Kiwanis International is a global organisation of volunteers dedicated to serving the children of the world one community at a time.
Chartered on January 21 1915 by a group of businessmen in Detroit Michigan, USA, Kiwanis became an international organisation with the founding of the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton Ontario, Canada, in 1916. This organisation expanded across the United States and Canada and, in the 1960s, a worldwide expansion by club formations was approved.
Kiwanis tells a story of good fellowship, camaraderie, and wholehearted service to communities in need worldwide.
While the new organisation’s founding years were focused on fellowship and fraternity, it quickly developed into one of service and the name Kiwanis, from the Indian phrase – “NunKeewan-is” was adopted, which means, “We have a good time – we make noise.”
The word Kiwanis has also been taken to mean, “we trade” or “we give our talent.” In every sense of the word, Kiwanis gives.
In its early years, Kiwanis International was led by the motto, “we build”. This certainly reflected the organisation’s growth and the work of its volunteers to truly becoming a global force.
In 2005, during its 90th anniversary year, Kiwanis adopted a new motto to emphasise what had become the organisation’s primary focus: “serving the children of the world”.
There are presently two clubs actively serving children in Antigua and Barbuda, one child at a time: one community at a time. They are theKiwanis Club of St John’s Antigua and the Kiwanis Club of Wadadli Young Professionals.
The Kiwanis Club of St John’s Antigua was chartered on August 15 1997 by the late, distinguished President Everett F Lake.
Over the last 24 years, the Kiwanis Club of St John’s Antigua has, by its dedicated members, served communities in Antigua and Barbuda through various projects and initiatives. To name a few, the club of St John’s has taught hundreds of children in preschool and primary schools proper dental hygiene as well as distributed dental supplies and first-aid kits.
Pre-schoolers have also benefited from programmes such as the Toddling to Reading, geared at introducing children to the art of reading and promoting literacy in communities. Other projects include school feeding and food basket distributions to families with children in need.
In 2017, the St John’s club launched the Everett Lake Scholarship Fund to assist as many students as possible with back-to-school supplies. In April 2019, the St John’s club dedicated itself to ensuring that it brings awareness to child abuse and its prevention. This is done through various activities during the month of April, which is recognised worldwide as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month.
The Kiwanis Club of Wadadli Young Professionals was established on January 18 2014, after a move to reform a previously formed Club – Kiwanis Club of Wadadli. As the name suggests, the club comprises young and aspiring professionals bounded by love for service.
Since its inception, the Club of Wadadli Young Professionals has completed various projects and activities to assist the community with children at the forefront.
Signature projects include the Kool Kidz Drive – providing pre-schoolers with school supplies every quarter; the Baby Bean Project – providing mothers of the first baby born on a holiday with a hamper of new-born baby supplies; and the Fiennes Institute Feeding Project.
Internally the club assists its members in their overall growth and development. At 19 members strong, Wadadli Young Professionals’ Kiwanis Club continues to expand its efforts in service to local communities through partnerships and membership growth.
Together, the Kiwanis Club of St John’s Antigua and the Kiwanis Club of Wadadli Young Professionals work to fulfil Kiwanis International’s mandate by various initiatives, partnerships, and activities.
Together these clubs say, happy 106th anniversary Kiwanis International; it is a privilege to be a part of such an esteemed organisation.
To learn more about Kiwanis International and the clubs in Antigua, visit Kiwanis.org.