Since 1915, Kiwanis International has been on a mission to improve the lives of children one community at a time. As the organization is in the process of creating a chapter in Winters, the town and its youngsters will perhaps benefit from this boon to communities across the globe.
Before one feels any vestige of trepidation about this organization’s presence in town, Winters’ neighbor, Dixon, is a prime example of Kiwanis’ positive impact on a community. In fact, it’s the Kiwanis Club of Dixon that’s facilitating the nonprofit’s expansion into Winters.
“What we’ve done is brought our ‘Kiwanis Team’ in so we could talk with all the different business owners in town. We also met with the acting superintendent of the school district, and we put that on social media and wound up getting a few individuals to sign up as charter members from that,” explained Dixon Kiwanis Club Membership Chair Patti Sousa-Liu. “Between Mike — my husband — and I and all of our members in Dixon, we will be supporting the new Kiwanis of Winters. Ultimately, we have to get 15 charter members. And last Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday in Winters we got 10 of the 15, so we’re very excited because we’re almost ‘there’ to do the chartering.”
Sousa-Liu explained how the 15 charter members will decide roles within the club and how often they’ll meet. Then the real fun will begin taking part in providing scholarship opportunities, service work and all other philanthropic/communal activities. It’s not just the adults that can join in, however, as Kiwanis is comprised of different age-levels of leadership.
“Kiwanis is all about getting involved in the community and with the kids. We also have different leadership levels. For elementary kids the club is called ‘K-Kids,’ for middle schoolers it’s called the ‘Builders Club,’ from there they go to the ‘Key Club’ in high school, then ‘Circle K’ in college and when they graduate they become ‘Kiwanians,’” explained Sousa-Liu.
Sousa-Liu shared about her inspiration to initiate a Kiwanis Club in Winters.
“It’s been a passion of mine to move onto Winters because I absolutely love it. If I hadn’t settled in Dixon, and Mike and I weren’t so rooted here with our grandchildren and everything, we’d be in Winters. We love it so much and expanding will give us more time to spend here in town,” Sousa-Liu said.
From holiday fundraisers and silent auctions to signature projects, every branch of a town Kiwanis Club works fervently to raise money for various philanthropic initiatives. Sousa-Liu also talked about how the Dixon Kiwanians work with churches and other local groups to clean up around public areas. They’ve also worked with their police department’s graffiti abatement program to wash away vandals’ filth around town. Essentially, Kiwanis is just here to help.
“Sometimes we’re buying backpacks and filling them up for kids in the beginning of a school year, sometimes we’re
taking candy to fire and police departments over Valentine’s Day just to say, ‘Thank you, we appreciate you.’ We’re also taking goodies to senior centers to put smiles on their faces.’ We come up with all kinds of ideas to keep people happy in the community.” said Sousa-Liu. “But, we also ask our new charter members, ‘What is your passion? What does your community need and what is the passion you want to share with your community?’”
If one is feeling a fervor for their community, one can learn more about the Kiwanis Club at www.kidsneedkiwanis.org.
For any more questions about the local efforts, reach out to Sousa-Liu by texting her at 707-635-3303 and/or by showing up to the next Kiwanis meeting in Winters taking place Monday, Aug 1 at 6 p.m. Location is yet to be determined, but one can stay-up-to-date with it by following the Kiwanis Club of Winters, California Facebook page.