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IMPROVING THE WORLD ONE COMMUNITY AT A TIME

For 50 years, Kiwanis Club of Houma has been servicing the community of Houma and its surrounding areas by sponsoring several projects throughout each year that reach out and assist people in the community, especially the youth.

“Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time,” said Joan Malbrough, President-elect of Kiwanis of Houma. “Kiwanis concentrates on children and the needs of children. Our local clubs handle different projects to try to address the needs of children in our community.”

One special project Kiwanis sponsors every year is their annual Breakfast with Santa fundraiser, which they have been doing for almost 30 years. This year’s breakfast took place on
Dec. 1 at Vandebilt Catholic High School. Attendees got to enjoy all-you-can-eat fresh pancakes and sausage served by the Club and take pictures with St. Nick himself. Also in attendance was Mrs. Claus and Vandebilt’s Terrier mascot. Like previous years, this year’s Breakfast with Santa was a tremendous success.

“It was great. This is our major fundraiser for the year,” Malbrough said. “It’s something that family members can come to year after year with their children and just have a really good time.”

On top of the well-established Breakfast with Santa fundraiser, Kiwanis of Houma created other projects and programs to engage with and help children in the area. Their Terrific Kids program awards outstanding third graders every nine months at various Terrebonne Parish schools.

“We’ve had some children who have come to us who were in our Terrific Kids Program 20 years ago, and they come to us and tell us what a tremendous impact Kiwanis has made on them,” Malbrough said.

The Club’s Coats for Kids project provides free coats and blankets for children in need for the winter. Bikes for Books is a program Kiwanis of Houma started that donates bikes to students in Terrebonne Parish schools that reach outstanding reading goals. They also give the John Woodard Memorial Scholarship to graduating Terrebonne Parish high school seniors.

The Club makes sure to also reach out to older people in the community by playing bingo at nursing homes and helping other charitable organizations.

Those in the Kiwanis Club of Houma are also helping to raise the next generation of volunteers by sponsoring local high schools’ Key Clubs—the program that gets high school students actively involved in volunteering in the community.

“I think we’ve made a tremendous impact, especially with our Key Club members,” Malbrough said. “I think we made a great impression on some of these young people. They go out and do service hours for their community…and it’s just grown over the years.”

For adults looking to serve their community with Kiwanis of Houma, they can visit their website at kiwanishouma.com or attend their one of their meetings every Monday at Plantation Inn of Houma.

“Anyone is welcome to volunteer for any of our programs; we’re always looking for help,” Malbrough said. “We’d be happy to bring anybody in that’s interested in doing some service for our community.” 

BY DREW MILLER

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