At a recent Aiken Kiwanis meeting, I spoke of the many youth oriented projects that we undertake as a club throughout the year.

Several members asked that I share these thoughts with all of you and for those that were there, please excuse the repeated remarks.

However, I have added some additional facts to give you further background and hope that you will find it interesting.

What is Kiwanis?

Kiwanis is an international service organization serving the youth of the world. It was founded in Detroit, Mich., in 1915.

The word “Kiwanis” originally came from an Otchipew American Indian expression, “Nunc Kee-wanis, meaning “we trade” or “we share our talents.”.

That expression was translated by the early founders of the organization into our first motto “We build.”

In 2005 the organization chose a new motto, “Serving the Children of the World” which has been enhanced by our current saying “Changing the world one child and one community at a time”.

What we stand for?

What does Kiwanis stand for and more specifically what does the Kiwanis Club of Aiken stand for. We, that is both Kiwanis International and the Kiwanis Club of Aiken, stand for changing the world one child and one community at a time.

This international goal is extremely hard to achieve, but as you can understand, it has been highly successful down through the years.

As an example, the current International “Eliminate Project” has helped to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus on a global basis for many countries.

In regard to our own club, we are involved in so many activities that support our local youth and related charities that I am truly honored to be part of this organization.

We sponsor several regular Kiwanis youth activities in the Aiken County Area including four Terrific Kids programs at four elementary schools; a Builders Club at Leavelle McCampbell Middle School; two Key Clubs at Silver Bluff High School and Midland Valley high schools; as well as a Circle K Club at USC Aiken.

On the high school level, we annually award a scholarship to a deserving senior at both Midland Valley and Silver Bluff high schools.

In addition to these sponsorships, we have our annual benefit Tricycle Race which occurs on the first Wednesday in May, a Kiwanis One Day project in April where we physically help to clean up a park, home or other designated institution.

Each year we also volunteer to ring the bell for the Salvation Army at Christmas time, and as members we donate “Santa Bags” to the local mental health association as well as sponsor a Christmas for two youths at the “Adopt A Child Gift Donation” program.

In my opinion we are a very busy and worthwhile club.

Finally, since everyone is welcome at Kiwanis Meetings, I would like to invite you to join us for lunch on any Thursday at 12:30 in the Breakfast Room at Cumberland Village to share our good fellowship and wonderful purpose.

John Palmer is president of the Kiwanis Club of Aiken.