Kiwanis Club of Forest City - London Profile
The name “Kiwanis” means “we trade,” "we come together," or “we share our talents,” coined from an aboriginal expression, Nunc Kee-wanis. The name has now become synonymous with volunteers changing the world through service to children and communities.
The first Kiwanis service club was organized in Detroit, Michigan on January 21, 1915, and launched internationally one year later with the establishment of the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton here in Ontario. Since that day, Kiwanis has become an international leader in serving the children of the world. Kiwanis is now found in more than 80 nations and geographic areas, with a membership of over 600,000 - volunteering 18.5 million hours and raising over $100 million annually.
The Kiwanis Club of London was chartered on November 30, 1920. In the decades that followed, this club sponsored other Kiwanis Clubs in London and in surrounding cities. The current Kiwanis Club of Forest City - London is the result of a merger in 2006 between the Kiwanis Club of Forest City and the original Kiwanis Club of London.
Since 1920, our local Kiwanis Clubs have been dedicated to supporting major projects such as the Kiwanis Seniors’ Community Centre, Kiwanis Park, Kiwanis Skateboard Plaza, Kiwanis Bandshell, Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario, and the Kiwanis Music Festival. Growing Chefs! Ontario also counts itself among the fortunate to have received ongoing support from the Kiwanis Club, serving as a natural fit to one of Kiwanis’ focus areas of helping youth and children to learn about agriculture. In the same vein, Kiwanis is also a member and supporter of the Western Fair (The recently announced title sponsor for Growing Chefs! School Food Education Project), and even provides a scholarship for youth in agriculture known as the Future of Agriculture Award. As well, Kiwanis makes dozens of contributions to other local organizations that help our community to flourish. Doug McGregor, past president of the Kiwanis Club of Forest City-London, explained that he sees their organization’s yearly contributions to 25 to 40 local organizations making a significant difference in the community.
Even on the world stage Kiwanis’ impact is significant. For example, Kiwanis International was approached by UNICEF in 2010 to assist in the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus (an infection that killed 49,000 newborns in 2013 alone) in the third world. Kiwanis International now has cash and pledges to meet their goal of raising $110 million to fund vaccines that will save the lives of endangered mothers and newborns. In just five years the Kiwanis Club of Forest City-London has exceeded its goal of raising $100,000 for the project.
Kiwanis has also recently made a contribution through United Way to enable London United for Refugees to provide a program for young refugee children to attend summer camp. These children, some of whom haven’t been able to attend school for years, have had the opportunity to experience Canadian culture, English, school environment, and social activities with new peers. Kiwanis has also contributed to Youth Opportunities Unlimited’s New Addition Campaign to raise money for a program for young mothers and their children. This program will give young mothers a safe place to stay, will teach them parenting techniques, skills in health and nutrition, and allow them to earn high school credits. Kiwanis is proud to be a major contributor to that project, and believes that it is going to make a big difference to London and hopefully encourage more support from other donors.
Growing Chefs! Ontario is honoured to count such an active and generous organization as the Kiwanis Club of Forest City – London among our sponsors for our School Food Education Project, which serves over 3,000 children at schools around the London area. Growing Chefs! is proud of its focus on children’s food education and commitment to helping connect children, youth and families with healthy local food. We are thrilled that Kiwanis recognizes the value of these goals.