ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Kiwanis Golden K and Noon clubs have always shared a mission to “Serve the Children of the World.” The two local organizations have joined forces and will continue their pledge as members of the Golden K.
New members, formerly of the Noon club, were welcomed at a recent Golden K meeting.
Dianne Jenner explained the history of the Rochelle Kiwanis originally began as one club in the 1950s. The Golden K was granted its charter in 1986, which mostly consisted of retirees.
“The Kiwanis Noon club was primarily for the people in business. We always met at noon on Wednesdays,” Jenner, former Noon club member, said. “It has been getting harder over the years to keep members in a noontime meeting … could be from the changing business environment.”
Jenner joins David Guest and Ralph Papke as the newest members of the Golden K; her husband, Marv, joined the Kiwanis Golden K over five years ago.
“I am bringing the money,” Jenner joked. “And Ralph is bringing his excellent ticket selling skills. He has been our top seller for fundraisers for so many years.”
Ric Taylor, Golden K member explained his views on the consolidation.
“When I found out there were two Kiwanis clubs, I had thought it wasn’t like we were the Hatfields and McCoys … our mission is the same,” Taylor said, interjecting a laugh. “It only makes sense to be one.”
Everything the Golden K has done centers around the youth. Currently with over 50 members, Golden K will continue to provide service leadership programs with the Builders Club at the Rochelle Middle School, Key Club at Rochelle Township High School, and the newest arm of the organization — K-Kids at the Lincoln School Hub Project program; all of these programs teach students the value of helping others through community service.
The group also participates in an incentive program, Bringing Up Grades, or BUGS, with area elementary schools.
One by one, Golden K officers and members greeted their newest colleagues at the meeting and again during the weekly “Happy Basket,” time where everyone can choose to say a word or two why while dropping a dollar or two in the basket. Monies raised during this time typically are used to fund the annual awards banquet held in February.
The Golden K is currently planning Pancake Day, which is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 9. The event is one of four annual fundraisers — Chili Day, second Saturday in November; Peanut Day in September; and the Salvation Army Bell Ringing held on the weekends before Christmas.
These fundraisers provide support to over 20 local youth organizations.
Service from the heart
The fundraising efforts of the Golden K not only help with local organizations but they have also done their part to serve the children of the world through the “Eliminate Maternal Neonatal Tetanus” (MNT) project. The project involved thousands of other Kiwanis and UNICEF members combining to raise funds to help provide immunizations and the staff to administer the three shots necessary in eliminating this preventable disease primarily affecting third-world countries.
Golden K members rejoiced in achieving their goal of raising $45,000 within five years.
Recently, Danae White, RTHS English teacher and faculty advisor the school’s Key Club shared her thoughts on the Golden K.
“I really can’t say enough great things about the Golden K’s support. Without them the opportunities for us would be limited,” she said. “The objective for Key Club is to build leaders through service opportunities and Golden K is part of our K-family that allows us to have those leadership moments via projects with them as well as financially supporting us on our educational endeavors annually at the Illinois Eastern-Iowa District Convention and Leadership Conference.”
Current president Al Hann, along with vice president Don Horner, secretary John Schinzer and treasurer Bill Paulin, along with members of the Golden K, encourage anyone in the community 18 years or older to join. The group meets every Thursday at 8:15 a.m. in the Paddock Room at the Hickory Grove Convention Center.