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  • Key Leader rocks your service world

    Key Leader

    Key Leader is a weekend retreat for today’s youth that focuses on service leadership as the first and most meaningful leadership-development experience. A Key Leader participant learns the most important lesson of leadership: Leadership comes from helping others succeed.

    Participants—eighth grade graduates through high school seniors—in the Kiwanis International program also benefit from the weekend’s focus on five Keys to Excellence: integrity, growth, respect, community and pursuit of excellence.

    The fee for a student to attend is US$175. Some schools award Key Leader scholarships, but you can also work with your Kiwanis club to arrange financial sponsorship. To learn more about the Key Leader program and to find out about your local event, go to There you will find a map of Key Leader events, registration information and much more!

    “I learned what it truly means to have integrity and what a great listener is. Incredible…Super Ideas…Key Leader Rocks!” —Student evaluation

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  • Needy students inspire Builders Club

    The Warrenton Grade School Builders Club in Oregon has a reputation for helping others in its community. Its members take part in a Help a Senior Citizen Day and assist its sponsoring Astoria-Warrenton Kiwanis Club with a garage sale fundraiser and cleanup projects at Kamp Kiwanis on Mt. Hood.  This past school year, though, Builders Club members turned their attention to crucial needs facing some of their fellow students.

    “Earlier this year, one of our Builders Club members on a Monday expressed concern that another student had told her he had not had anything to eat since he left school the previous Friday,” says Kate Gruetter, faculty advisor and member of the Astoria-Warrenton club. “She said, ‘If he is that way there must be more students in the same predicament.’”

    The Builders did some investigating—including talking with school administrators—and discovered there are at least a dozen such families in the school district. To help them, club members voted to spend some of the money the club had raised to buy each family a bag of nutritional food, at a cost of about $55 per bag. 

    By spring break, the number of needy families reached 30, so club members voted to provide each family a week’s supply of food. Club members also started assembling weekend buddy bags to send home with the kids every Friday for the rest of the school year.“This has to be the most outstanding Builders Club in the U.S., insists Emil Nyberg, the club’s Kiwanis advisor.

    If your Builders Club has a story to share, send us an e-mail.

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  • Students join Kiwanis club in service to community

    The Kiwanis Club of St. Johns 707, Michigan, gained 22 hard-working helpers earlier this year. That’s the number of students at St. Johns Middle School who were inducted into a newly chartered Builders Club the Kiwanis club is sponsoring. And according to Becky Maleski, faculty advisor, the Builders were quickly introduced to selecting and implementing community-service projects at the school and throughout the community.


    One of the first projects completed by the two Kiwanis-family club was a pancake breakfast at Applebee’s, raising  $2,000 to help pay an outstanding balance owed on the construction of the Veterans’ Memorial in downtown St. Johns.  The fund raiser was a huge success for local veterans, as well as Kiwanis and the Builders Club members.  

    St Johns Builders Club 

    A check for the payoff was presented to Dale Brown, (photo, rear left) and Dennis Scott (rear right) during a recent Kiwanis breakfast meeting.  Builders Club members there for the presentation were, from left, Josie Sillman, Jenna Sillman, Kylie Hollis, Erin Briggs, Bree Gaffney, Hannah VanValkenburg, Katherine Harry, Zack Bouck and Becky Malaski.  The charter presentation was conducted January 29, and included representatives from the Kiwanis club and the Kiwanis district.


    If your Builders Club has a story to share, send us an e-mail.

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  • Whew! Our Builders have been busy

    St. Mary's Builders Club Group Photo

    The Builders Club at St. Mary School, Bordentown, New Jersey, started its second year with a few repeat projects from the past year:

    • The club sponsored a dress-down day to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research. Club members also walked the streets of Bordentown, distributing pink ribbons to raise awareness of the disease.
    • The club also followed up last year's “Souper Bowl” with a “Cereal Bowl” food-collection drive. The club donated over a thousand canned goods to the parish food pantry from last year’s event. This year they donated boxes of cereal and other boxed nonperishables. 

    The club then entered its busiest season though. After the very successful Mother/Son Dance, we moved on to do several events:

    • During the spring, the club raised funds through the sale of Earth Day shirts and invested that money—and their time—in the school beautification project.
    • The second annual Easter Egg Hunt was a fun, family event that raised money toward this year’s Builders Club scholarship for an outgoing 8th grader.
    • The club also planned its first ever Mother's Day Tea Party, honoring moms, grandmas, aunts and other significant ladies. Students are volunteering for the Sesame Place Run, coordinated by our sponsoring Kiwanis Club of Levittown-Bristol, Pennsylvania.
    • Plans are in the works to stencil a 20-foot by 30-foot U. S. map on the playground, something students can enjoy for years to come. And members are planning a luncheon for the teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Week.  

    Another huge event, the Father/Daughter Dance—“A Knight to Remember”—is  coming up soon. An Autism Awareness Project for the school is being headed up by one of our students, MaryAnn Murtha, and will occur during Autism Awareness Month. Also planned: the “Change War, raising funds for a good cause. At this time of year we make a monetary donation to a charity that makes a difference.  

    Elections for our 2009-2010 Builders Club board members was set for May, with leadership training to begin with our Kiwanis sponsors before school's end. And the club will be keeping up with its regularly scheduled events: the after-school reading hour, the collection of can tabs for Ronald McDonald House and visits to play BINGO with the residents of Clare Estates. 

    And finally, the club will celebrate with a yet-to-be-determined social, after a great year of achieving its goal: building competent, capable and compassionate leaders by helping them learn to help others!

    Contact information:
    St. Mary School
    30 Elizabeth Street
    Bordentown, New Jersey 08505
    Faculty advisor: Jen Vare (
    Kiwanis advisor: Jill Gilardi (

    If your Builders Club has a story to share, send us an e-mail.

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