Honeoye Falls, NY

Honeoye Falls-Lima Mendon Kiwanis Offers Kentucky Families a Helping Hand

Genesee Valley Publications

In a time when new virus strains and new vaccines are a constant focus, it is sometimes easy to unintentionally overlook the many benevolent organizations which have been serving our communities for a long time. One such organization, Kiwanis, has been meeting the needs of others for over 100 years. Founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1915, Kiwanis now boasts more than 550,000 members in 80 countries and geographic areas worldwide and hosts nearly 150,000 service projects each year. One of its local chapters, the Honeoye Falls-Lima/Mendon Kiwanis Club, recently took part in a statewide initiative to help Kentucky families impacted by devastating tornados.

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President Peg Bobzin (l) & Rev Virginia Tyler-Smith (r)Genesee Valley Publications

The Honeoye Falls-Lima/Mendon Kiwanis Club (HFLM Kiwanis), a recent addition to the Kiwanis Club family, is no stranger to crisis, having been chartered in August of 2020. True to Kiwanis’ mission to “serve the children of the world,” HFLM Kiwanis teamed up with other local Kiwanis Clubs over the holidays to support a local boy with Spina Bifida by giving him a special bike adjusted to his disabilities so that he could continue to enjoy the pastime he loves. “Our motto is ‘Changing the world one child and one community at a time,’” explained Vice President Pastor Christine Mitchell, whose mother, Peg Bobzin, is the chapter’s current president. “That is what we focus on: children. It is what makes us different from other organizations.”

Mitchell explained that Kiwanis maintains service leadership programs for children from elementary school through college and beyond: K-Kids for elementary students, Builders Club for middle and junior high school students, Key Club for high school students, Circle K for college students, and Aktion Club for adults with disabilities. “We are trying to teach children and others how to give back to their communities,” said Mitchell. “We participate in projects such as raising money for the Golisano Children’s Hospital, and we continue to help our communities, as well.”

When HFLM Kiwanis was asked to join in collecting necessary items for families impacted by Kentucky tornadoes, there was only one possible answer. “We received a call from the governor of The New York District of Kiwanis International Clubs,” Mitchell recalled. “All of the Kiwanis districts in New York were called upon to help families in Kentucky. We noticed that other clubs had teamed up with Canandaigua National Bank. We reached out, and our local branch said, ‘Absolutely!”

HFLM Kiwanis, a member of Kiwanis’ Finger Lakes division, put up boxes around town for its collection. “In about a week, we filled the entire back of my pickup truck!” shared Mitchell. “We also purchased ten $25 gift cards to Walmart so that people can get other things they need. We collected many items, including food, toiletries, a lot of diapers, and other things we thought these families could use. The district is taking all collected items down to Kentucky next week.”

As one HFLM Kiwanis Facebook post stated, Mitchell and HFLM Kiwanis is extraordinarily grateful to all who supported and contributed to the Kiwanis Kentucky Tornado Relief Collection. “Our club joined in with many others across The New York District of Kiwanis International Clubs,” the post stated. “A special thank you to Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services Mendon-Honeoye Falls Office, St. John’s Episcopal Church of Honeoye Falls, the United Methodist Church of Honeoye Falls, and the First Presbyterian Church of Honeoye Falls. We cannot thank the community enough for their help in this project!”

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NY District Lyme Disease Brittany Award Recipient Pastor Christine Mitchell (r)Genesee Valley Publications

“Opportunities like this help teach kids about leadership, become leaders in their communities, and learn about giving back at a young age,” Mitchell said. “Hopefully, through Kiwanis Club, it will become second nature to them. We believe this is possible by working with people of all ages, talents and backgrounds through volunteer service projects and fundraising opportunities.”

While Kiwanis kids learn the value of service, they are also learning how to plan and build their own successes. “We want to give these children the opportunities to achieve their dreams and succeed in life,” explained Mitchell. “What better way than to part with them, come alongside them, and help them see the benefits of giving back to their community? We hope to instill leadership qualities in them and give them confidence, building them up to the point where they can achieve any dream they would like. As many Kiwanians have before them, we believe they will grow into amazing leaders.”

If you would like to learn more about Kiwanis, find your local chapter at Kiwanis.org, join us at an upcoming meeting, 2nd & 4th Wednesdays at noon, Lima Town Hall via ZOOM, or email HFLMKiwanis@gmail.com!

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Article by Amanda Dudek, Genesee Valley Publications

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