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Keep up with the latest news and excitement from around the Carolinas!

Joy, Memories, and Spirit: How One Gift Goes Very Far

Sara Pinkowski

Imagine the night before Christmas in your childhood. Recall excitedly donning your favorite Christmas-themed pajamas, hopping in to bed, and falling asleep with extravagant dreams of the glorious morning to come playing vibrantly in your head. Remember the feeling of utter anticipation upon waking, when you burst out of your room and raced down the garland-wrapped stairs and came face-to-face with a glistening Christmas tree standing tall above a landscape of presents. Now, feel the warmth that filled your heart as you recounted on those fond childhood memories shared with family and friends.

For many children, this experience is one which they have never enjoyed. As a result of neglectful and unfortunate situations, many children find themselves waking on Christmas day to not a single gift or token of holiday spirit. While Christmas is not only about gifts, receiving a special present shows children that they are both loved and remembered throughout the holiday season and is a memory they will never forget.

The Carolinas District Project, the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina, is home to young people from the ages of infant to young adult who may have never been gifted presents of their own before. This situation is where the Carolinas Key Club District finds one of our greatest opportunities to serve each year.

Every holiday season, the Carolinas District collects monetary donations from Key Clubs across North and South Carolina to support the Christmas For Children campaign to provide brand new gifts to the children of the Boys and Girls Homes at Lake Waccamaw. On one special evening in December, the children are presented with their top wish list items. This is a highly anticipated event for the residents of the homes each year, and it can not be done without the support of Key Clubs across the district.

Key Clubs made pledges at Fall Rally in October to provide support to the Christmas for Children Project. If your club participated and made a pledge, be sure to follow up on your pledge! If your club did not pledge a particular amount, you can still contribute to the project! It is easy to conduct a simple hot chocolate sale or other fun winter-themed fundraiser to raise donations for the Boys and Girls Homes.

All donations can be sent to District Administrator J. Scott Johnson at the following address:

Christmas for Children

C/O J. Scott Johnson, Administrator

Carolinas District Key Club

2008 Pinecrest Drive

Greenville, NC 27858

Donations for the project will be collected through the Spring.

Give the gift of a wonderful Christmas this holiday season and open your heart to sharing your blessings with these amazing kids.

November Partner Spotlight: March of Dimes and Up With People

Sara Pinkowski

Every day, babies around the world are born premature. March of Dimes directly serves the babies and their families affected by prematurity.  March of Dimes is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the health of mothers and babies by preventing, treating, and providing education about birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

Key Club works with this non profit to help moms and babies around the United States.  Premature birth (birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy) and its complications are the #1 cause of death of babies in the United States.  In the United States, about 380,000 babies are born prematurely each year. The preterm birth rate (the percent of babies born before 37 weeks each year) is 9.8 percent in the United States. This means 1 in 10 babies is born too soon. The U.S. preterm birth rate is among the worst of high-resource nations.  Just imagine breathing through a tiny straw 24 hours a day. That’s what it’s like for a premature baby born with underdeveloped lungs. One way to fundraise for March of Dimes would be having an adorable baby contest at your school. Staff can bring in their baby pictures and students can pay a quarter to guess who they belong to.  The money you raise for the March of Dimes funds vital research to help find a cure for premature birth.

How can you get involved?  November is Prematurity Awareness Month and November 17th is Prematurity Awareness Day.  This is a perfect way to work with your Key Club to raise awareness about March of Dimes and their mission.  Remember to wear purple!


The Up With People mission statement states, “Through music and action, we empower young people to be positive agents of change for a more hopeful, trusting and peaceful world.” This mission statement reflects similar values to that which the Kiwanis family upholds.

The Kiwanis International and Up With People partnership is fairly new, having been founded in 2014. However, we have been able to make a grand impact within the past four years. Together with Up With People, we have been able to introduce a new understanding of intercultural values and service. Some simple ways to express this understanding include leadership or cultural workshops and service and travel experiences for youth. Up With People and Kiwanis have collectively inspired youth, served the community, and expanded the impact of intercultural values across the globe.

Together, we have logged 9,513 hours of service, impacted 33,578 local teens, touched 17,750 audience members by performances, impacted 88 service organizations, hosted 376 families, created 1 new Satellite Kiwanis Club, and expanded our partnership to Europe and Asia.

You can get your club involved with Up With People in so many ways! Here are a few examples:

Sponsor a visit – UWP makes a great fundraiser and friend-raiser for your club.

Host a cast member or volunteer with the cast.

Invite the Up With People cast to be entertainment or workshop leaders for conferences or club gatherings.

For more information about Up With People or the March of Dimes, visit their respective websites or check them out under the “Partners” tab at keyclub.org.

Fall Rally 2018 in Review

Sara Pinkowski

On October 7, 2018, Key Clubs from across the Carolinas met at the Avenue of the Carolinas in the Carowinds Palladium to share service stories and make connections with fellow servant leaders. Kiwanis representation, Circle K leaders, Preferred Charity speakers, and District Project representatives joined the festivities, too.

Little did many of these attendees know that by the time our district parted ways in the evening, our Carolinas Key Clubs would have pledged over $5,000 for Hurricane Relief for the Boys and Girls Homes and several thousand for the Christmas for Children campaign for the Homes, too! Even more unexpected was a $20,000 one-time donation from the Carolinas Key Club District to the Boys and Girls Homes to contribute to Hurricane Florence Relief. With an $80,000 deficit looming after Florence ravaged the Carolinas coast, the donations made by the district will provide for over a quarter of the recovery at our District Project in Lake Waccamaw.

These pledges and donations capture the spirit of giving that energized each Kiwanis Family member in attendance at Fall Rally. Love for Key Club was also reflected in handwritten notes from members who visited the membership development committee both prior to the Fall Rally programming. Members were prompted to share what Key Club has done for them. Responses included “Key Club has given me confidence” to "Key Club has made me a leader.”

After the rally concluded, members entered the park with a new perspective on how our District positively impacts the lives of children and families. They also had a new appreciation for how Key Club can change their lives. By the time each club departed from the park that afternoon, there was undoubtedly a vigor for service that will follow each member all the way to District Convention in March and beyond.

M.N.T.: Scarier than Halloween!

Sara Pinkowski

Each year, 34,000 babies and countless more women are killed by an easily preventable disease: maternal and neonatal tetanus. That’s once every fifteen minutes. Through the Eliminate Project, UNICEF plans to drop this statistic down to 0.

Maternal and neonatal tetanus, also referred to as MNT, cause severe light sensitivity and painful convulsions. If untreated, there is little to no chance of survival. But even with hospital treatment, the chance of survival is desperately low. Since the disease is caused by exposure to highly prevalent tetanus spores, the only way to eliminate it is through prevention. A $1.20 vaccine can prevent a mother and her future children from having this horrible disease.

While most of us view $1.20 as pocket change, this amount is simply too high for those in developing nations. As part of their global initiative, UNICEF provides this vaccine for free. Through countless donations and the efforts of thousands of workers, the Eliminate Project has decreased the number of countries impacted by MNT from 57 down to 15. However, UNICEF will not stop until MNT is eliminated from each of the remaining countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Yemen. Our goal as Key Clubbers is to help them accomplish this feat.

Take part in the initiative by providing money, promoting the Eliminate Project, and educating others about the hard reality of MNT. Host fundraisers such as a Halloween themed dance or a Trick or Treat event, distribute flyers throughout your school, and post to social media using the hashtag #mycarolinaskey. For countries suffering from this disease, every cent counts. Donations can be collected in boxes available on the Kiwanis Store through this link: https://store.kiwanis.org/Product/Trick-or-Treat-For-UNICEF----Key-Club-K-Kids-Builders-Club--Aktion-Club-KI92014-2696.htm.

Why Should Your Club Pledge at Fall Rally?

Sara Pinkowski

Last year at Fall Rally, through the generous donations of Key Clubs from across the Carolinas, we raised $7,400 in pledges for the Christmas for Children campaign for our District Project - The Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina at Lake Waccamaw. These pledges went tremendously far in bringing bright smiles to children’s’ faces on Christmas morning at the Boys and Girls Homes. Through your pledges, precious memories were made and Christmas joy was shared among children who may have never had such a blessing during the holidays.

This year, we ask your clubs to come to Fall Rally with the same mission: to pledge to support the Boys and Girls Homes in their efforts to nurture children.

However, the pledges your club will contribute this year have an additional purpose. As a result of the impacts of the recent Hurricane Florence, the Boys and Girls Home is facing an $80,000 deficit to recover from damages. Therefore, your club can choose to contribute to relieving the Homes of this deficit through your pledges this year.

In your clubs’ email confirmation are two pledge forms: one for Christmas for Children, and another for The Hurricane Relief initiative. Your club has the option to pledge to one or both if so inclined. This year, our goal is to raise $10,000 for each initiative. Each dollar your club pledges goes a long way in not only bringing Christmas cheer to children, but also relieving the Homes of their damages.

As we have done in the past, we will also be collecting new school supplies for the Boys and Girls Homes at Fall Rally. Your donations will help these students start off the year strong and confident!

If you have any questions about the pledge drive or school supply drive, contact District Administrator J. Scott Johnson at jscottjohnson@carolinaskeyclub.org, Governor Isabelle Salzmann at gov1819@carolinaskeyclub.org, or your Lieutenant Governor listed under “District Officers” in the “About Us” tab.