Intro to Kiwanis
By: Anne Frances Owen ~
What is Kiwanis?
Kiwanis is an international organization of like-minded citizens who care about their communities. Our focus is on children, youths, and their families. Issaquah Kiwanis embraces this mission by identifying needs in the community and striving to ensure that local children have the health and tools they need to become all they can be. Our club raises funds to support other organizations caring for kids. Kiwanis helped initiate Tools4Schools, which provides backpacks and school supplies to those in need. We offer scholarships for swimming lessons, after-school activities, enrichment opportunities, leadership workshops, and academic excellence. We supply nutrition bars for hungry students, hospital dolls for sick children, and bicycle helmets for safety. During the pandemic, we focused on basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing for children and families most impacted by sudden unemployment.
Making a difference in Issaquah
The work of Kiwanis Club of Issaquah does not stop with children. We cook and serve free dinners at the Issaquah Meals Program. Our club sponsors these and many other activities:
- preserve and enhance Issaquah’s beautiful environment
- provide holiday gifts for senior citizens
- present gift baskets of household goods to new residents at Passage Point, a transitional housing complex for previously incarcerated individuals and their families
A recent project funded the design and permitting of a new all-access playground at Lake Sammamish State Park. The design became the impetus for state and community funding of the $1.15 million playground, which opened in 2016. Another project funded the stage at The Garage, A Teen Café. Located in central Issaquah, The Garage offers a safe place for teens to hang out after school.
Issaquah Kiwanis also contributes to Kiwanis International world service projects, which helped eliminate iodine-deficiency disorders and maternal and neonatal tetanus, saving hundreds of thousands of lives per year in developing countries.
It takes hard work
Making a difference takes hard work, and that means fundraising. But we have fun doing it! Kiwanis is known for its world-famous salmon barbeque, held during October Salmon Days. During the summer, you’ll find Kiwanis members cooking burgers and hot dogs at every Concert on the Green. Our spring fundraiser is Boots, Barrels, and Brews, a downhome social event that features a western band and line dancers. Car-wash tickets, auctions, and Flags on Front Street are among some of our other fundraisers.
Our sponsored affiliate clubs
In partnership with the Issaquah School District, we're very proud to sponsor service clubs at Issaquah High and Liberty High. Through Key Clubs and middle-school Builders Clubs, students develop leadership skills and learn the value of community service. In partnership with AtWork!, we also sponsor Aktion Club of Salmon Country, a service-minded club for adults with disabilities.