By Libby Hopkins
Kiwanis clubs are a world-wide service club that can be found in more than 80 nations. They each help meet the needs of their communities in numerous ways. By doing this, each club has their own individuality and uniqueness. The Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon has been supporting the Brandon community since 1960. “Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time,” said current president of the Brandon Kiwanis, Clarkia Dennis.
The Kiwanis governor of Florida is Matthew Cantrall. His wife, Cheryl, is the Florida Kiwanis’ first lady and her state-wide initiative is to raise 750,000 diapers to donate to charities across the state. She calls it “Diaper Dump,” no pun intended. At the annual installation dinner for the Brandon Kiwanis club, Dennis collected over a 1,000 diapers that were donated to Life Care in Brandon. “It was our way of starting the Diaper Dump participation and as the year goes on we will be passing diapers along to other organizations within the Brandon community. Life Care of Brandon is a non-profit, non-denominational, non-political organization that is committed to providing compassion, information and support to women, couples and families facing the challenge of an unplanned pregnancy.
Another community project that is a vital part of the Brandon Kiwanis is the Terrific Kids leadership and character recognition program. “We present Terrific Kids certificates, pencils and bumper stickers to 22 elementary schools in the Greater Brandon community,” Dennis said. Children become Terrific Kids by showing improvements in academics, study habits and citizenship. The Kiwanis gave out over 11,000 Terrific Kids awards last year to students in the community. The Kiwanis’ yearly golf tournament raises the funds to support the Terrific Kids program and this year the tournament will be held at the Buckhorn Country Club in Valrico on November 11.
Dennis hopes to have more people from the community join the Kiwanis. Her club is currently looking for a facility in the Brandon area to hold a monthly satellite Kiwanis meeting for people who would like to join her club but can’t make the weekly Thursday morning meeting at Ben’s Family Restaurant in Brandon. “I’m extending an open invitation to anyone in who would like to become involved with helping the children of the world,” Dennis said. To learn more, visit www.brandonkiwanis.com or call Dennis at 777-2135.