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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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  • Sneak Peak: K-Kids Program Kit

    The K-Kids kits include great resources! Members will find materials to help make 2018-19 a memorable year. 

    Here’s a sneak peek at this year’s kits:


    • Member handbooks. Encourage students to refer to the handbook regularly. This year, it includes a calendar for planning events, and it’s handy for sharing information with parents. 
    • Member pins. Ensure members receive a pin so they can show their K-Kids pride. Designate a day each week (preferably club meeting day) for members to wear their pins at school.
    • Officer and advisor pins. In addition to the member pin, give each advisor and officer a pin to reflect his or her title. Host a club officer installation to honor new officers. 
    • Pledge poster. Help members remember the K-Kids pledge by hanging this poster in your club meeting room. 
    • Officer guides. These guides are designed specifically for each club officer role (president, vice president, etc.). Each guide is unique to a position’s responsibilities, but all are designed with the same basic structure—with job descriptions, tools to help plan or prepare, resources and helpful websites, and checklists of responsibilities. 
    • IDEA Toolkit. Encourage club officers to lead activities using this toolkit. Members will Identify the Need, Develop the Passion, Execute the Project and Advance the Impact of future community service projects using this resource. 
    • Table tents. Table tents include the title of each club officer to use during club meetings. Consider laminating them to keep them in good condition, or collect them after every meeting. 
    • Advisor guide. Created for both the faculty advisor and the Kiwanis advisor, this guide is filled with information and tips for supporting a K-Kids club. 



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  • Membership kits coming in September

    The 2018–19 membership kits will be mailed to all active clubs in September. To help ensure your club receives its kit with enough materials, reach out to the sponsoring Kiwanis club secretary and have them complete the following steps by August 31:

    1. Log into the Membership Update Center at www.kiwanis.org/login. Choose the Kiwanis club that sponsors the K-Kids club.

    2. Select the secretary dashboard icon from the menu on the left side of the screen. Scroll down to the Sponsorships section and select the pencil icon next to the K-Kids club that the club sponsors.

    3. Update club information. Confirm or update the membership count.

    4. Update the mailing address. Verify or update the mailing address (include the attention address line) to which the membership kit should be shipped. If a mailing address is not updated, the kit will be mailed to the Kiwanis club secretary.

    Repeat steps 2 - 4 for each K-Kids club that the club sponsors.

    WHAT WILL I RECEIVE IN THE K-KIDS PROGRAM KIT?
    The program kit includes essential tools to help you guide club members throughout the year. Learn more about the items included in each renewal kit.

    WHAT IF I NEED MORE MATERIALS OR HAVE QUESTIONS?
    If your K-Kids club has more members than provided in the member kit, supplemental kits can be ordered starting October 1 through the Kiwanis club’s secretary dashboard or from the Kiwanis International Member Services team at 317-875-8755 (worldwide) or 800-KIWANIS, ext. 411 (USA and Canada) or e-mail memberservices@kiwanis.org. Additional kits cost US$25 and include member materials for 25 members. Payment must be received before additional kits will be shipped.

    WHAT IF I ENCOUNTER ISSUES WHEN RENEWING ONLINE?

    Contact the Kiwanis International Member Services team at 317-875-8755 (worldwide) or 800-KIWANIS, ext. 411 (USA and Canada) or e-mail memberservices@kiwanis.org. We'll work with you to complete the registration process.

    Thank you for supporting K-Kids!


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  • Congratulations, contest winners!

    Hard copy submissions:

    • First place winner: Connolly K-Kids, New York district
    • Second place winner: Capitol Hill Montessori K-Kids, Capital district
    • Third place winner: Minisink Valley Intermediate K-Kids, New York district

    Online submissions:

    • First place winner: Batesville West Elementary K-Kids, Missouri-Arkansas district
    • Second place winner: Kimberly Elementary K-Kids, Georgia district
    • Third place winner: Gulf Shores Elementary K-Kids, Alabama district 



    Congratulations to:

    • Zuri of Capitol Hill Montessori K-Kids, Capital district
    • Shane of Batesville West Elementary K-Kids, Missouri-Arkansas district



    Congratulations to:

    • Faculty advisor Amey Watts of Pathways Academy K-Kids, Alabama district 
    • Faculty advisor Tameka Hanna of Saint Thomas More Primary School K-Kids, Bahamas district 
    • Faculty advisor Latia Spence of Saint Thomas More Primary School K-Kids, Bahamas district 
    • Faculty advisor Moss Antionette of Faithway Christian Academy K-Kids, Bahamas district
    • Faculty advisor Corlette Kerr of Xavier’s Lower School K-Kids, Bahamas district 
    • Faculty advisor Lesa Warrick of Capitol Hill Montessori K-Kids, Capital district 
    • Kiwanis advisor Jamie Morrison of Coats Elementary School K-Kids, Carolinas district 
    • Faculty advisor Francis Bilianis of Bowling Green School K-Kids, New York district 
    • Faculty advisor Angela Meyer of Freedom Elementary K-Kids, Ohio district
    • Faculty advisor Crystal Miller of Heritage Elementary K-Kids, Ohio district 
    • Faculty advisor Dr. Jessica Wilson of Granville Elementary K-Kids, Ohio district



    Congratulations to: 

    • J’Vonna of Saint Thomas More Primary School K-Kids, Bahamas district 
    • Vanessa of Cleveland Eneas K-Kids, Bahamas district 
    • Nastacia of Xavier’s Lower School K-Kids, Bahamas district
    • Daunte of Xavier’s Lower School K-Kids, Bahamas district
    • Jewel of Xavier’s Lower School K-Kids, Bahamas district
    • Allie of Carlin C. Coppin K-Kids, California-Nevada-Hawaii district
    • Asher of Capitol Hill Montessori K-Kids, Capital district 
    • Shane of Batesville West Elementary K-Kids, Missouri-Arkansas district
    • Hannah of Batesville West Elementary K-Kids, Missouri-Arkansas district 



    Congratulations to the following distinguished clubs: 

    • Gulf Shores Elementary K-Kids, Alabama district
    • Dawes Intermediate K-Kids, Alabama district
    • Pathways Academy K-Kids, Alabama district
    • St. Thomas More K-Kids, Bahamas district
    • Xavier’s Lower School K-Kids, Bahamas district
    • Progress Academy K-Kids, Bahamas district
    • Palmdale Primary K-Kids, Bahamas district
    • Adam Elementary K-Kids, California-Nevada-Hawaii district
    • Bear Mountain Elementary K-Kids, California-Nevada-Hawaii district
    • Madera K-Kids, California-Nevada-Hawaii district
    • Carlin C. Coppin Elementary K-Kids, California-Nevada-Hawaii district
    • Crest Elementary School K-Kids, California-Nevada-Hawaii district
    • Matthew Whaley K-Kids, Capital district
    • Bunnel Elementary K-Kids, Florida district
    • Finegan Elementary School K-Kids, K-Kids Club, Florida district
    • Suncoast Elementary School K-Kids, Florida district
    • Bunnell Elementary K-Kids, Florida district 
    • Oak Mountain Academy K-Kids, Georgia district
    • Peeples Elementary K-Kids, Georgia district
    • Willis Road Elementary K-Kids, Georgia district
    • Lexington Elementary K-Kids, Indiana district
    • Snacks Crossing Elementary K-Kids, Indiana district 
    • Sacred Heart Academy K-Kids, Michigan district
    • Walker Elementary K-Kids, Missouri-Arkansas district
    • Batesville West Elementary K-Kids, Missouri-Arkansas district
    • Berlin New Hampshire K-Kids, New England district
    • Willow Grove School K-Kids, New Jersey district
    • Cape May Elementary K-Kids, New Jersey district
    • West Sand Lake Elementary K-Kids, New York district
    • Minisink Valley Intermediate K-Kids, New York district
    • Grant Scholl K-Kids, Ohio district
    • Family Life Before & After Care K-Kids, Ohio district
    • Horace Mann K-Kids, Ohio district
    • Independence K-Kids, Ohio district
    • Walter Kidder Elementary K-Kids, Ohio district
    • Heritage Elementary K-Kids, Ohio district
    • Freedom Elementary K-Kids, Ohio district
    • Unity Elementary K-Kids, Ohio district
    • Crescent Harbor Elementary K-Kids, Pacific Northwest district
    • Verbum Dei School K-Kids, Phillipine Luzon district
    • Jackson Elementary K-Kids, Wisconsin-Upper Michigan district
    • Robbins Elementary K-Kids, Wisconsin-Upper Michigan district 

    Congratulations to the following honor clubs: 

    • Sandilands Primary K-Kids, Bahamas district
    • Dana Elementary K-Kids, Carolinas district
    • Elm Elementary K-Kids, Georgia district
    • Vienna Finley Elementary K-Kids, Indiana district
    • Northside Elementary K-Kids, Missouri-Arkansas district
    • Palmyra Elementary K-Kids, Missouri-Arkansas district
    • Kooser K-Kids, Nebraska-Iowa district
    • Miller Hill Sand Lake K-Kids, New York district
    • Lincoln Heights K-Kids, Pacific Northwest district 
    Reports will continue to be accepted until August 15, 2018. Any submissions after that date WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. 
    This list will be updated every Wednesday until August 16, 2018.






    Notice any information that needs to be updated? Let us know by contacting the Kiwanis International member services team at 1-800-549-2647 ext. 411 or email memberservices@kiwanis.org.

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  • Honor your club’s supporters

    Appreciation doesn’t need to be formal to be profound. Volunteers who feel noticed and appreciated are much more likely to keep supporting your club — and to spread the word about the work you’re doing. No matter how much people have helped your club, they all deserve recognition for their contributions.

    In the United States, there are a few upcoming opportunities:

    Here are some ideas to get members started:

    • Make a bulletin board. Decorate using a theme and incorporate the names and photos of all the volunteers who have supported the club. Take a photo of the bulletin board and incorporate it into club communications, such as a newsletter or social media channels.
    • Pick up the phone. Either individually or as a group, members can reach out to thank each volunteer. Record the call and show your sponsoring Kiwanis club. 
    • Put it in writing. Host a card-making meeting where members are encouraged to get creative. Use stickers, incorporate photos of past service projects, or craft pop-up art to make each thank-you note personal and meaningful.
    • Host a recognition event. Ask a local business to help sponsor a breakfast, lunch or award ceremony. It’s a great way to get help with hosting. Incorporate a public recognition aspect to mention volunteers’ specific contributions.

    Need more ideas? Check out the K-Kids Pinterest board for more fun and easy examples. 

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  • International Day of Happiness


    Why is happiness important? Because happy people are healthier, more resilient and kinder to others. The good news is that we can all become happier. In fact, science says we can re-wire our brains for happiness by conducting specific practices! Here are a few ideas:

    Happiness wall
    Hang butcher paper the length of a wall in a main corridor or in the cafeteria. Provide post-it notes and markers. Each student writes what makes him or her happy on the post-it note and places it on the butcher paper. 

    Happiness garland 
    During lunch in the cafeteria, provide markers and blank 8 ½ x 11 inch sheets of paper. Each student will draw what makes him of her happy. Hang a length of rope from one end of a wall to another in a prominent area. Use clothes pins, paper clips or tape to attach finished drawings to the rope. 

    Gratitude tree
    Hang butcher paper in a prominent area and have club members draw a tree trunk with branches on it. The tree should be drawn without leaves. Use green construction paper to cut out the shape of leaves. Cut enough leaves for each student at school. During each lunch hour, distribute leaf cut-outs and markers to students. Each student should write down one thing for which he or she feels grateful. After writing on the leaf, each student tapes it to the tree. Watch as the leaves of gratitude fill the branches of the tree!

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