Projects

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Projects and activities are the core of Kiwanis. Each year, the Okemos club works on a couple dozen projects to benefit kids, seniors and others in the local community. New projects are added on a continuing basis. Projects are identified and developed by club members. Here are a few of our favorites.

 

Weekend Survival Kit - This is a program to help needy kids, who qualify for school lunch programs in Okemos elementary schools, with food on weekends.

 

Christmas Party - This is a party jointly sponsored by Ingham County Probate Court for kids in foster families. Music, gifts and Santa provide good entertainment for kids and their families.

 

Special Needs Camp - Kiwanis supports the Okemos Special Needs Summer Camp which serves children in our area. Kiwanis provides scholarship funds and a fun day for the kids with its famous “dunk tank.”

 

Citizen of the Month - The Club annually honors 8 students from Okemos High School selected on the basis of their volunteer activities.

 

Dictionary Project - The Club purchases and distributes dictionaries to 3rd graders in Okemos schools.

 

Township Projects - The Club has provided the Meridian Township Parks and Recreation Department with scoreboards, trail-side benches, horse shoe pits, and flag poles – all built or installed by Kiwanis members.  Recent projects include improvement of the fishing pier at Central Park, construction of wood flowers for Harris Nature Center and significant financial support for construction of a “turtle” sculpture at Harris Nature Center.

 

School Book Project - The Club collects children’s books and provides them for two summer reading programs for elementary school students and for the weekend backpack program.

 

Many of our projects need money. We raise needed funds in several ways. This actually turns out to be fun!

 

Charitable Gaming - Several times a year we work at Tripper’s (East Lansing) under license from the State of Michigan to assist with activities in their poker lounge.

 

Peanut Days - Once a year, we hold our traditional peanut day “sale” at several local businesses. Kiwanis peanuts are not sold, but are given away with a smile in exchange for cash donations.

 

We also sponsor a Key Club at Okemos High School and Boy Scout Troop 125 (Okemos)

 

We have many other projects too. (Click to view our complete list).

 


 

Weekend Survival Kit

This is a program to provide weekend food for needy kids who qualify for school lunch programs in Okemos elementary schools.  The Club partners with other service clubs to prepare the food packages (a large plastic bag filled with approved staple products) and deliver them to designated schools.  The food preparation is an assembly line activity where 1000 food packages are generated in a couple of hours.  Deliveries to schools occur every two weeks and require one or two persons.

 

 

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Christmas Party

This is a party jointly sponsored by Okemos Kiwanis and the Ingham County Probate Court for kids in foster families. Music, gifts and Santa provide good entertainment for the kids and their families. Kiwanis provides the venue and organization along with cookies and coffee. We also purchase and wrap some of the gifts. The Key Club helps with crafts and face painting. Santa is the star attraction and every child receives a gift. This event serves 50-80 kids annually.

 

Kiwanians finished with wrapping presents for the kids

Kids get faces painted by Key Club members

Santa and his helpers are the star of the party

 

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Special Needs Summer Camp

Kiwanis supports the Okemos Special Needs Summer Camp which serves children in our area. Kiwanis provides camp scholarship funds and a fun day for the kids with its famous “dunk tank.” An annual donation of $500 supports scholarships for two students. An endowed fund established by a former Kiwanian supports two additional scholarships. About 4 Kiwanians help with the dunk tank set up and management. The kids and teachers get dunked; Kiwanians stay dry.

 

 

 

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Citizen of the Month

The Club annually honors 8 seniors from Okemos High School selected on the basis of their volunteer activities. A project first developed in the early 1980s, this program provides an opportunity to recognize excellent students who also have made volunteer activities a priority in their lives. Our club selects the honorees from more than 40 excellent applications; one student is honored each month during the school year. Each student invites a favorite teacher who is also recognized, and his or her parents. The student receives a certificate and a token honorarium. Students and parents tell us that this recognition is valued and appreciated.

 

 

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Dictionary Project

Every October, the Kiwanis Club of Okemos purchases and distributes dictionaries to the more than 300 third-grade children in Okemos schools. The children typically receive the books with enthusiasm, and many pen personal thank-you notes to the Club.

 

 

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Township Projects

The Kiwanis Club of Okemos has enhanced facilities operated by the Meridian Township Parks and Recreation Department in several important ways. We have purchased and installed flag poles in Nancy Moore and Hartrick parks and at the Harris Nature Center. Sturdy wood benches, hand crafted and installed by our members, are located on trails in several township parks. A set of risers was built for the Towar Recreational Center, a facility used by teens for after school activities. We recently screened in a porch at the Harris Nature Center and improved the fishing pier at Central Park.  In October 2012, we built colorful wood flowers on posts to entertain kids at the Harris Nature Center (the Center called this their “Bumblebee garden.”).  In 2013 we contributed substantially to the cost of a new “turtle” sculpture at Harris Nature Center large enough for the children to play on. These are just a few examples of what we do. Each year brings new opportunities to utilize our construction expertise for the benefit of the township. One does not have to be a master carpenter to participate. For years, the Kiwanis motto was “We build.” These projects continue that traditional theme.

 

 

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School Book Project

Our “Spring Book Collection” involves collecting new and used books to give to children between 2 and 10 years old. The objective is to make sure that elementary students have access to books in their homes that will foster enhanced reading skills along with a love of reading.  Contributors of books are the Elementary School families, High School students, Okemos Kiwanis Club, Senior Center and local libraries.  These books will be offered to eligible students in the programs listed below:

  • The summer Title I Academic Support Program at Central Elementary School, assuming there is funding for the staff.  The books are sent home, including books for their younger brothers and sisters, to ensure that books are available to read for pleasure.
  • The Okemos High School “Chieftain Champs Club” sponsors a mentoring program for elementary children after school. They will work with elementary children and select books for them to take home.
  • The Okemos Elementary teachers have agreed to put an appropriate book in the weekend survival backpacks as children take them home.  This happens every second Friday.  Our Kiwanis Club is a Key contributor to the backpack program.

 

 

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Charitable Gaming

Several times a year club members work at Tripper’s (East Lansing) under license from the State of Michigan to assist with activities in their poker lounge. We generally work a 3-4 day period, 3 times a year. On each working day, members work in pairs for shifts of 3-4 hours. The members sell and redeem chips, under careful supervision by the gaming management company. The Club receives a share of the profits. This activity provides a large share of the money needed to fund our projects.

 

 

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Peanut Days

Once a year, we hold our traditional peanut day “sale” at several local businesses. Kiwanis peanuts are not sold, but are given away with a smile in exchange for cash donations. Kiwanis members, adorned with hats and red aprons, “push” their wares to the public with a warm greeting and an invitation to support the many ways Kiwanis helps in the community. We usually staff our posts in 2-3 hour shifts during a 2-day weekend in the fall. In recent years, the Key Club members have also helped. It is also an excellent chance to answer questions about Kiwanis and to increase its visibility among the people we endeavor to serve.

 

 

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List of Current Projects (by category)

 

Kids

  • Dictionary Project (see above)

  • Weekend Survival Kit (see above)

  • Christmas party (see above)

  • Special Needs Summer Camp (see above)

  • School book project (see above)

  • Citizen of the month (see above)

  • Key club sponsorship - Okemos High School

  • Safety patrol picnic

  • Kids fishing day – Meridian Parks and Recreation

  • Kiwanis Law Enforcement Career Academy Program

  • Pre-kindergarten reading at Donley and Marble Schools (Club Satellite)

Community

  • Build projects – Meridian Parks and Recreation (includes projects completed in recent years)

    • Trail bench build and install (many township parks)

    • Flag pole purchase and install

    • Horseshoe pit build

    • Fishing pier improvement

    • Towar Recreation Center risers build and install

    • Towar Recreation Center carpetball table build

    • Harris Nature Center display easel

    • Harris Nature Center porch screening

    • Harris Nature Center wood flowers - build, paint and install

  • Meridian Park Services and Harris Nature Center support – camera, wheelchair, computer, turtle sculpture, and other items.

  • Golf Fest – Meridian Township Community Services benefit

  • Food baskets – Meridian Township Community Services

  • Food baskets – Military families

  • Meals on Wheels – deliver food to needy seniors

  • Blood drive – Red Cross bimonthly program

  • Music in Park support (Meridian Historic Village)

  • Community Band Shell support

  • Greater Lansing Food Bank: December and July contributions

 

Fundraising for our Projects

  • Salvation Army bell ringing

  • Charitable gaming (Reno's) (see above)

  • Peanut Days (see above)

 

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