It’s the next generation of civic organization: Kiwanis 2.0.
After a two-year hiatus, the well known international civic organization again has a branch in Ottawa, and will soon be back to doing Kiwanis things, according to the club’s president.
“Overall, we’re here to help kids here in Ottawa, in the state, and around the world,” said Tim Matthias, Ottawa fire department chief and Ottawa Kiwanis 2.0 president. “We are a part of Kiwanis International.”
The club unchartered and donated its remaining $30,000 to worthy causes in 2016 amid declining and aging membership.
“Kiwanis clubs typically sponsor the Key Club at the high school, and the Builders Club at the middle school,” Matthias said. “When [Ottawa Kiwanis] disbanded, those two clubs were taken up by the Lawrence Kiwanis club.”
The Kiwanis’ state authority decided refounding Ottawa’s branch was key to supporting area youngsters.
“They looked at those clubs without a home Kiwanis club, and Ottawa was a priority,” Matthias said.
The Kiwanis Kansas president, along with members of other area Kiwanis clubs, began the process of recruiting new members to re-found the group. The process culminated with an organizational meeting at Ottawa High School, and then a chartering meeting last Saturday evening at First Baptist Church, Ottawa.
“It went very well. We had roughly 30 people there, with most of our members in attendance,” Matthias said, adding the group also enjoyed support from area Kiwanis clubs. “We had folks from other Kiwanis clubs — the Lawrence Club, El Dorado, Gardner, Kansas City, Junction City, and elsewhere.”
The group began with 23 charter members, and is now up to 26 members. Residents interested in membership can contact the group at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their facebook page.
The group has scheduled their meetings for noon on the first and third Wednesdays of every month at Smoked Creations, 222 E. Logan St., Ottawa, and plans to soon begin several projects.
“In Ottawa, we hope to continue the support of [the Key and Builder’s Clubs], and then we have a couple project in mind. One is working on community libraries — those little boxes on posts in the community that help exchange books,” Matthias said. Other programs will include supporting middle school children by awarding accolades that honor academic improvement.”
“And then there will be others [projects], like picking up trash on the highways and around town,” Matthias said. “We’ll pursue the general civic organization ideas.”
The group is slated to begin their first fundraiser soon — the sale of bedsheets. Contact the club by email or Facebook for more information.