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  • Card-making service project idea

    Craft homemade cards with your K-Kids to show appreciation for school staff or members of the community, such as the elderly, members of the military, or those in the hospital. Before gathering supplies, find out which materials will be allowed in the organization to which you donate. For instance, some hospitals do not accept cards with glitter or latex.

    Once you are familiar with the organization’s permissions, gather items to decorate cards, such as stickers, hole punches, pencils, markers, pens, paint and paintbrushes, glueable accessories, and more. Encourage K-Kids to be as creative as they can while decorating and personalize their messages. Once finished, deliver the cards to your group of choice.

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  • What K-Kids Kiwanis advisors should know about elementary school teachers

    A teacher’s job is not easy, but it’s very rewarding. Some of the tasks that make it challenging are filling out paperwork, detailing lesson plans and trying to reach and teach each and every child even though they are all very different. Teachers are too caring to leave anyone behind, which is why we get stressed in our careers. We care for each child as if they are our own and we want them to succeed more than anything. We will do whatever it takes to make sure every student has a voice and tries their hardest to reach their goals. No matter what obstacle is thrown our way, we will push through and make sure we stick to the curriculum map.

    Not all schools are fortunate enough to have support in areas like behavior management and rewarding students who have achieved their academic goals. This is where your Kiwanis club can help. The Terrific Kids program rewards students for great behavior and the BUG (Bringing Up Grades) program rewards students for growing academically. These programs empower these young minds and acknowledge their great work.

    Having a K-kids club is a great way for schools to serve the community service and create young leaders. K-Kids share their enthusiasm with other students and foster a spirit of community in their schools. Simply asking a school what it needs could open the door for community service for your Kiwanis club. Teachers will be so thankful for the smallest acts of kindness, and they may even show interest in joining your Kiwanis club.

    Some creative teacher appreciation ideas include:
         1. Container of Starburst candy with printable “You’re a STAR
         2. Lantern or light with printable “Thank you for being a LIGHT in the
             life of a child”
         3. Oven mitt with a package of cake or cookie mix with printable
             “I have to AD-MITT you are a SWEET 
         4. Fruit-filled basket and fruit dip with printables:
             “You’re pretty much PLUM perfect”
            “You’re awesome to the CORE”
            “I think you’re GRAPE”
            “I’m BANANAS about your class”
            “Relax and take a DIP”

    Thank you for the support you have given teachers and I encourage you to thank your faculty advisors for taking on an extra role to make sure the children of the world are on the right track.

    With Kiwanis Family love,
    Krystal Laudicina
    Moody Elementary 4th grade teacher and K-Kids advisor

    For more teacher appreciation ideas, check out K-Kids on Pinterest!

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  • Developing the next generation of service leaders

    Making a difference in your school and community is what K-Kids is all about. Club members identify needs and develop a plan of action to meet those needs. Foster self worth by encouraging members to reflect in the classroom and the community. These project ideas will get you started.

    Help K-Kids members become more mindful and reflect on positive aspects of their lives by creating a gratitude jar. Check out K-Kids on Pinterest for printable decoration ideas. Distribute strips of paper to K-Kids so they may write what they are grateful for. Allow members to add to the jar as often as they would like. Decide how often the jar should be opened to reflect on entries—for example, at the end of each week or at the end of the school year. Mix up the entries by using a prompt from time to time, like “I love _______ because _______” or “I'm proud of _______ because _______.”

    Help the club create positive posters or daily announcements to share with the the school. Allow each member to create his or her own poster or allow the club to create them as a group. Ask permission to hang the posters in busy areas of the school where people are more likely to see them. Check out how a middle school in Taylor Mill, Kentucky, started a movement to uplift others with powerful quotes. Decide how often the club will contribute to daily announcements and brainstorm messages of encouragement. If a principal or other adult normally handles the announcements, ask if a K-Kids member may be allowed to cover only the positive messaging portion.

    Beautify an empty indoor space in your school or community by creating a wall of happiness. Using blank index cards, encourage K-Kids members to write what makes them happy. For smaller spaces, allow students to write multiple entries per card. For larger spaces, use one card per entry. Encourage members write in different colors to brighten the wall. For a more advanced project, bring in magazines and newspapers to allow members to cut out and paste images in addition to writing their own words. Once members are finished, display the index cards in either a simple grid or a unique pattern designed by them.

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  • A rewarding profession

    By: Faye Snodgress
    Executive Director
    Kappa Delta Pi 

    The role of the educator has never been so important. The demographics in many schools reflect the great melting pot of our society. In the fall of 2014, the overall number of Latino, African American, and Asian students in public K–12 schools surpassed the number of non-Hispanic European Americans for the first time. In addition to a thorough knowledge of their subject areas and teaching methods, today’s educators must have the skills to relate to diverse students.

    But some students bring more than just diversity to school. Some also bring deeply troubling problems. For example, one out of five children in the U.S. goes to school hungry—as the number of children living in poverty has increased to more than 15.3 million. The physical, emotional and cognitive needs of these children require schools and classroom teachers to provide multiple levels of support. However, many school districts with high levels of poverty can’t fully fund the very programs their students need.

    At the same time, the focus on standardized tests and, in many states, the link between teacher pay and students’ test scores have contributed to many teachers’ feelings of loss of autonomy and valuable instructional time. It’s no surprise that up to 50% of newly hired teachers have left the profession by their fifth year, and that the number of college students pursuing degrees in education has dropped by 35% nationally.

    So why do teachers return to their classrooms day after day—despite the legislative mandates, lack of support and other pitfalls? Because no profession is more rewarding. Nothing compares with the pride and newfound confidence in the eyes of a student who has just read his or her first word after a long struggle to develop literacy skills. For a teacher, moments like these—when a student gains a new skill or connects to a new idea or concept—inspire an intense sense of joy and accomplishment. Where else can a professional find an opportunity to change lives every day?

    In the words of entertainer Danny Kaye: “The greatest natural resource that any country can have is its children.” Teachers have the power to magnify the impact of this vital natural resource. Through education, students discover their potential to make a difference in the world. To be the one who guides that personal discovery is to be a part of something magical and profound at the heart of a noble profession.

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  • Introducing Kiwanis International staff

    Lisa Pyron was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and attended Ball State University to earn her bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations. She has experience working with various associations, and attended the 1984 Kiwanis International Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, as the talent agent who made travel arrangements for Jim Nabors.

    Today, Lisa is a Member Engagement Specialist at Kiwanis International. She manages multiple websites for Key Club International, Builders Club and K-Kids; coordinates contest and award judging and recognition; coordinates renewal kit materials for K-Kids and Builders Club; and develops resources that encourage community building, bully prevention and mindful education.

    “According to the newest research, conducting community service with a group of people improves the overall well-being of the individuals doing the good deeds,” Lisa says. “I truly feel that I’m making a difference working at Kiwanis. I’m helping young people become more accepting, caring, compassionate people. Who wouldn’t want to do this? I have my dream job.”

    Lisa is a Kiwanis member and a K-Kids Kiwanis advisor. She enjoys spending time with her husband Dennis, son Maxx, daughter Kelsey, and family pets: a great dane, four cats and five rats. She is passionate about K-Kids, mindfulness, advocating for individuals struggling with mental illness and suicide prevention.

    Lisa’s hobbies include playing the ukulele and guitar, crocheting, origami, watching international TV programs, listening to audiobooks and thrift store shopping. She is pictured above with her good friend Marty, who plays the ukulele with her every year at college gatherings.

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