Kiwanis clubs rally Downey High students

DOWNEY -- In a first, the Downey Kiwanis Club, which meets at noon on Thursdays, and the Downey Los Amigos Kiwanis Club, which meets Wednesdays at 7 a.m., held its first annual combined Family Fun Night at the Downey High quad Feb. 24 in rather chilly conditions.Bringing together members of the Circle K Club (whose members are college students), the Key Club and the Kiwins (whose members are in high school), the Builder's Club (whose members are middle school kids), the K-Kids (elementary), as well as the leadership of both the Kiwanis Clubs, most of whom were conspicuous in their signature T-shirts, the event fell short of the promised live entertainment part but delivered on food, drinks, some for-sale pastries, loud music, a few ice-breaker games, and little tots running around and having fun. Energetic Downey Kiwanis Club advisor Alex Gaytan, who was in charge of the whole thing and emceed the proceedings, was encouraged by the crowd consisting of "hundreds of parents, family members, and other guests" who ostensibly came seeking justifications for supporting the many leadership-oriented programs and projects Kiwanis-sponsored youth engage in. In truth, as envisioned, the event was one big rally with the speakers, mostly student leaders representing the various Kiwanis-affiliated groups, shouting the reasons why the kids who are not yet members should join and why their parents should encourage them to do so. Circle K Club leaders from UCLA did their part, as did K-Kids leadership from Gauldin Elementary, Builder's Club representatives from Sussman, East, West, and St. Raymond, student leaders from the Warren High as well as from the Downey High Key Clubs, along with Downey High Kiwins. Alex Saab, Downey Los Amigos Kiwanis Club president, also spoke briefly. In the meantime, there was ample opportunity for the parents and guests to pick up literature in different booths outlining the whys and wherefores of the different clubs. Their common theme, of course, was to develop leadership skills through service in their school and in the community. Gaytan at one point reminded the audience that the goal of Family Night was to "establish partnerships with parents and members of the community, so that we can change the world, one child and one community at a time"--the Kiwanis battle cry. He also thanked the Kiwins for "helping to put the event together and to the Kiwanis Club of Downey for sponsoring the event." In an interview prior to the event, Jason Cierpiszewski, current president of the club, reiterated that the present overriding focus of the whole Kiwanis family was to raise some $110 million to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus in partnership with UNICEF, targeting the lack of vaccines and health education to save babies and the mothers in some countries. Gaytan emphasized that Kiwanis is a service club that's known for the emphasis on assisting children in the community through service programs, scholarships and fundraising.

********** Published: March 08, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 47