Ronald McDonald House Dinners June 4, August 6, September 24, December 17 (Tentative)
For approximately 20 years, the Kiwanis Club of Warner Center has been serving Sunday Night Dinner at Ronald McDonald House. Ronald McDonald House provides families with a place to live at little or no cost while their children are undergoing treatment, often for very serious medical conditions at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
As with many of our projects, the inspiration came from a speaker at one of our meetings. His church group prepared Thanksgiving dinner for residents of Ronald McDonald House. He spoke eloquently about the satisfaction his group got from volunteering to do this each year.
Today, we cook Sunday Night Dinners about six times a year and it is one of our most popular projects. The parents who stay at RMH are under a great deal of stress, have exhausted most of their friends and families with the medical trials and tribulations they are experiencing, and they subsist mostly on coffee, fast food and adrenaline. Providing a home cooked meal (usually barbequed tri tip, chicken, and hot dogs with sides, salad and dessert), a chance to sit down to eat and fresh ears to listen is as rewarding for us as it is appreciated by them.
Volunteers shop for food in advance of each dinner, help cook food, prepare condiments, cook, serve and clean - oh yes, and engage with families who want to share their stories.
The event itself (not including shopping and other prep) takes about four hours. Attendance is generally limited to a dozen members, who sign up in advance to help out.
Flags Along the Boulevard ; Flag Raising - Saturday May 13, Flag Removal– after September 11
As Kiwanians, most of our good work is done quietly, without much in the way of recognition, but our Flags Along the Boulevard project is there for all who travel along Ventura Boulevard to see. In recognition of the pride we have living in this country and gratitude for those who have sacrificed to make it possible, twice a year we hoist more than 100 flags – from about DeSoto to Woodlake Avenue.
Just before Memorial Day, members get up early on Sunday morning to put up the flags, which stay up until after the 4th of July. They go up again before Labor Day and remain until after Veteran’s Day. Putting up and taking down the flags takes from two to four hours and requires five or six volunteers to run smoothly.
KECSA Kiwanis Equestrian Event for Special Athletes, October 22nd
*** follow us at www.kecsa.org***
Our signature event, KECSA was established in 1992 to provide a competition for Special Olympics equestrian athletes for whom no regional competition was available in Southern California. At the time, KCWC had a member who was building an equestrian center in Agoura, California, and was willing to host the event. Another member was a “horse” man whose experience included judging equestrian competitions. He was enthusiastic about partnering with Special Olympics and its athletes.
The Club was still new and such a project – which was to include serving the athletes, their families and volunteers breakfast, lunch and snacks at absolutely no cost to them – was daunting. That didn’t stop us. With the help of other Clubs in our Division, a very special community service project was born.
When Special Olympics discontinued its support of equestrian athletes, we were at a crossroads. The association with Special Olympics had helped with our fundraising efforts; we had no idea whether we could continue to raise the kinds of funds necessary ($30,000 to $35,000) to continue to host and pay for the event. We decided to give it a year to see.
Although we’ve moved venues and the two members who spearheaded the project are no longer with us, the project continues. Held each fall at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center, every member of the Club helps to make this a special day for the athletes and their families.
Planning for the next year’s event starts at the beginning of the calendar year. Each member is expected to help by selling raffle tickets (we have a system to help anyone be successful at this), soliciting donations for raffle ticket prizes (we need about 200) and silent auction items; in addition, selling advertisements for the program we produce is a vital part of our fundraising effort for this event.
On the day of the event, we require the participation of virtually every member to make the day a success. It’s a lot of work, but the look on the face of each athlete as they receive a trophy or ribbon and the gratitude of their families for an event that gives them an opportunity to celebrate their special children is priceless.
My Stuff : Third Thursday of each month
Originally founded by Dr. Laura Schessinger in 1998 (and now independently run) to help abused and neglected children, My Stuff solicits donations that volunteers, like us, stuff into duffel bags for children entering the foster care system. Once a month, five to eight of our members donate several hours to this on-going project – packing toys, blankets, caps, books, and toiletries for children who may have little or nothing else when they are taken from their homes.
Terrific Kids: First Monday of the Month except for the June 5th Bicycle Award
Terrific Kids is a student-recognition program to encourage and recognize character development, self-esteem, and perseverance. “Terrific” is an acronym for Thoughtful, Enthusiastic, Respectful, Responsible, Inclusive, Friendly, Inquisitive, and Capable.
Students work with teachers to set goals to improve behavior, peer relationships, attendance and/or school work. Students who achieve their goals are selected to receive a “Terrific Kids” award. Every first Monday of each month during the school year, our members attend an Assembly at a local elementary school and present the awards to those children identified by their teachers as deserving recognition for meeting their goals. At the end of the school year, one or two lucky Terrific Kids are the proud recipients of a bicycle purchased with Club funds. The time commitment for this project is only about an hour and a half per month, but there is no limit on the number of members who would be welcome at a Terrific Kids event.
Brandon’s Buddies Play Date on the First Saturday of every Month
Brandon’s buddies is a free kids club that meets on the first Saturday of every month at the Brandon’s village in Gates Canyon Park, 25801 Thousand Oaks Blvd. Calabasas. This play-ground is the first fully accessible pay-ground in the region, and the play date gives children with disabilities the opportunity to play with their typically-able peers, while giving their parent a chance to share experiences and advise with other parents/caregivers. It gives children with typical abilities the chance to get to know their challenged peers and gain a greater awareness and compassion.
Several times a year, our members provide integrated play, face painting, arts and crafts, entertainment and refreshments
Feed the Hungry - Dates set by the Project Chair Person
This is an outreach program targeting the homeless, by providing various none perishable food in preassembled bags to the local homeless families in partnership with the Canoga Family Rescue Center, throughout the year Items to be procured by club members, to be assembled and delivered and distributed by the Rescue Center
This project takes 4 hours in preparation time and another 1 hour on the day of the event. The more, the merrier. Members of our Key Club often join us for this event and are a big help.
Help the Homeless Dates as required -Dates Set by the project Chair Person
The club members assist the homeless people residing in the Canoga Park area. We partner with the Canoga Park Family Rescue Center to stock their pantry with none perishable food items to be procured and distributed to families that can not provided nourishment to themselves and their children. The items supplied range from cereal, dry rice, canned meat to eat ready package food and cases of water. We may also provide clothing and other necessities suggested by the management of the Rescue Center