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  • Advisors Gather at the 2019 Kiwanis International Convention

    Kiwanis advisors to K-Kids and Builders Club will meet, share best practices and get tips and ideas from one another's experiences during an informal gathering taking place at the 2019 Kiwanis International Convention at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Join us on Saturday, June 29 from 8:30 - 9:20 a.m. in Yucatan 1. View the official convention schedule for more information. 



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  • What's next for graduating K-Kids

    Builders Club is the middle school program in the Kiwanis family. K-Kids can move on to this program if a Builders Club is established at the middle school. Talk with your sponsoring Kiwanis club to see if they sponsor a Builders Club and if not, ask them to consider establishing a club to welcome K-Kids members.


    Another option is to check the Club Information Listing report under Builders Club and find out if there is a chartered club in your school district.

    If your school district doesn’t have a Builders Club, help your sponsoring Kiwanis club tell local school administrators about the K-Kids club's impact and the need to continue the effort in middle school. After all, person-to-person communication is the best way to spread inspiration about youth programs.

    Use these resources that describe the skills Kiwanis Youth Programs develop.

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  • The skills kiwanis youth develop

    Our programs help club members develop important social and emotional skills that promote meaningful connections with self and others. Club members learn to be mindful servant leaders who pause and welcome each new experience with non-judgment and acceptance.


    There are four skill sets club members master through involvement in our programs. They include: social and emotional skills, growth mindset, habits of mind and happiness habits. Each skill set is highlighted below.

    SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SKILLS

    Self-awareness
    Accurately accessing one's feelings, interests, values and strengths/abilities, and maintaining a well-grounded sense of self-confidence.

    Self-management
    Regulating one's emotions to handle stress, control impulses and persevere in overcoming obstacles; setting personal goals and academic goals and then monitoring one's progress toward achieving them. The ability to express emotions constructively.

    Social awareness
    Taking the perspective of empathizing with others; recognizing and appreciating individual and group similarities and differences; identifying the following social standards of conduct; and recognizing and using family, school and community resources.

    Relationship skills
    Establishing and maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation; resisting inappropriate social pressure; preventing, managing and resolving interpersonal conflict; and seeking help when needed.

    Responsible decision-making
    Making decisions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, appropriate standards of conduct, respect for others and likely consequences of various actions; applying decision-making skills to academic and social situations; and contributing to the well-being of one's school and community.

    GROWTH MINDSET

    Youth who have a growth mindset are resilient and view failure as an opportunity to learn a different problem-solving strategy. They’re lifelong learners who don’t give-up when faced with adversity. Young people with a growth mindset learn to love challenges, learn from mistakes and value effort and lifelong learning. They’re also aware of their inner monologue and use self-compassion to promote a calm, clear perspective so that problem-solving and constructive action take place.

    HABITS OF MIND

    Cultivating habits of the mind in youth helps them effectively assess and solve complex problems. Club members learn these habits through their community-service efforts.

    These habits include:

    Persisting
    Persevering in task through completion: remaining focused. Looking for ways to reach your goal when stuck. Not giving up.

    Managing impulsivity
    Thinking before acting: remaining calm, thoughtful and deliberative.

    Listening with understanding and empathy
    Devoting mental energy to another person’s thoughts and ideas: Try to perceive another’s point of view and emotions.

    Thinking flexibly
    Being able to change perspectives, generate alternatives, consider options.

    Thing about your thinking (mindsight – understanding our inner voice)
    Being aware of your own thoughts, strategies, feelings and actions and their effects on others.

    Striving for accuracy

    Always doing your best. Setting high standards. Checking and finding ways to improve constantly.

    Questioning and problem-posing
    Having a questioning attitude: knowing what data are needed and developing questioning strategies to produce those data. Finding problems to solve.

    Applying past knowledge to new situations
    Accessing prior knowledge; transferring knowledge beyond the situation in which it was learned.

    Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision

    Strive for accurate communication in both written and oral form; avoiding over-generalizations, distortions, deletions and exaggerations.

    Gathering data through all senses
    Pay attention to the world around you. Gather data through all the senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight.

    Creating, imagining and innovating

    Generating new and novel ideas, fluency, originality.

    Responding with wonderment and awe
    Finding the world awesome, mysterious and being intrigued with phenomena and beauty.

    Taking responsible risks
    Being adventuresome; living on the edge of one’s competence. Try new things constantly.

    Finding humor

    Finding the whimsical, incongruous and unexpected. Being able to laugh at one’s self.

    Thinking interdependently
    Being able to work in and learn from others in reciprocal situations. Teamwork.

    Remaining open to continuous learning

    Having humility and pride when admitting we don’t know; resisting complacency.

    HAPPINESS HABITS

    According to neuroscience research, happiness is a skill set that can be learned. We can re-wire the brain for happiness by participating in specific activities and practices. Why is being happy important? When we’re happier, we think better, we connect more meaningfully with self and others, we retain what we learn, we sleep more soundly and we respond rather than react.

    The practices that help us grow happiness also help us develop empathy, compassion and kindness. Here are the 7 Happiness Habits based on neuroscience, positive psychology and mindfulness studies.

    Mindfulness
    Mindfulness, the ancient practice of focusing non-judgmental awareness on the present moment and thoughts, is increasingly recognized in today’s scientific community as an effective way to reduce stress, increase self-awareness, enhance emotional intelligence and effectively manage painful thoughts and feelings.

    Gratitude
    Research has found that gratitude can significantly increase your happiness and protect you from stress, negativity, anxiety and depression. Gratitude practice is one of the easiest ways to counter the brain’s negativity bias or the tendency to cling to the negative.

    Physical Wellness
    According to research, if you have a good sense of well-being, it’s easier to maintain good habits such as exercising, eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep. People with optimistic mindsets are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors because they perceive them as helpful in achieving their goals.

    Giving Back, Altruism
    Happiness and altruism are intimately linked. Doing good is an essential ingredient to being happy, and happiness helps spark kindness and generosity.

    Science suggests that how we spend our time and resources is as important, if not more important, than the amount of money we make. Giving to others releases endorphins, activating the parts of our brains that are associated with trust, pleasure and social connection.

    Authenticity, Vulnerability, Forgiveness
    What lies at the root of social connection? The ability to be vulnerable and courageous enough to be your authentic self. When you embrace an authentic and vulnerable stance to life, people will meet you there in that openness, allowing you to experience true connection.

    Forgiveness is a byproduct of living authentically and vulnerably. Forgiveness offers patient encouragement of growth. Practicing forgiveness not only benefits the person you forgive; research shows that it has tangible benefits allowing one to let go releasing anger and resentment.

    Social Connection, Empathy, Compassion
    When connection with others is present, it can boost mental and physical health and increase immunity and longevity. Our happiness depends on the happiness of those we are connected to. Science shows that through practicing happiness, we make those we meet happier. Happiness is contagious!

    Meaning, Purpose, Strengths, Success
    Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. Science has shown that, “The brain at positive is 31 percent more productive than at negative, neutral or stressed,” reports Shawn Achor, a happiness researcher and author of the Happiness Advantage. The type of work you do is key: Engaging in meaningful activity is a big indicator of happiness.

    LEARN MORE
    Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning
    Visit the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) to learn more about how social and emotional skills make a difference in a young person and their future.

    The Mindset Scholars Network

    The Mindset Scholars Network’s mission is to advance our scientific understanding of learning mindsets in order to improve student outcomes and expand educational opportunity. It conducts original interdisciplinary research, builds capacity for high quality mindset scholarship and disseminates the latest scientific knowledge through outreach to education stakeholders. Learn more about growth mindset here.

    The Institute for Habits of the Mind
    The Institute for Habits of Mind offers professional development through virtual media, workshops, consultations and conference. Learn more.

    Project Happiness

    Multiply the number of social and emotional skills club members learn by getting your happy on and using Key Club's Guide to Project Happiness. Learn more about integrating happiness into your life at projecthappiness.org.

    NBC News Education Nation – (Parents resource for Social and Emotional Learning)
    NBC News Education Nation has produced an online social and emotional learning toolkit for parents that offers a wide variety of resources and information. This toolkit can be used by anyone interested in helping young people attain these skills. Learn more at parenttoolkit.com.

    Make a mini-booklet and share about Kiwanis youth programs

          Mini-booklet

          Instructions to fold the mini-booklet

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  • Saying thank you in April

    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:

    Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 7 – 13, 2019
    Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, April 22 – 26, 2019
    Teacher Appreciation Week, May 6 – 10, 2019

    Here are 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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  • 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

    Best Video Sacred Heart Academy, Michigan 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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