THE KIWANIS FAMILY

KIWANIS PROVIDES LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH THROUGH ITS SERVICE LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS.  KEY CLUB, CIRCLE K, BUILDERS CLUBS AND K-KIDS ARE PART OF KIWANIS SERVICE LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS.  THEY ARE SPONSORED BY A LOCAL KIWANIS CLUB AND RECEIVE FUNDING AND PROFESSIONAL GUIDANCE FROM KIWANIS.

Kiwanis is organized to serve children and youth using two approaches.  One aspect is to improve the quality of life directly through activities promoting health, education, etc.  The other encourages leadership and service among youth.  In pursuit of the latter goal, Kiwanis sponsors about 7,000 youth service clubs with nearly 320,000 youth members.

 

Kiwanis clubs decide for themselves what projects to do in their community, based on their own community's needs and their members' interests.  Service to children is a primary focus in Kiwanis.  Clubs are encouraged to conduct a community survey each year to determine what unmet needs exist in their community.  In some cases, clubs in a geographic region (a "Division" or "District") may take on a project of shared interest.

 

Service may be provided directly (e.g.  reading to children at the library or taking therapy dogs into seniors' facilities) or through raising funds in the community to meet a community need (such as building a playground).  Common fund-raising events include breakfast such as pancakes, peanut sales, or food concessions.  Areas of service may include assistance to those living in poverty, projects that benefit children and youth, and services for the sick or elderly.

 

KEY CLUB

Kiwanis founded and supports Key Club International.  Started in Sacramento, California in 1925, Key Club is the oldest and largest service program for high school students in the world.  As of 2010, Key Club has 250,000 members in 5,000 clubs in 30 nations, primarily in the United States and Canada, but with clubs also in Central and South America, Caribbean nations, Asia, and Australia.  KIWIN'S (pronounced "kee-wins"), a high school program exclusive to the California-Nevada-Hawaii district, operates under the umbrella of Key Club but elects its own officers.

GOVERNANCE

Kiwanis International is a volunteer-led organization headed by a Board of Trustees consisting of 19 members: 15 trustees, four elected officers, and an executive director.  The trustees serve three-year terms, with five trustees elected each year.  As set out in the Bylaws, nine trustees are elected from the United States and Pacific Canada Region, one trustee is elected from the Canada & Caribbean Region, two trustees are elected from the European Region, two trustees are elected from the Asia-Pacific Region, and one trustee is elected "at large" from any region other than the United States and Pacific Canada.

 

The elected officers included (in order of progression): vice president, president-elect, president and immediate past president.  These officers, along with the United States and Pacific Canada Region trustees, are elected at the annual convention of Kiwanis International.  All trustees and officers are unpaid volunteers.  The executive director is a full-time employee who is responsible for the organization's paid staff and serves as a non-voting member of the Board.

 

There are seven regions in Kiwanis: Africa; Asia-Pacific; Canada and Caribbean; Europe; Latin America; Middle East; and United States and Pacific Canada.  The United States and Pacific Canada Region incorporates the 50 states of the United States as well as British Columbia and the Yukon Territory of Canada.

 

There are fifty-three administrative areas called districts.  District boards typically consist of a governor-elect, governor, and immediate-past governor, secretary, treasurer, and several trustees or Lieutenant Governors.  Districts are further divided into service areas called divisions, comprising 5 to 20 clubs and headed by a Lieutenant Governor.  Clubs have boards consisting of a vice president (and/or president elect), president, immediate past president, secretary, treasurer, and typically about five directors.  At both the district and club level, secretary/treasurer may be combined by one person and may be a volunteer or a paid employee; all other positions are unpaid.

 

CIRCLE K INTERNATIONAL

The collegiate version of Kiwanis, which maintains some autonomy from Kiwanis, is Circle K International, also known as CKI.  The first official Circle K club was chartered in September, 1947 at the campus of Carthage College (then in Illinois).  As of 2010, Circle K membership is 12,600 members in 500 clubs in 17 countries, making Circle K the largest collegiate service organization of its kind in the world.

K-KIDS, BUILDER'S CLUB, AKTION CLUB, KIWANIS JUNIOR

K-Kids is intended for grades 4-5 in elementary school, and has a membership is 33,000 in 1,100 clubs in 8 nations.  Builders Club (middle school) has 42,000 members in 1,400 clubs in 12 nations.  Aktion Club (for people who have disabilities) has 8,400 members in 400 clubs in 7 nations.  These programs are all led by adult advisors (Kiwanians or faculty members), whereas Key Club and Circle K elect their own club, district, and International officers each year to lead the organization.  Kiwanis Junior is part of the European Service Leadership Program, with clubs in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, and is typically for people ages 18–35.