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  • Card-making service project idea

    Craft homemade cards with your K-Kids to show appreciation for school staff or members of the community, such as the elderly, members of the military, or those in the hospital. Before gathering supplies, find out which materials will be allowed in the organization to which you donate. For instance, some hospitals do not accept cards with glitter or latex.

    Once you are familiar with the organization’s permissions, gather items to decorate cards, such as stickers, hole punches, pencils, markers, pens, paint and paintbrushes, glueable accessories, and more. Encourage K-Kids to be as creative as they can while decorating and personalize their messages. Once finished, deliver the cards to your group of choice.

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  • What K-Kids Kiwanis advisors should know about elementary school teachers

    A teacher’s job is not easy, but it’s very rewarding. Some of the tasks that make it challenging are filling out paperwork, detailing lesson plans and trying to reach and teach each and every child even though they are all very different. Teachers are too caring to leave anyone behind, which is why we get stressed in our careers. We care for each child as if they are our own and we want them to succeed more than anything. We will do whatever it takes to make sure every student has a voice and tries their hardest to reach their goals. No matter what obstacle is thrown our way, we will push through and make sure we stick to the curriculum map.

    Not all schools are fortunate enough to have support in areas like behavior management and rewarding students who have achieved their academic goals. This is where your Kiwanis club can help. The Terrific Kids program rewards students for great behavior and the BUG (Bringing Up Grades) program rewards students for growing academically. These programs empower these young minds and acknowledge their great work.

    Having a K-kids club is a great way for schools to serve the community service and create young leaders. K-Kids share their enthusiasm with other students and foster a spirit of community in their schools. Simply asking a school what it needs could open the door for community service for your Kiwanis club. Teachers will be so thankful for the smallest acts of kindness, and they may even show interest in joining your Kiwanis club.

    Some creative teacher appreciation ideas include:
         1. Container of Starburst candy with printable “You’re a STAR
         2. Lantern or light with printable “Thank you for being a LIGHT in the
             life of a child”
         3. Oven mitt with a package of cake or cookie mix with printable
             “I have to AD-MITT you are a SWEET 
         4. Fruit-filled basket and fruit dip with printables:
             “You’re pretty much PLUM perfect”
            “You’re awesome to the CORE”
            “I think you’re GRAPE”
            “I’m BANANAS about your class”
            “Relax and take a DIP”

    Thank you for the support you have given teachers and I encourage you to thank your faculty advisors for taking on an extra role to make sure the children of the world are on the right track.

    With Kiwanis Family love,
    Krystal Laudicina
    Moody Elementary 4th grade teacher and K-Kids advisor

    For more teacher appreciation ideas, check out K-Kids on Pinterest!

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  • Developing the next generation of service leaders

    Making a difference in your school and community is what K-Kids is all about. Club members identify needs and develop a plan of action to meet those needs. Foster self worth by encouraging members to reflect in the classroom and the community. These project ideas will get you started.

    Help K-Kids members become more mindful and reflect on positive aspects of their lives by creating a gratitude jar. Check out K-Kids on Pinterest for printable decoration ideas. Distribute strips of paper to K-Kids so they may write what they are grateful for. Allow members to add to the jar as often as they would like. Decide how often the jar should be opened to reflect on entries—for example, at the end of each week or at the end of the school year. Mix up the entries by using a prompt from time to time, like “I love _______ because _______” or “I'm proud of _______ because _______.”

    Help the club create positive posters or daily announcements to share with the the school. Allow each member to create his or her own poster or allow the club to create them as a group. Ask permission to hang the posters in busy areas of the school where people are more likely to see them. Check out how a middle school in Taylor Mill, Kentucky, started a movement to uplift others with powerful quotes. Decide how often the club will contribute to daily announcements and brainstorm messages of encouragement. If a principal or other adult normally handles the announcements, ask if a K-Kids member may be allowed to cover only the positive messaging portion.

    Beautify an empty indoor space in your school or community by creating a wall of happiness. Using blank index cards, encourage K-Kids members to write what makes them happy. For smaller spaces, allow students to write multiple entries per card. For larger spaces, use one card per entry. Encourage members write in different colors to brighten the wall. For a more advanced project, bring in magazines and newspapers to allow members to cut out and paste images in addition to writing their own words. Once members are finished, display the index cards in either a simple grid or a unique pattern designed by them.

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  • A rewarding profession

    By: Faye Snodgress
    Executive Director
    Kappa Delta Pi 

    The role of the educator has never been so important. The demographics in many schools reflect the great melting pot of our society. In the fall of 2014, the overall number of Latino, African American, and Asian students in public K–12 schools surpassed the number of non-Hispanic European Americans for the first time. In addition to a thorough knowledge of their subject areas and teaching methods, today’s educators must have the skills to relate to diverse students.

    But some students bring more than just diversity to school. Some also bring deeply troubling problems. For example, one out of five children in the U.S. goes to school hungry—as the number of children living in poverty has increased to more than 15.3 million. The physical, emotional and cognitive needs of these children require schools and classroom teachers to provide multiple levels of support. However, many school districts with high levels of poverty can’t fully fund the very programs their students need.

    At the same time, the focus on standardized tests and, in many states, the link between teacher pay and students’ test scores have contributed to many teachers’ feelings of loss of autonomy and valuable instructional time. It’s no surprise that up to 50% of newly hired teachers have left the profession by their fifth year, and that the number of college students pursuing degrees in education has dropped by 35% nationally.

    So why do teachers return to their classrooms day after day—despite the legislative mandates, lack of support and other pitfalls? Because no profession is more rewarding. Nothing compares with the pride and newfound confidence in the eyes of a student who has just read his or her first word after a long struggle to develop literacy skills. For a teacher, moments like these—when a student gains a new skill or connects to a new idea or concept—inspire an intense sense of joy and accomplishment. Where else can a professional find an opportunity to change lives every day?

    In the words of entertainer Danny Kaye: “The greatest natural resource that any country can have is its children.” Teachers have the power to magnify the impact of this vital natural resource. Through education, students discover their potential to make a difference in the world. To be the one who guides that personal discovery is to be a part of something magical and profound at the heart of a noble profession.

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  • Introducing Kiwanis International staff

    Lisa Pyron was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and attended Ball State University to earn her bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations. She has experience working with various associations, and attended the 1984 Kiwanis International Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, as the talent agent who made travel arrangements for Jim Nabors.

    Today, Lisa is a Member Engagement Specialist at Kiwanis International. She manages multiple websites for Key Club International, Builders Club and K-Kids; coordinates contest and award judging and recognition; coordinates renewal kit materials for K-Kids and Builders Club; and develops resources that encourage community building, bully prevention and mindful education.

    “According to the newest research, conducting community service with a group of people improves the overall well-being of the individuals doing the good deeds,” Lisa says. “I truly feel that I’m making a difference working at Kiwanis. I’m helping young people become more accepting, caring, compassionate people. Who wouldn’t want to do this? I have my dream job.”

    Lisa is a Kiwanis member and a K-Kids Kiwanis advisor. She enjoys spending time with her husband Dennis, son Maxx, daughter Kelsey, and family pets: a great dane, four cats and five rats. She is passionate about K-Kids, mindfulness, advocating for individuals struggling with mental illness and suicide prevention.

    Lisa’s hobbies include playing the ukulele and guitar, crocheting, origami, watching international TV programs, listening to audiobooks and thrift store shopping. She is pictured above with her good friend Marty, who plays the ukulele with her every year at college gatherings.

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  • Scholastic Book Fairs Classroom Wish Lists

    Help teachers’ dreams come true!

    Giving students access to good books—both fiction and nonfiction—increases time spent reading by up to 60 percent and improves reading performance. The best way to create this type of environment is for every classroom in every school to have a well-stocked, regularly refreshed library—regardless of subject matter or grade level.

    Unfortunately, many teachers struggle to maintain an adequate classroom library. All around the country, teachers are being forced to do more with less. Last year, teachers spent an average of about US$500 of their own money on supplies and books for students.

    The Scholastic Book Fairs® Classroom Wish List program makes it possible for teachers to have well-stocked libraries for their students. It’s an easy and highly effective way for K-Kids clubs (along with their sponsoring Kiwanis clubs) to help teachers build their classroom libraries.

    How it works:
    Elementary and middle schools across the country host Scholastic Book Fairs each year, some even hosting book fairs multiple times a year. The book fair is like a rolling bookstore. With more than 400 titles, students can choose books that are of interest to them. The book fair, which is hosted at the school, is open to students and their families for about a week. Scholastic also offers the school an “online” version of their book fair, which features even more titles and allows friends, relatives and the community to buy books for students and teachers from the convenience of their desktop computer or mobile device. The online book fair opens a week before the on-site book fair and closes the week afterward, for three weeks total.

    Kiwanis Service Leadership Programs advisors and their students will meet with their school’s teachers to create a wish list of books they want to add to their classroom libraries. Once the list is created, they will be provided a unique web link to share with families, friends and the greater community. The list also gives parents and community members a meaningful way to demonstrate the importance of reading and making a contribution to others.

    Want more? Here are downloadable resources to get started:
    If your club participates, please notify Elizabeth Warren, Manager, Corporate Relations of Kiwanis International. 

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  • Win a party with #KKidsGive

    In K-Kids clubs worldwide, more than 35,000 young leaders are learning leadership through service. They're taking on the responsibility of running a K-Kids club as they plan and participate in community service projects. They serve their schools. They raise funds for their communities. They advocate for others.

    K-Kids is the largest service organization for elementary school students and members are changing the world around them. Through service and leadership opportunities, K-Kids are giving back to make the world a better place.

    Now through February 29, 2016, K-Kids advisors and school staff members can show how their K-Kids club regularly gives a helping hand, raises awareness of an issue or gives money to a cause simply by sharing photos on Facebook and Twitter. Remember, all individuals photographed should have a completed photo release form that’s on file with the school or K-Kids club before their photos are shared with the public.

    Each time a K-Kids advisor or school staff member tags @KiwanisKids and uses the hashtag #KKidsGive with a photo showing their club giving back to the community on Facebook or Twitter, the club will earn one entry for a chance to be one of two random winners of a US$100 Visa gift card to use to celebrate with a party of their choice.

    The following criteria are required for each entry:
            -  Post on Facebook or Twitter
            -  Tag @KiwanisKids (Facebook and Twitter)
            -  Use the hashtag #KKidsGive (Twitter)
            -  Include a caption describing the picture 
            -  Photos should only be posted by K-Kids advisors or school staff 
            -  Include at least one photo of K-Kids project or event (up to 4 
               photos per entry)
            -  Photos must be tasteful and be of good character
            -  All individuals photographed should have completed a photo
               release form on file with the school or K-Kids club before 
               their photos are shared with the public

    Winners will be announced on Friday, March 4, 2016!

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  • Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF: It's time to celebrate!

    You did it! Thanks for making 2015 the best Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF year yet. Your K-Kids club saved the lives of moms and babies because you chose to collect coins instead of candy. Now it’s time to celebrate! Announce your accomplishment to the school. Hold a pizza party or ice cream social to recognize your club members’ contribution to eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus. Give members certificates for their hard work. And don’t forget to send in your hard-earned funds to receive recognition for your work.

    Send a check or money order (payable to the Kiwanis International Foundation) for at least US$250, along with your completed gift form by December 31 to be eligible for a 2015 Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF banner patch. Funds should be mailed to:

               The Eliminate Project: Campaign Office
               Kiwanis International Foundation
               P.O. Box 6457 - Dept. #286
               Indianapolis, IN 46206
               ATTN: Trick-or-Treat
               Write the club name or club number on the memo line of the

    It’s important to send your check directly to the Kiwanis International Foundation so we can keep track of all funds raised by Kiwanis-family clubs.

    What’s next? If your club loved being a part of the worldwide effort to raise funds for The Eliminate Project, mark your calendars for Eliminate Week, May 2–6, 2016. Kiwanis-family clubs around the world will focus for the final time on raising funds and awareness for The Eliminate Project, just in time for Mother’s Day!

    Thanks again for being a part of our worldwide effort to change history and save lives. You are making a difference!

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  • Teaching service through fundraising

    Fun fundraisers, small and large
    A major component of K-Kids clubs is fundraising. When members fundraise to sustain future service projects, they feel more invested in those projects and in the club altogether. If you’re looking for new ideas for how to raise money, we’ve got you covered.

           1. The spelling bee. Decide the age group of the participants. 
               Promote the event around school and in the community. 
               Encourage interested participants to form teams and pay to 
               compete. Require teams to name their group and give 
               incentives to come to the competition in costume. Charge a 
               small fee at the door for spectators to root for their favorite 

           2. The cook-off. Decide how food will be served (on plates or 
               in smaller containers like cups). Invite parents and other 
               adult supporters to sign up to cook a dish from various 
               regions of the world. Promote the international food tasting 
               event around school and in the community. Charge a fee at 
               the door for tasters to enter and allow attendees to cast their 
               votes with their wallets. Check out these iconic dishes from 
               around the world for inspiration.

           3. The consignment sale. Ask everyone in your school and/or 
               members of the community to donate gently used or new 
               items. Promote popular or valuable donated items as the 
               event gets closer. Give those who donated items an incentive 
               to shop at the sale and bring their friends by giving them a 
               small discount. Charge a small fee for all shoppers to enter. 
               Consider asking local businesses to provide additional 
               coupons to every person who makes a purchase.

           4. The penny war. Each team decorates a container to collect 
               coins. Use two-liter soda bottles or five-gallon water jugs so 
               you can see what you’re earning. Print the name of the class 
               or grade and teacher on the container. Students bring pennies 
               to school and donate to their team’s container. They receive 
               one point for each penny placed in the container. Students 
               can sabotage the progress of the other teams by placing silver 
               coins (nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollars) in their containers. 
               Each silver coin subtracts points from that container. A nickel 
               subtracts five points; a dime subtracts 10 points, and so on. 
               Check out this penny war toolkit for more info.

           5. The dance-a-thon. Determine where the event will be held. 
               Raise funds through pledges (for every hour danced), direct 
               donations to the event, or by charging each dancer a set 
               amount to enter. Ask local businesses to donate prizes to be 
               given away throughout the dance. Prizes can be awarded for 
               best costume, most money pledged, or at random. If the event 
               lasts several hours, make sure there is plenty of water available 
               and take advantage of the opportunity to sell food and drinks. 
               Consider periodic breaks to keep dancers happy and use down 
               time share your fundraiser in conjunction with the #KKidsGive
               contest. Need more info to get you started? Check out this
               to-do list.

    Want more ideas? Download the fundraising ideas book for SLPs to share with your club. If your fundraisers are successful, share your results! Contact Kelly Wallace for a chance to be featured internationally. Be sure to include details of the experience, photos of it in action and personal quotes from members.

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  • Introducing Kiwanis International staff

    Nicole Harris was born in Avilla, Indiana. She is a former Circle K member and is a current Kiwanian. Most recently, Nicole was the 2014-15 president of the Kiwanis Club of North Central Indianapolis.

    As the Member Engagement Specialist, Nicole handles Key Club social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat), writes and sends Key Club weekly emails to members and manages Youth Opportunities Fund grants.

    “It’s amazing to work with individuals who disprove the common generalization that youth today are too self-centered and don’t care about their communities,” Nicole says.

    Nicole earned a bachelor of science with a major in arts management and a minor in business from Ball State University in 2012. The two things she loves most are her cat, Luna, and pizza. In her spare time, Nicole does freelance design and photography.

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