Tue07222014

Community

Kiwanis Club of Los Altos members look toward year ahead

The Kiwanis Club of Los Altos may be best known for sponsoring the annual Pet Parade, but the small service organization contributes to the community in a variety of ways.

Kiwanis is a global organization with members dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.

October begins a new year for the Kiwanis Club. Los Altos resident Bob Galen, partner at the CPA firm Young, Craig + Co. LLP, takes the reins as president.

Goals for this year include organizing more Kiwanis-sponsored community service projects. Later this month, Kiwanians plan to restore old, splintered wooden picnic benches at Loyola School. Next month, the club has scheduled its annual Turkey Round Up, a drive that provides turkeys to low-income families for Thanksgiving.

The club operates the all-volunteer Christmas Tree Lot in the Lucky Supermarket parking lot on Grant Road during the holiday season. Members, partnering with the neighboring De Anza Kiwanis Club, donate hours staffing their largest fundraiser.

Throughout the year, the club hosts popular Bunco fundraisers to subsidize local scholarships.

Each year, the Kiwanis Club awards more than $15,000 in scholarships to five students from the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District who plan to attend Foothill or De Anza colleges. Many past recipients are the first in their families to go to college and would not have been able to enroll without the assistance of a Kiwanis scholarship.

The club also presents more than $17,000 in grants to local programs, including the Boy Scouts, the Festival of Lights Parade, the Los Altos Educational Foundation, MVLA Girls Softball, the Mountain View Police Department’s Dreams & Futures and Hope Services.

The Kiwanis Club of Los Altos is best known for its two signature events: the Los Altos Kiwanis Pet Parade and the Kiwanis Special Games.

The Pet Parade attracts thousands of spectators to downtown Los Altos each spring. Hundreds of children, parents and neighbors walk the route with pets. Youth groups, marching bands and dignitaries in vintage cars add to the caravan.

The Kiwanis Special Games, founded by the Kiwanis Club of Los Altos, provide athletic competition for more than 900 special-needs student-athletes from the Santa Clara County area. Local Kiwanis clubs partner to host the Olympic Games-type event, which celebrates the participants’ achievements.

The Los Altos Kiwanis Club sponsors local youth clubs – a K-Kids Club at Loyola School, the Key Club at Los Altos High School and the Circle K Club at Foothill College.

One of the club’s key objectives this year is to increase membership in order to accomplish more for the community.

“There are so many benefits of being a member – strong friendships, community involvement and an avenue in which to use one’s talents,” said Donna Cedervall, membership chairwoman.

The Kiwanis Club of Los Altos meets noon Tuesdays in the Kiwanis Klub House, 4546 El Camino Real, Suite B-4, in the Village Court Shopping Center. Meetings include lunch, social time and presentations by various organizations. Upcoming lunch programs include Los Altos Police Chief Tuck Younis, Bullis Charter School Board of Directors member Peter Evans and a presentation on the Los Altos School District’s Project Cornerstone program. Guests are welcome.

For more information, visit www.losaltoskiwanis.org.

Traci Newell is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Los Altos.

Caption: New Kiwanis Club president Bob Galen, right, bestows Paul Van Buren with the Legion of Honor Award, recognizing his 40 years of club membership.

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