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  • What's next for graduating K-Kids

    Builders Club is the middle school program in the Kiwanis family. K-Kids can move on to this program if a Builders Club is established at the middle school. Talk with your sponsoring Kiwanis club to see if they sponsor a Builders Club and if not, ask them to consider establishing a club to welcome K-Kids members.


    Another option is to check the Club Information Listing report under Builders Club and find out if there is a chartered club in your school district.

    If your school district doesn’t have a Builders Club, help your sponsoring Kiwanis club tell local school administrators about the K-Kids club's impact and the need to continue the effort in middle school. After all, person-to-person communication is the best way to spread inspiration about youth programs.

    Use these resources that describe the skills Kiwanis Youth Programs develop.

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  • The skills kiwanis youth develop

    Our programs help club members develop important social and emotional skills that promote meaningful connections with self and others. Club members learn to be mindful servant leaders who pause and welcome each new experience with non-judgment and acceptance.


    There are four skill sets club members master through involvement in our programs. They include: social and emotional skills, growth mindset, habits of mind and happiness habits. Each skill set is highlighted below.

    SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SKILLS

    Self-awareness
    Accurately accessing one's feelings, interests, values and strengths/abilities, and maintaining a well-grounded sense of self-confidence.

    Self-management
    Regulating one's emotions to handle stress, control impulses and persevere in overcoming obstacles; setting personal goals and academic goals and then monitoring one's progress toward achieving them. The ability to express emotions constructively.

    Social awareness
    Taking the perspective of empathizing with others; recognizing and appreciating individual and group similarities and differences; identifying the following social standards of conduct; and recognizing and using family, school and community resources.

    Relationship skills
    Establishing and maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation; resisting inappropriate social pressure; preventing, managing and resolving interpersonal conflict; and seeking help when needed.

    Responsible decision-making
    Making decisions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, appropriate standards of conduct, respect for others and likely consequences of various actions; applying decision-making skills to academic and social situations; and contributing to the well-being of one's school and community.

    GROWTH MINDSET

    Youth who have a growth mindset are resilient and view failure as an opportunity to learn a different problem-solving strategy. They’re lifelong learners who don’t give-up when faced with adversity. Young people with a growth mindset learn to love challenges, learn from mistakes and value effort and lifelong learning. They’re also aware of their inner monologue and use self-compassion to promote a calm, clear perspective so that problem-solving and constructive action take place.

    HABITS OF MIND

    Cultivating habits of the mind in youth helps them effectively assess and solve complex problems. Club members learn these habits through their community-service efforts.

    These habits include:

    Persisting
    Persevering in task through completion: remaining focused. Looking for ways to reach your goal when stuck. Not giving up.

    Managing impulsivity
    Thinking before acting: remaining calm, thoughtful and deliberative.

    Listening with understanding and empathy
    Devoting mental energy to another person’s thoughts and ideas: Try to perceive another’s point of view and emotions.

    Thinking flexibly
    Being able to change perspectives, generate alternatives, consider options.

    Thing about your thinking (mindsight – understanding our inner voice)
    Being aware of your own thoughts, strategies, feelings and actions and their effects on others.

    Striving for accuracy

    Always doing your best. Setting high standards. Checking and finding ways to improve constantly.

    Questioning and problem-posing
    Having a questioning attitude: knowing what data are needed and developing questioning strategies to produce those data. Finding problems to solve.

    Applying past knowledge to new situations
    Accessing prior knowledge; transferring knowledge beyond the situation in which it was learned.

    Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision

    Strive for accurate communication in both written and oral form; avoiding over-generalizations, distortions, deletions and exaggerations.

    Gathering data through all senses
    Pay attention to the world around you. Gather data through all the senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight.

    Creating, imagining and innovating

    Generating new and novel ideas, fluency, originality.

    Responding with wonderment and awe
    Finding the world awesome, mysterious and being intrigued with phenomena and beauty.

    Taking responsible risks
    Being adventuresome; living on the edge of one’s competence. Try new things constantly.

    Finding humor

    Finding the whimsical, incongruous and unexpected. Being able to laugh at one’s self.

    Thinking interdependently
    Being able to work in and learn from others in reciprocal situations. Teamwork.

    Remaining open to continuous learning

    Having humility and pride when admitting we don’t know; resisting complacency.

    HAPPINESS HABITS

    According to neuroscience research, happiness is a skill set that can be learned. We can re-wire the brain for happiness by participating in specific activities and practices. Why is being happy important? When we’re happier, we think better, we connect more meaningfully with self and others, we retain what we learn, we sleep more soundly and we respond rather than react.

    The practices that help us grow happiness also help us develop empathy, compassion and kindness. Here are the 7 Happiness Habits based on neuroscience, positive psychology and mindfulness studies.

    Mindfulness
    Mindfulness, the ancient practice of focusing non-judgmental awareness on the present moment and thoughts, is increasingly recognized in today’s scientific community as an effective way to reduce stress, increase self-awareness, enhance emotional intelligence and effectively manage painful thoughts and feelings.

    Gratitude
    Research has found that gratitude can significantly increase your happiness and protect you from stress, negativity, anxiety and depression. Gratitude practice is one of the easiest ways to counter the brain’s negativity bias or the tendency to cling to the negative.

    Physical Wellness
    According to research, if you have a good sense of well-being, it’s easier to maintain good habits such as exercising, eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep. People with optimistic mindsets are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors because they perceive them as helpful in achieving their goals.

    Giving Back, Altruism
    Happiness and altruism are intimately linked. Doing good is an essential ingredient to being happy, and happiness helps spark kindness and generosity.

    Science suggests that how we spend our time and resources is as important, if not more important, than the amount of money we make. Giving to others releases endorphins, activating the parts of our brains that are associated with trust, pleasure and social connection.

    Authenticity, Vulnerability, Forgiveness
    What lies at the root of social connection? The ability to be vulnerable and courageous enough to be your authentic self. When you embrace an authentic and vulnerable stance to life, people will meet you there in that openness, allowing you to experience true connection.

    Forgiveness is a byproduct of living authentically and vulnerably. Forgiveness offers patient encouragement of growth. Practicing forgiveness not only benefits the person you forgive; research shows that it has tangible benefits allowing one to let go releasing anger and resentment.

    Social Connection, Empathy, Compassion
    When connection with others is present, it can boost mental and physical health and increase immunity and longevity. Our happiness depends on the happiness of those we are connected to. Science shows that through practicing happiness, we make those we meet happier. Happiness is contagious!

    Meaning, Purpose, Strengths, Success
    Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. Science has shown that, “The brain at positive is 31 percent more productive than at negative, neutral or stressed,” reports Shawn Achor, a happiness researcher and author of the Happiness Advantage. The type of work you do is key: Engaging in meaningful activity is a big indicator of happiness.

    LEARN MORE
    Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning
    Visit the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) to learn more about how social and emotional skills make a difference in a young person and their future.

    The Mindset Scholars Network

    The Mindset Scholars Network’s mission is to advance our scientific understanding of learning mindsets in order to improve student outcomes and expand educational opportunity. It conducts original interdisciplinary research, builds capacity for high quality mindset scholarship and disseminates the latest scientific knowledge through outreach to education stakeholders. Learn more about growth mindset here.

    The Institute for Habits of the Mind
    The Institute for Habits of Mind offers professional development through virtual media, workshops, consultations and conference. Learn more.

    Project Happiness

    Multiply the number of social and emotional skills club members learn by getting your happy on and using Key Club's Guide to Project Happiness. Learn more about integrating happiness into your life at projecthappiness.org.

    NBC News Education Nation – (Parents resource for Social and Emotional Learning)
    NBC News Education Nation has produced an online social and emotional learning toolkit for parents that offers a wide variety of resources and information. This toolkit can be used by anyone interested in helping young people attain these skills. Learn more at parenttoolkit.com.

    Make a mini-booklet and share about Kiwanis youth programs

          Mini-booklet

          Instructions to fold the mini-booklet

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  • Saying thank you in April

    Appreciation doesn’t need to be formal to be profound. Volunteers who feel noticed and appreciated are much more likely to keep supporting your club — and to spread the word about the work you’re doing. No matter how much people have helped your club, they all deserve recognition for their contributions.

    In the United States, there are a few upcoming opportunities:

    Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 7 – 13, 2019
    Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, April 22 – 26, 2019
    Teacher Appreciation Week, May 6 – 10, 2019

    Here are ideas to get members started:

    Make a bulletin board. Decorate using a theme and incorporate the names and photos of all the volunteers who have supported the club. Take a photo of the bulletin board and incorporate it into club communications, such as a newsletter or social media channels.

    Pick up the phone. Either individually or as a group, members can reach out to thank each volunteer. Record the call and show your sponsoring Kiwanis club.

    Put it in writing. Host a card-making meeting where members are encouraged to get creative. Use stickers, incorporate photos of past service projects, or craft pop-up art to make each thank-you note personal and meaningful.

    Host a recognition event. Ask a local business to help sponsor a breakfast, lunch or award ceremony. It’s a great way to get help with hosting. Incorporate a public recognition aspect to mention volunteers’ specific contributions.

    Need more ideas? Check out the K-Kids Pinterest board for more fun and easy examples.

     

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  • The importance of reflection

    We do not learn from experience. … We learn from reflecting on experience. ~John Dewey, American philosopher

    Reflection is a critical part of any service project. It gives members a chance to process what they learned from the experience and to think about what they can do moving forward. As an advisor, you may notice the impact of reflection in greater self-confidence, stronger problem-solving skills and an increased connection between members.

    There are many ways to encourage reflection. Here are three suggestions:

    Peer interviews. Members can pair up and ask each other questions about their experience and then share their answers with the group. The club can brainstorm interview questions or use this reflection guide.

    Presentation. The club can collaborate on a video or slideshow about their service project and present the slideshow to school administration, as well as the sponsoring Kiwanis club or the organization they served. Or all three!

    Journal. A personal or group journal encourages reflection at each stage of the service project (brainstorming, planning and execution). After the final entry, members can use journal notes to write an article — and submit it to the local or school newspaper.

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  • Congraulations to the best poster, essay and speech contest winners

    Congratulations to the best poster, best essay, and best speech contest winners.

    Best Poster — Minisink Valley Intermediate School, New York Kiwanis District
    Best Essay — Gulf Shores Elementary School, Alabama Kiwanis District
    Best Speech — Gulf Shores Elementary School, Alabama Kiwanis District

    Best Video Sacred Heart Academy, Michigan Kiwanis District

    If your club didn’t have an opportunity to participate in December, more contest opportunities are available. Submit entries by May 1, 2019, for the following recognition opportunities.

    Annual Achievement Award
    Kiwanis Children’s Fund Leadership Award
    Distinguished Club Officers
    Distinguished Advisors
    Best Scrapbook

    Visit the K-Kids contest page to learn more.

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  • Share gratitude on Valentine's Day

     

    Begin planning now and help club members celebrate gratitude during Valentine’s Day by thanking others. Work with club members to compile a list of all the people who help them on a daily basis. The list might include the bus driver, custodian, cafeteria workers, school nurse, school counselors, and teachers. Club members may also want to work together to make Valentine’s care packages filled with letters and drawings to send to nursing home residents or to military personnel serving abroad. 

    Be sure to provide opportunities for a discussion prior to selecting a project to help students develop a passion around appreciation and to connect this passion to the project. Going through this process with the club members allows them to discover their passion for giving and helping others. 

    Here are 25 + Valentine's Day crafts for kids that are sure to please. 

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  • Connect with Builders Club

    K-Kids puts students on the path to lifelong servant leadership. Help them stay on that path after elementary school. Encourage members to join Builders Club in middle school. In fact, get them familiar with the program now! We have ideas for making a lasting connection.

    Reach out to the Builders Clubs in your area and see if the two clubs can collaborate. Here are suggestions:

    • Share about Builders Club. Encourage K-Kids members to visit the Builders Club website and learn more about what Builders Club members do. 
    • Find Builders Clubs in your area and attend each other’s meetings. This is a great way for the two clubs to support each other and even combine their efforts as they make a difference in the community. When members are regularly in each other’s presence, the clubs can learn from each other and share ideas. Find Builders Clubs in your state/district.
    • Serve together. Encourage the club presidents to coordinate a project in which members from both clubs serve side by side. Check out Builders Club projects. This might spark ideas. 
    • Be social. A great way the two clubs can get to know each other is through fellowship. This can be something as simple as a pizza party or a tour of the high school. Plan an event during K-Kids week in February.  It’s an opportunity for elementary school students who are curious—maybe even a little nervous—about middle school to have a relaxed setting to explore and ask questions. K-Kids members should take the opportunity to ask Builders Club members what it’s like to be in middle school. Work with your members to brainstorm questions, so they go in feeling comfortable asking the teens about their experiences. 
    • Start a Builders Club. If there isn't a Builders Club in the middle school that graduating K-Kids members will attend, empower them by providing members with the resources to build one
    • Share your K-Kids/Builders Club connection. If your K-Kids Club successfully connected with a Builders Club, let us know what you did. Email kiwaniskids@kiwanis.org.


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