Piqua Kiwanis celebrating 80 years

Staff reports

PIQUA — The Piqua Kiwanis Club was chartered and approved by Kiwanis International on Jan. 22, 1936. The club was sponsored by The Kiwanis Club of Covington, according to club historian, Larry Quigley. The local club will celebrate its 80th anniversary with a banquet for club members and invited guests on Monday, May 9.

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time. The name “Kiwanis” means “we trade” or “we share our talents” It was coined from an American Indian expression, “Nunc Kee-wanis.” Kiwanians are volunteers changing the world through service to children and communities. There are about 8,000 clubs in 96 countries with more than 260,000 adult members and 320,000 youth members.

The club has been involved with activities for youth in a variety of ways over its 80 years in the community. Programs included the first dental clinic for all Piqua school children in 1937, kids’ train rides to Troy in 1952, and the annual Halloween Parade, which was started in 1956 by Joe Thoma Jr. and is still part of the community activities today. Kiwanis has hosted Easter Egg hunts, erected Kiwanis road signs at entrances to the city, planted trees on Nicklin Avenue and in all city parks, built shelters at Upper and Lower Fountain Park and has helped with renovation work at Kiwanis Park (site of the former North Street School).

The Kiwanis Club is famous for its annual Pancake Day, a major fundraiser for the club each year. The initial Pancake Day was held in 1955, at Greene Street United Methodist Church. Today the event continues each year at the Upper Valley Career Center. The annual peanut and candy sale also generates revenues to fund youth activities throughout the year.

Kiwanis-sponsored youth groups are active within the Piqua City Schools: the Key Club (Piqua High School), Builders Club (Piqua Junior High School), K-Kids (Piqua Central Intermediate, Springcreek Primary and Washington Primary).

“Kiwanis is very proud to be involved with students at all grade levels in the Piqua City Schools. We promote leadership skills and student-initiated and student-led projects,” said Mark Reedy, chairperson of sponsored youth. “Our youth leaders are actively involved in the school and the community because of this,” he added.

“Service projects and activities are the heartbeat of our club,” said Larry Butt, current Kiwanis Club president. “We pride ourselves in our involvement in the community. Our donations help to support the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle and Summer Lunch Program, Piqua Civic Band, Piqua Chamber of Commerce Top 100 Banquet, City Spelling Bee, Relay for Life and Camp Courageous to name a few. Scholarships are also awarded each year to students at Piqua High School and Lehman Catholic High School.”

New members are always welcome and encouraged to visit the club at weekly meetings held each Wednesday at noon at The Bistro Room at 1876 Commerce Drive in Piqua. “Our programs are always informational and we encourage potential members to come for a visit and lunch,” said Brian Phillips, secretary.

For more information about club membership or meetings, please contact Brian Phillips at 778-1586.

Staff reports