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What Is Kiwanis
Kiwanis is a worldwide service organization of local clubs, comprised of men and women who
share the challenge of improving their community and the world. Kiwanians are devoted to
the principle of service; to the advancement of individual, community, and national
welfare; and to the strengthening of international goodwill.
The first Kiwanis Club was organized in Detroit, Michigan, USA on January 21, 1915. A year
later the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, was chartered, and Kiwanis
International grew rapidly into a leading service club in these two founding nations. In
1962, worldwide expansion was approved, and today Kiwanis Clubs are active in every part
of the world.
The name "Kiwanis" stems from an Indian phrase "Nun Keewanis", which
roughly translated, means "to express ones self".
"Serving the Children of the World" Kiwanis continuing service emphasis is
called "Young Children: Priority One," which focuses on the special needs of
children from pre-natal development to age 5.
To improve the quality of life for children and families worldwide. In 1994, Kiwanis
launched its first Worldwide Service Project, a $75 million campaign in partnership with
UNICEF to eliminate iodine deficiency disorders by the year 2000. Iodine deficiency is
rare in areas where iodized salt is used, but in other parts of the world, IDD is the
leading cause of preventable mental and physical retardation. As many as 1.5 billion
people are at risk, especially young children.
Kiwanis membership spans the globe, with more than 331,000 members in more than 8,700
clubs in over 83 countries.
Kiwanians participate in projects and fund raisers that provide assistance to local
charities, hospitals, schools, shelters, other community organizations, and individuals.
In one year, Kiwanis Clubs sponsored 147,000 service projects. To do so, Kiwanians raised
and spent almost $70 million and contributed 6.2 million hours of volunteer time.
Woman In Kiwanis
Membership was opened to woman in 1987. There are now more than 51,000 women members and 1
in 7 clubs presidents is a woman.
Kiwanis Youth Organizations
Kiwanis International sponsors several service clubs for young people. Circle K
International has 11,000 members on 570 university and college campuses. Key Club
International has 215,000 members in 4,600 high schools and Builders Clubs have been
organized in 2,000 junior high and middle schools. Other members of the Kiwanis family
include K-Kids in elementary schools, young European adults in Kiwanis Junior, and Aktion
Club, which involves persons with disabilities in community-service activities.