded on January 21, 1915 in Detroit, Michigan by Joseph C. Prance (a tailor) and Allen S. Browne (a professional event organizer). The two came up with the idea in August 1914, and in 1915 founded Kiwanis Club of Detroit Number One.

Today, Kiwanis is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. Its original purpose was to exchange business between members and to serve the poor. The debate as to whether or not to remain a networking organization or a service organization was resolved in 1919 when Kiwanis adopted a service focused mission. The organization was for men only until 1987 and since then female membership has grown to be 22% of total members.

Kiwanis International
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Kiwanis International

The third-largest service organization in the world, membership in Kiwanis International in 2005 stood at 275,000. The average age of members is 57 years old. Average size of the 13,000 clubs is 34 members. The organization has chapters in 93 countries.

Kiwanis International also founded and supports Key Club. Started in Sacramento, California in 1925, it is the oldest and largest service program for high school students in the world. Membership in Key Club International was some 245,000 in 2005.

The collegiate version of Kiwanis is Circle K. The first official Circle K club was chartered in September, 1947 at the campus of Carthage College (then in Illinois).

Key Club and Circle K are part of Kiwanis Service Leadership Programs. While both of them are considered organizations, the K-Kids (elementary school), Builder's Club (middle school) and Aktion Club (for people with disabilities) are considered sponsored programs. The difference is that Key Club and Circle K, just like Kiwanis, elect their own Club, District and International officers each year to lead the organization.

The Objects of Kiwanis are:

To give primacy to the human and spiritual, rather than the material values of life.
To encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships.
To promote the adoption and the application of higher social, business, and professional standards.
To develop, by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive, and serviceable citizenship.
To provide, through Kiwanis clubs, a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render altruistic service, and to build better communities.
To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high idealism which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism, and goodwill.

(Source: http://www.kiwanis.org/membership/ ) (Source: Staff at Kiwanis International Headquarters)

 

The six permanent Constitutional Objects of Kiwanis International were approved by Kiwanis club delegates at the 1924 Convention in Denver, Colorado. Through the succeeding decades, they have remained unchanged.

To give primacy to the human and spiritual rather than to the material values of life.
To encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships.
To promote the adoption and the application of higher social, business, and professional standards.
To develop, by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive, and serviceable citizenship.
To provide, through Kiwanis clubs, a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render altruistic service, and to build better communities.
To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high idealism which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism and goodwill.

"We Build" is the motto under which Kiwanis has advanced and become widely known throughout the years.

Young Children: Priority One is the ongoing service program of Kiwanis International, addressing the needs of children and young adults.

The Kiwanis Club

The heart of Kiwanis is the club itself. Each club is composed of men and women in a wide variety of occupations, representing the active forces of the community they serve. All Kiwanis clubs are organized according to a standard basic plan. Each club has great freedom in developing its own service projects, fund-raising activities, meeting procedures, customs, and character.

The St. Joseph-Benton Harbor, Michigan Kiwanis Club

The St. Joseph Kiwanis club was chartered on Tuesday July 26, 1921.

Officers that first year were Charles L. Miller, President; C.W. Stratton, Vice President; William Collier, Secretary; A.R. Morford, Treasurer; and C. S. Wheller, District Trustee. First year Board of Directors were John F. Wilson, George R. Gray, Harry L. Rimes, Ben Paxton, R. E. Barr, Harry Johnson, and J. R. Collier

Since that first year the St. Joseph Kiwanis Club has had 85 Presidents.

St Joseph and Benton Harbor Kiwanis Clubs merged in September, 2007

Regular Meetings

The St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Kiwanis Club meets every Tuesday at the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, 601 Main Street in St. Joseph.  See Map on home page.  .  Weekly meetings begin at Noon and adjourn at 1:00 PM.

Interested in being a member?  We are interested in you!

Kiwanis Club Membership Information?  Click Here!

Need Information?  Call Ed Meny 269-429-2025 or email: emeny@sbcglobal.net

 

 

Sponsored Clubs

The St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Kiwanis Club sponsors and enthusiastically supports four Key Clubs at Lakeshore High School in Stevensville, Michigan,  Lake Michigan Catholic High School in St. Joseph, Michigan, St. Joseph High School in St. Joseph, Michigan and Benton Harbor High School in Benton Harbor, Michigan.   All together, there are approximately 400 students involved in our sponsored Key Clubs.