Alumni Support staff member, Kaitlynne Harpel, attended a Kiwanis club meeting and shares her experience.
The Broad Ripple Kiwanis Club meets at a local restaurant, Binkley's, every Tuesday at noon. Binkley’s has a private room and offers a reasonable lunch price. Each meeting begins the same: with the Pledge of Allegiance, collecting happy dollars, a committee report and general announcements.
To kick things off, Club President Brenda Rising-Moore introduced guests. Club members were very welcoming and excited to have guests at the meeting. Jim Kyle, a Kiwanian all the way from New Zealand, came to share his insight as a 35-year Kiwanian.
After introductions Brenda collected “happy dollars,” which was one of my favorite parts of the meeting. As members gave their happy dollars they would share something they are happy about. Members shared personal victories, exciting news or sweet words about their club. The donations ranged from $1–20, but the amount is not what mattered. “Happy dollar” money goes directly to the club's administrative fund for future use.
The Broad Ripple Kiwanis Club stays connected with members in various ways. They send a weekly newsletter, and they manage a website and social accounts. This constant communication helps the club keep up to date and organized. Which is a must because this Kiwanis club is busy. Read Around the World is an ongoing service project the club is involved with, and it is often their Kiwanis One Day service project. Several members tutor IPS students at least once a week. Currently, five club members act as tutors for local IPS schools. Members participate in Salvation Army Bell Ringing annually.
While these service projects keeps the Broad Ripple Kiwanis Club members very busy, they still have an even larger fundraising event they host every year: Pints for Half Pints. The event is held in October at The Speak Easy, located in Broad Ripple. The club works with local brewers to raise funds for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in midtown Indianapolis Public Schools. At the ticketed event, guests enjoy live music, a silent auction, food truck offerings, raffle prizes and an amusing game of Micro-Brewer’s Pub Feud. It’s a fun, casual event that raises money for a good cause.
I was blown away by how involved and busy the Broad Ripple Kiwanis Club is in their community. Their creativity keeps current members engaged and has a high chance of attracting new members. They have guest speakers as often as they can. Something I loved is the thank-you gift they offer to their speakers—a children’s book is donated to a local school or youth organization in their name. The speaker at the meeting I attended, Jim, was very excited to sign the children's book and donate it. What a neat way to show your guest speakers you appreciate their time while also serving your community.
The Broad Ripple Kiwanis Club has 45 members, which helps them accomplish a lot. Vice President Fran Fickle explains why the club is so special to her: “I am not a joiner. But I joined 20 years ago, and we don't just have fun and talk—we actually do