Kiwanis Club of Sun City West, AZ
The Kiwanis Club of Sun City West, AZ is located in an active 55+ community containing 4 recreation centers, 7 golf courses and over 100 chartered clubs plus several service and charitable organizations that serve the northwest valley. Sun City West is located about 45 minutes from downtown Phoenix. The Club’s membership is diverse with members living in Peoria, Surprise and Wittmann as well as Sun City West. The Club membership meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month at 8 a.m. in the Quail Room of the Sun City West Foundation Building (14465 W. R.H. Johnson Blvd., Sun CityWest, AZ 85375).
Guests are always welcome to attend. Many Club meetings have guest speakers who provide information about their organization or business.
Kiwanis is a world-wide organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time. The organization is comprised of Districts, Divisions and Clubs. The Sun City West Club was chartered on November 28, 1979 by Kiwanis International. The Club was incorporated by the State of Arizona as a non-profit service organization on December 16, 1980 and filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission on May 6, 1981.
The Club on February 14, 1985 organized and incorporated a Foundation responsible to provide funding for the Club’s various service projects. The Foundation is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 charitable organization. All members of the Kiwanis Club of Sun City West, who are in good standing, are members of the Foundation. The Foundation raises funds for the Club from the general public through donations and various fundraising projects.
A Board of Directors, consisting of a President, President-Elect, Immediate Past President, Treasurer, Secetrary and 3 Directors, oversees the operation of the Club. All Club Officers and Directors (except the Secretary, which is an appointed position) are elected on an annual basis by the membership. The Foundation functions with a 7 member elected board of directors. The directors elect the officers of the Foundation from their number to the offices of President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secetary. The Club’s administrative year runs from October 1 to September 30. Current 2021-2022 Club Officers and Directors are: President, Mike Baker, President-Elect, Joe DeBlasi, Immediate Past President, Carole Bakken, Treasurer, Don Block, Secretary, Barbara Pitney with Directors being Dave Bakken, Jerry Friedler and Gordy Bostrom.
What We Do – Service Projects
The Kiwanis Club of Sun City West works with the Nadaburg and Morristown Elementary School Districts to provide service leadership programs as well as self-esteem building programs that award students for classroom achievements. The Club provides two programs – Terrific Kids and B.U.G. (Bring Up Grades) – for students ages 6 to 12. Working with classroom teachers, Club members award students selected by their teachers for accomplishing or reaching certain designated goals on a monthly basis. Certificates of Achievement, stickers and pencils are presented to the selected students. Each student also receives a photo of themselves holding their certificate. At the end of each school year, teachers participating in the Terrific Kids and B.U.G. programs select a boy and girl that best exemplifies the over-all qualities of each program. The Club then recognizes these students at an end of year school assembly by presenting them with a special certificate and trophy.
The Kiwanis Club of Sun City West also sponsors two leadership building clubs – Builders Club (www.buildersclub.org), exclusively for middle and junior high school students and Key Clubs (www.keyclub.org), the largest high school service club in the world. Builders Club are at Imagine Prep @ Surprise and at Paradise Honors Middle School. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a Builders Club at Desert Oasis Elementary school. The Key Clubs are at Imagine Preo @ Surprise and at Paradise Honors High School. Each student led club has a faculty advisor as well as a SCW Kiwanis liaison advisor.
Once the local schools return to normal operating hours, members of the Kiwanis Club of Sun City West will once again be mentoring students so they can improve their reading and comprehension skills. Prior to COVID-19, Club members mentored students at Desert Oasis Elementary School for 2 hours on Tuesdays during the school year. The State of Arizona requires that all students must be reading at a 3rd grade level before being promoted to the 4th grade.
Club members are aslo RIF (Reading is Fundamental) volunteers. During the months of January, February and March, volunteers read to all students in grades K-3 each month at Desert Oasis Elementary School. The Club’s Foundation purchases age-appropriate books from the Scholastic Warehouse in Phoenix for all students participating in RIF. After each RIF session, students are able to select a book to take home, thereby creating their own home library. Unfortunately, the COVDI-19 pandemic has forced the schools to cancel all RFI sessions until further notice. (www.rif.org)
During the holidays, Club members volunteer to ring the bell for The Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign. Money raised during the campaign stays with The Salvation Army North West Valley Corps to help those living in the Sun Cities and other surrounding northwest valley communities. https://northwestvalley.salvationarmy.org
How We Do It – Fundraising Events
The Kiwanis Club of Sun City West and its Foundation has partnered with See’s Candy for countless years to sell their candy for the holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas. See’s Fundraising arm allows charitable organizations to purchase quantities of their candies at discounted prices, thereby, allowing organizations to raise needed funds. This ongoing partnership has allowed the Foundation to raise monies to help children in the northwest valley. Besides staffing a table near a popular grocery store in Sun City West, the Club also sells at 4 residential centers (Grand View Terrace, The Heritage, Fellowship Square @ Surprise, and The Colonnade).
Ongoing COVID-19 related issues has caused the Kiwanis Club of Sun City West to postpone its annual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser until February 4, 2023. The Breakfast is held the first Saturday in February at a local church. Scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausages, orange juice plus coffee and tea are traditional menu items at the Club’s Pancake Breakfast. Raffle baskets can be won as well as some See’s candy products are usually available for sale.