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  • The importance of reflection

    We do not learn from experience. … We learn from reflecting on experience. ~John Dewey, American philosopher

    Reflection is a critical part of any service project. It gives members a chance to process what they learned from the experience and to think about what they can do moving forward. As an advisor, you may notice the impact of reflection in greater self-confidence, stronger problem-solving skills and an increased connection between members.

    There are many ways to encourage reflection. Here are three suggestions:

    Peer interviews. Members can pair up and ask each other questions about their experience and then share their answers with the group. The club can brainstorm interview questions or use this reflection guide.

    Presentation. The club can collaborate on a video or slideshow about their service project and present the slideshow to school administration, as well as the sponsoring Kiwanis club or the organization they served. Or all three!

    Journal. A personal or group journal encourages reflection at each stage of the service project (brainstorming, planning and execution). After the final entry, members can use journal notes to write an article — and submit it to the local or school newspaper.

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  • Congraulations to the best poster, essay and speech contest winners

    Congratulations to the best poster, best essay, and best speech contest winners.

    Best Poster — Minisink Valley Intermediate School, New York Kiwanis District
    Best Essay — Gulf Shores Elementary School, Alabama Kiwanis District
    Best Speech — Gulf Shores Elementary School, Alabama Kiwanis District

    If your club didn’t have an opportunity to participate in December, more contest opportunities are available. Submit entries by May 1, 2019, for the following recognition opportunities.

    Annual Achievement Award
    Kiwanis Children’s Fund Leadership Award
    Distinguished Club Officers
    Distinguished Advisors
    Best Scrapbook

    Visit the K-Kids contest page to learn more.

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  • Share gratitude on Valentine's Day

     

    Begin planning now and help club members celebrate gratitude during Valentine’s Day by thanking others. Work with club members to compile a list of all the people who help them on a daily basis. The list might include the bus driver, custodian, cafeteria workers, school nurse, school counselors, and teachers. Club members may also want to work together to make Valentine’s care packages filled with letters and drawings to send to nursing home residents or to military personnel serving abroad. 

    Be sure to provide opportunities for a discussion prior to selecting a project to help students develop a passion around appreciation and to connect this passion to the project. Going through this process with the club members allows them to discover their passion for giving and helping others. 

    Here are 25 + Valentine's Day crafts for kids that are sure to please. 

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  • Connect with Builders Club

    K-Kids puts students on the path to lifelong servant leadership. Help them stay on that path after elementary school. Encourage members to join Builders Club in middle school. In fact, get them familiar with the program now! We have ideas for making a lasting connection.

    Reach out to the Builders Clubs in your area and see if the two clubs can collaborate. Here are suggestions:

    • Share about Builders Club. Encourage K-Kids members to visit the Builders Club website and learn more about what Builders Club members do. 
    • Find Builders Clubs in your area and attend each other’s meetings. This is a great way for the two clubs to support each other and even combine their efforts as they make a difference in the community. When members are regularly in each other’s presence, the clubs can learn from each other and share ideas. Find Builders Clubs in your state/district.
    • Serve together. Encourage the club presidents to coordinate a project in which members from both clubs serve side by side. Check out Builders Club projects. This might spark ideas. 
    • Be social. A great way the two clubs can get to know each other is through fellowship. This can be something as simple as a pizza party or a tour of the high school. Plan an event during K-Kids week in February.  It’s an opportunity for elementary school students who are curious—maybe even a little nervous—about middle school to have a relaxed setting to explore and ask questions. K-Kids members should take the opportunity to ask Builders Club members what it’s like to be in middle school. Work with your members to brainstorm questions, so they go in feeling comfortable asking the teens about their experiences. 
    • Start a Builders Club. If there isn't a Builders Club in the middle school that graduating K-Kids members will attend, empower them by providing members with the resources to build one
    • Share your K-Kids/Builders Club connection. If your K-Kids Club successfully connected with a Builders Club, let us know what you did. Email kiwaniskids@kiwanis.org.


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  • Send your #TOT4UNICEF funds by December 31!


    Submit funds
    Thank you for joining the fight to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus! Once your club has collected all donations, send a check or money order (made payable to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund) and this completed gift form to:

    The Eliminate Project: Campaign Office
    Kiwanis Children’s Fund
    PO Box 6457 – Dept 286
    Indianapolis, IN 46206 USA
    ATTN: Trick-or-Treat


    It’s important to send your funds directly to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund. That way they can keep track of all funds raised. Remember, clubs that submit $250 or more will receive a special banner patch. Other recognition awards are also available.

    Celebrate
    And now that the hard work is done, share what your club did! Recognize members’ contribution to eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus with a certificate. Announce your club’s accomplishment to the school and your sponsoring Kiwanis club. Hold a pizza party or ice cream social. No matter how your club celebrates, share your stories with us at Campaign@TheEliminateProject.org, Facebook and Twitter—or mail your letters, drawings and photos to the campaign office at the address listed above.

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  • De-stress for better connection

    Stress is part of life. We can’t ignore it or run away from it, but we can learn to manage our response to stressors. When we do this we’re more optimistic, think more clearly, learn more effectively, feel more connected to others and are better at responding instead of reacting.

    Before we can learn to manage our stress response, we need to know what stress feels like in the body. Knowing this helps us recognize what’s happening so we can act. Take a moment to think about what you feel when experiencing stress. Does your heart race? Do you feel jittery or ill? Do you lose focus and shut down? Think about what situations evoke these feelings.

    Now that you know what to watch for, embrace the calm in these situations by doing one of the following practices based on Neuroscience, Positive Psychology and Mindfulness. Share these practices with club members to help them manage their stress.

    Name it to tame it
    Name the negative emotion you’re feeling out loud. Anger, Sadness, Frustration, whatever it might be – name it!
    Now take three calming breaths and say these words silently as you breathe. With each in-breath: “Peace.” With each out-breath: “Release said emotion.”

    Why it works
    Naming the emotion reduces the emotion’s impact. When we acknowledge emotions and release them we can experience the emotion without being overwhelmed or carried away by it. Even naming the emotion without doing the breathing works.

    Take three deep breaths
    Take a deep breath in through your nose, and release the breath slowly through your mouth. Do this three times. Notice how you diaphragm raises with the in-breath and falls with the out-breath.

    Why it works
    Deep diaphragmatic breathing with a slow exhale is key to stimulating the vagus nerve, activating the parasympathetic nervous system. It lowers stress, reduces heart rate and blood pressure and calms you down.

    Offer self-compassion
    We’re great at comforting friends when they’re having trouble, but what if we’re in a bad spot? Research says we resort to negative self-talk. Instead of belittling self over something that went wrong, offer self-compassion. Here’s how.
    Acknowledge your suffering. Example: “I feel really awful about this situation.”
    Acknowledge that suffering is part of life and that others experience this too.
    Be kind to yourself. Place your hand over your heart and say comforting words silently. Example: “It’s alright, I learned from this and will do better.”

    Why it works
    Using self-compassion turns off the fight, flight and freeze stress response that is triggered by negative self-talk. Offering words and actions of self-compassion and forgiveness calm the brain allowing the reasoning section of the brain (pre-frontal cortex) to come online.

    Be grateful

    List 10 things or people for whom you feel grateful. Either write it down or say this silently to self.

    Why it works
    When we think about why we’re grateful, our natural feel-good hormones — dopamine and oxytocin — are released in the brain. These hormones calm the brain and prime the neuropathways for better learning. This is a great practice to use for test taking anxiety.

    Recall happy times

    Think of a happy memory from an earlier time. Recall everything that happened and exactly how you felt at the time. Experience the happy emotions.

    Why it works
    When we recall happier times, we recreate all the good feelings from the event. We trick the brain into feeling happy and the feel-good hormones — dopamine and oxytocin — flood the brain, boosting our mood and calming us.

    Make someone smile
    Notice the people around you. Really see them. Is there something amazing you notice about someone near? Approach this person and give them a sincere compliment. A kind word from the heart.

    Why it works

    When you do a kind deed for someone else, you’re rewarded. Your brain is flooded with the feel-good hormones of dopamine and oxytocin. You feel more connected to the person you complimented, your mood is elevated, and you feel happy and calm. The great news is that the person you complimented experiences the same thing.

    Laugh out loud
    Laugh for no reason, without relying on humor, jokes or comedy. Just laugh out loud. Practice in the mirror in the morning or in the car before driving to school. This is just one of the laughing yoga practices. Learn about more laughing yoga at laughteryoga.org.

    Why it works
    Laughing tricks the brain into feeling happy and energized. The feel-good hormones dopamine and oxytocin are released, boosting your mood and calming the brain which relieves stress.

    Revisit the present moment (Body scan)
    Doing a quick body scan helps us check-in and affirm what we’re feeling. It can be done sitting or standing, with eyes open or closed anywhere you happen to be. Take a deep in-breath and relaxing slow out-breath. Place your attention at the top of your head noticing any sensations. Now move your attention down the body focusing on each body part. Finish by focusing attention on your feet and how they’re connected to the earth.

    Why it works
    Focusing on body sensations brings us back to the present moment. We leave all our worries and regrets behind to focus in the here and now through our senses. This is a mini vacation for the brain. A reboot that reconnects us with the current moment. This stress-relieving practice can be used any time but is especially helpful when trying to quiet the mind for studying or sleep.

    Learn mindfulness meditation
    Mindful awareness is paying attention in a specific way: on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment. We can learn this skill by practicing mindfulness meditation, a type of meditation that can be done anywhere at any time. Try these free guided meditations available from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center: http://marc.ucla.edu/mindful-meditations.

    Find your happy
    According to the newest scientific research about happiness, when we’re happier we manage our stress more effectively and bounce back quicker when faced with challenges and difficulties. Learn more about all the techniques mentioned here and check out resources to help in finding true sustainable happiness at www.keyclub.org/projecthappiness.

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  • Planning your Trick-or-Treat Outing

    Halloween is your club members’ chance to save lives and have fun—for less than the cost of a bag of Halloween candy. It’s easy to participate. Here are five simple steps to pass along to club members so they can plan their project:

    Pick a fundraiser. Collect funds door-to-door. Dance the night away alongside vampires and werewolves. Host a "trunk-or-treat." Enjoy an old-fashioned pumpkin pie bake-off. The ideas are endless. Click here to find a few!

    1. Set your goal. Estimate what you'll raise through your project. Then subtract your expenses. This is your fundraising goal.
    2. Get supplies. Do you have everything you need to host your fundraiser? Order collection boxes at the Kiwanis Family Store. Do you need decorations, food or costumes? Consider asking for donations from local businesses or even large chain stores. Don't forget to download these coloring pages that will help you track personal fundraising goals from home.
    3. Promote your event. Check out our social media graphics to promote your event online. Or make your own flier or display. Let everyone know about the upcoming event and how they can donate. And share the information with your sponsoring Kiwanis club. 
    4. Submit your donations. Send your donations to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund, along with the donation form. If your club submits US$250 Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF donations by December 31, 2018, your club will earn a banner patch.
    Thank you for helping the Kiwanis family eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus. For more information, visit our Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF webpage. Or email The Eliminate Project campaign staff.

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  • Kiwanis Youth Protection

    Together, Kiwanis advisors and faculty advisors play an important role in the protection of K-Kids members. It’s all part of providing an environment in which they learn to become leaders. 

    Faculty advisors to K-Kids are encouraged to read the Kiwanis Youth Protection Guidelines and share the school’s own youth protection policies with the sponsoring Kiwanis club.

    Kiwanis advisors to K-Kids are required to have a clear criminal history background check conducted and verified by Kiwanis International on file with the Kiwanis club, and to follow all school policies regarding youth safety. By offering a standard, comprehensive background check for all Kiwanis advisors, we can be confident that all Kiwanis clubs are protecting those we serve—and protecting Kiwanis members too. 

    If you do not already have a background check completed through Kiwanis International, contact your Kiwanis club’s secretary to update your information in the Kiwanis secretary dashboard of the Kiwanis online reporting system. Once your status is updated, you will receive an email with instructions on how to complete your background check.

    All background checks are kept confidential. Individuals will not be notified if the background check is clear. It will, however, be marked in the Kiwanis club secretary dashboard as clear.

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  • Suicide Prevention Month

    September is Suicide Prevention Month. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 41,000 individuals die by suicide each year in the United States, leaving behind their friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of loss. Learn about resources that can help raise awareness and prevent the loss of life.


    Resources

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  • The power of awe

    Researchers describe awe as "that sense of wonder we feel in the presence of something vast that transcends our understanding of the world." People commonly experience awe in nature. According to researchers, experiencing awe diminishes the emphasis on the individual self and encourages people to improve the welfare of others.


    Here's an easy way to introduce club members to the experience of awe. View nature up close and personal with the help of Explore.org's nature cams. That's right, club members can watch live nature cams in real time and watch gorillas in Africa, brown bears in Alaska, pandas in China, or bison in Canada.

    Club members can experience awe without leaving the classroom. Visit explore.org/livecams or download the Explore2Go app. Connect with the natural world by viewing wildlife in national parks, wildlife reserves, farm sanctuaries and animal rescues.

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