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  • Dining for donations

    Your club wants to help save lives. Restaurants need the business. And people always need to eat. This fundraiser is a no-brainer. Encourage patrons to visit a new or favorite restaurant in exchange for a portion of the proceeds from purchases.

    Your club will raise funds for The Eliminate Project and help bring in new customers. It’s easy! Follow the tips below.

    Best for: All Kiwanis-family clubs

    Timeline: 4 weeks for preparation; 2–4 hours on day of event

    To-do list:
    • Pick a restaurant
    • Approach management about details
    • Decide what percentage will credit to your club (10-20 percent is the norm)
    • Choose a date and time period
    • Establish how patrons will identify themselves
    • Create an event flier
    • Distribute fliers around town
    • Have club reps there to welcome guests and hand out information
    • Hang a sign to identify The Eliminate Project
    • Put out a jar to collect donations from diners
    • Follow up with staff to receive your check

    Supplies:
    • Paper for fliers
    • Signage
    Quick facts brochure

    Reminders:
    • Popular chain restaurants have established policies while local eateries may need to work out details with you.
    • Some restaurants also offer gift-card matching. Ask about it!
    • Monday-Wednesdays may be slow nights for the restaurant. They could benefit from the extra crowd you bring in and may offer you a bigger percentage of the night’s receipts.
    • Distribute the Quick facts brochure as guests arrive or leave one on their place setting. Have club members on hand to answer any questions that arise.

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  • Meet the 2015-16 Circle K President

    “Full of shock and awe”—that’s how Racheile Ricklefs felt when she was elected the 2015–16 Circle K International President at the program’s convention in June.


    Racheile started her CKI journey at the University of Central Florida. Now a graduate student at Indiana University, Racheile is earning her Master's degree in Library Science and specializing in archives. In fact, Racheile spends some of her time volunteering in archives. She also enjoys volunteering for charities, hanging out with friends, reading, going to concerts, eating at new places and occasionally, binge watching TV. 


    Racheile has served in several leadership positions in Circle K, from club vice president to international trustee. Each leadership position came with its own set of trials and accomplishments. “Serving in these positions has taught me a variety of skills that I can apply to serving as international president,” Racheile explains.


    Among her various roles, Rachelie’s time as UCF CKI vice president taught her the most. In fact, she was practically thrown into the position, the club’s elected vice president had stepped down. At the time, Racheile had just joined Circle K and knew very little about the organization. Racheile was the only non-executive board member who had attended the Leadership Training Conference, and she had just been appointed a committee chair—so the board asked her if she would step up. Racheile saw this as a great opportunity for growth and decided to go with it.


    “Throughout my whole experience serving as vice president, I was able to learn the ins and outs of CKI, what it meant to be a servant leader and a variety of other skills that I needed to develop throughout the year,” she says. “While the practical skills I learned were important, I think the most important thing I got out of this was a passion for CKI.”


    For anyone who’s hesitant about getting involved at the international level, Racheile suggests one consideration: how passionate about Circle K are you?


    “Regardless of whether an individual is elected or not, the experience of running for international is beneficial in itself,” she says. “It gives you experience in preparing and presenting ideas and speaking to your peers.”


    Racheile’s favorite service project is volunteering with Give Kids the World, a nonprofit resort in Florida for children who have life-threatening illnesses. The resort is designed to look like a “storybook town” and provides all kinds of fun things for the children. The goal of Give Kids the World is to provide children and their families a relaxing time away from the stress of doctor’s appointments and treatments—allowing them to have fun and just be kids. While she attended the University of Florida, she did a lot of volunteer work with the organization. Racheile has dressed up as Christmas tree in their winter wonderland parade, helped serve ice cream, helped serve cake at the mayor’s birthday party, given airbrush tattoos, and much more.


    “I get to meet such inspiring individuals,” Racheile says. “I have many great memories of volunteering here. Without Circle K, I probably would have never had the opportunity to volunteer at such a wonderful place.”


    Racheile believes that Circle K Alumni are a great resource to current CKI members. Some of the ways CKI alumni can get involved is to keep in contact with their local CKI clubs, she says. “Attend their events and service projects. Provide advice and networking opportunities. Host CKI Alumni events and invite active CKI clubs. The possibilities are endless.”  


    Racheile is still getting used to the idea of being the international face of Circle K. “I was definitely overwhelmed and excited,” she says, “but I don’t think the full weight of being elected really hit me until later. Actually, it is still odd for me when I am referred to or introduced as the international president.”


    Racheile is hoping to have an impact on Circle K and be able to create something that will continue long after her term is over. “I feel both excited and nervous,” she says. “It’s a big responsibility, and I really want to make sure that this year is an awesome year and the board is able to accomplish a lot.”

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  • Cut toxic relationships from your life

    You know that friend who doesn't really feel like a friend? Or that person at the office who turns everything into a negative statement, no matter what you say? We’ve all got them—people in our lives who seem to enjoy dragging us down.


    These “toxic” influences may subconsciously feel threatened by your strengths, or they may just see you as an easy target. Either way, they will attempt to undermine or control you by limiting your peace of mind, happiness or success. You can’t let them. But you also can’t avoid all of them everywhere you go.


    What you can do is learn to avoid their negativity. That begins with understanding why you attract it in the first place. It might just start with some of your strongest positive attributes!


    You are a great listener. Honestly, with all the distractions we face today, it’s hard to come across great listeners. Toxic people cannot pass up an opportunity to be heard. They would talk to you for hours if they could get away with it! They ignore every verbal cue and body language sign you throw at them. They are certainly not interested in what you have to say—and they don’t even try to hide it. The solution: Think of some exit lines. For example, “It was great catching up with you…” or “I’ll talk to you again soon, but right now I must…”. Of course, this will feel harsh and awkward sometimes—but you have to be upfront for the sake of your own well being!


    Your view of human nature is super positive. You’re an incredibly optimistic person, and you choose to see the good in people. You struggle to see possessiveness, narcissism, greed and deception. You hold on to relationships with certain people because you believe they will change. The solution: Trust your intuition. If you’re in an emotionally negative or abusive situation, don’t second-guess your discomfort. Emotional discomfort is similar to physical pain—it protects you from further damage. Be self-aware and take action next time you feel this way.


    You’re really easygoing. If you’re an easygoing person, you’re good at keeping your cool in tough situations and putting others at ease. Most likely, you are nonaggressive, patient and kind. Toxic people may interpret you as an easy target for their controlling ways. The solution: Become aware of how a toxic person may take advantage of you. Your polite words and kind gestures may seem like an open invitation. Stop saying things like “Sure, anytime you want”—it might be interpreted literally by a toxic person. And don’t automatically commit to requests. Phrase it like “Let me get back to you on that in 10 minutes.” And if you do say yes, avoid giving the impression that your acceptance is open-ended.


    These tips were provided by professional life coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff. Their personal development blog, Hack Life, is filled with articles to help you find happiness. If you would like more tips on cutting toxic relationships, check out 7 Surprising Reasons You’re Attracting Toxic People.

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  • Kiwanis Peanut Day

    Do we have enough snacks to hand out? Will everything represent Kiwanis well? How am I going to get all of this ready in time? Don’t let questions like these drain the fun from your fundraising events. Keep the fun in your fundraising—use Kiwanis Peanut Day to your club’s advantage!


    The Kiwanis Peanut Day committee has been in your shoes. In fact, Kiwanis Peanut Day Inc. is a not-for-profit committee of active Kiwanians in the Illinois-Eastern Iowa District. Members understand that the details of organizing a fundraiser can be frustrating. This Kiwanis-sponsored fundraising program is exclusively for Kiwanis clubs—made for you by people like you.


    Over the past 64 years, Kiwanis Peanut Day has helped clubs raise over US$74 million for various charities. Take a look at the top 25 Kiwanis Peanut Day fundraising events from this year alone. Kiwanis Clubs do amazing things everyday on their own, but when Kiwanis Clubs work together, the impact is even larger. And remember, Kiwanis Peanut Day doesn’t only provide peanuts. Their various products are proven sellers! The real trick is deciding how to incorporate them into your events. Here are a few ideas:
    • Sell small, individually wrapped products at events with big crowds. For instance, mini pretzels and trail mix packets go over well at concerts, festivals, and sporting and school events. You will be surprised how willing people are to buy your products when you bring them directly to them.
    • Make Kiwanis Peanut Day the focus of your fundraising event. Buy promotional items, such as the posters. Promote your event far enough in advance so that people are able to attend—you can also ensure a great turnout by having the event in a public space. Have some fun games, facts about peanuts, inform the public about your Kiwanis Club! Sell Kiwanis Peanut Day items at your fundraising event and see the difference it can make.
    • Go beyond  fundraising. Peanut Day products are also a great way to get the word out! For example, how about a parade? Throw bags of peanuts or gummi bears to the crowd. It’s a great way to get the Kiwanis name out there—to people you may not normally reach.

    What else can Kiwanis Peanut Day offer for you and your club? Insurance. After all, Kiwanis clubs need to make prudent decisions allowing Key Club members and other volunteers under 18 years old to work at fundraising events. Insurance helps, protecting you from things you cannot anticipate. Through Kiwanis Peanut Day, Accident and Medical Insurance policies are available per day for non-Kiwanians for US$30/5,000 coverage.


    Help spread the Kiwanis name, raise funds for your club or prefered charity . . . and support the Illinois-Eastern Iowa District while you’re at it. Sell Kiwanis Peanut Day products!


    Learn more online, and put the fun back in fundraising.

    Full story

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  • Service Project: Chemo Care Kits

    “It’s the closest to death I have ever been. The chemotherapy takes you as far down into hell as you’ve ever, ever been.”—Melissa Etheridge, musician and cancer survivor 


    As if going through cancer isn’t enough, cancer patients also suffer the terrible side effects of the treatment—which most commonly involves chemotherapy.


    Unfortunately, as bystanders we cannot offer them much relief. But Sheila Sjolseth has a way to brighten their days with compassion and encouragement. This is a project that can be done anywhere with anyone—so get started!


    With the guidance of Sheila Sjolseth, Founder and president of Pennies of Time—a nonprofit organization that focuses on teaching kids to serve—offers a step-by-step guide for making Chemo Care Kits. It’s a great way to get people of all ages involved in an interesting and impactful service project. Try it with your Kiwanis club, family, friends or coworkers!

    You can choose to make Chemo Care Kits that are intended for adults, children or both—whatever inspires you. You can find the step-by-step guides to making Adult Chemo Care Kits and Children's Chemo Care Kits on Sheila’s Pennies of Time blog. With a group of about 10 people, it only takes 30 minutes to put together 70 care kits.


    In her blog, Sheila also provides tips on coordinating with a hospital or clinic. These tips will help you figure out how to get started and learn the “best practices” of delivering your Chemo Care Kits.


    When gathering the items for your chemo care kits, keep the Kiwanis DollarDays account in mind. Here, you can get wholesale items to include in your kits. If you would rather not spend the money on the care kit items, start a mini fundraiser! Tell others the project you are working on and explain how their donations will help. (Remember, donated items must be brand new since “used” items are not safe for cancer patients). Keep the cost low so you can brighten the day of more patients!


    There is no way to fully understand what cancer patients endure, but you can help them cope. However you choose to complete the project, you are bound to have fun, learn more about the daily struggles of chemotherapy patients—and be amazed by the difference you make in patients’ lives. After you complete this project please be sure and tell us how your experience went! We know this project will impact the patents, but we would love to hear how it impacted you as well.



    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Cut toxic relationships from your life

    You know that friend who doesn't really feel like a friend? Or that person at the office who turns everything into a negative statement, no matter what you say? We’ve all got them—people in our lives who seem to enjoy dragging us down.


    These “toxic” influences may subconsciously feel threatened by your strengths, or they may just see you as an easy target. Either way, they will attempt to undermine or control you by limiting your peace of mind, happiness or success. You can’t let them. But you also can’t avoid all of them everywhere you go.


    What you can do is learn to avoid their negativity. That begins with understanding why you attract it in the first place. It might just start with some of your strongest positive attributes!


    You are a great listener. Honestly, with all the distractions we face today, it’s hard to come across great listeners. Toxic people cannot pass up an opportunity to be heard. They would talk to you for hours if they could get away with it! They ignore every verbal cue and body language sign you throw at them. They are certainly not interested in what you have to say—and they don’t even try to hide it. The solution: Think of some exit lines. For example, “It was great catching up with you…” or “I’ll talk to you again soon, but right now I must…”. Of course, this will feel harsh and awkward sometimes—but you have to be upfront for the sake of your own well being!


    Your view of human nature is super positive. You’re an incredibly optimistic person, and you choose to see the good in people. You struggle to see possessiveness, narcissism, greed and deception. You hold on to relationships with certain people because you believe they will change. The solution: Trust your intuition. If you’re in an emotionally negative or abusive situation, don’t second-guess your discomfort. Emotional discomfort is similar to physical pain—it protects you from further damage. Be self-aware and take action next time you feel this way.


    You’re really easygoing. If you’re an easygoing person, you’re good at keeping your cool in tough situations and putting others at ease. Most likely, you are nonaggressive, patient and kind. Toxic people may interpret you as an easy target for their controlling ways. The solution: Become aware of how a toxic person may take advantage of you. Your polite words and kind gestures may seem like an open invitation. Stop saying things like “Sure, anytime you want”—it might be interpreted literally by a toxic person. And don’t automatically commit to requests. Phrase it like “Let me get back to you on that in 10 minutes.” And if you do say yes, avoid giving the impression that your acceptance is open-ended.


    These tips were provided by professional life coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff. Their personal development blog, Hack Life, is filled with articles to help you find happiness. If you would like more tips on cutting toxic relationships, check out 7 Surprising Reasons You’re Attracting Toxic People.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Get involved with Key Leader!

    "My favorite part of the weekend is watching my students reach their full potential and blossom as leaders. Kiwanis Key Leader changes lives." —Indiana teacher and volunteer


    Have you been looking for ways to activate your alumni membership? Then we’ve got good news for you. Circle K Alumni are welcome to volunteer at  upcoming Key Leader events! Help a teen grow into a leader. And take the opportunity to learn more about yourself.


    Key Leader is a weekend experiential leadership program for today’s young leaders. This life-changing event focuses on service leadership as the first, most meaningful leadership-development experience. Students ages 14–18 attend a Key Leader conference— essentially a weekend retreat. Find an event near you or take a quick look at the 2015 dates and locations.


    "Key Leader creates a comfortable setting that helps everyone discover talents within themselves,” says one Key Club member from Iowa. “It was the spark that changed who I was and paved a brighter future for who I can become." —Key Club member from Iowa


    Volunteers and Kiwanis members

    As a volunteer, you may be asked to chaperone a group, serve a meal or help with event logistics. All Key Leader volunteers must be 21 years of age or older and must consent to a criminal background check. This background check must be completed through the Kiwanis International office prior to Key Leader attendance.


    Parents

    As a supportive parent, you try to prepare your child for life’s challenges by offering experiences that build character and confidence. A Key Leader weekend is filled with experiences like these. During three action-packed days, teens learn life skills, meet new friends, get outdoors and out of their comfort zones. Empower your child by having them attend a Key Leader event!


    Key Leader events will resume at the end of September and continue through the middle of December. If you’d like to help, donate food or sponsor a student, take a quick look at the upcoming dates and locations. Find an event in your area and email the contact person.


    You will be amazed in the difference you can make in teens’ lives . . .  and in your own.

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  • Service Project: Chemo Care Kits

    “It’s the closest to death I have ever been. The chemotherapy takes you as far down into hell as you’ve ever, ever been.”—Melissa Etheridge, musician and cancer survivor. As if going through cancer isn’t enough, cancer patients also suffer the terrible side effects of the treatment—which most commonly involves chemotherapy.


    Unfortunately, as bystanders we cannot offer them much relief. But Sheila Sjolseth has a way to brighten their days with compassion and encouragement. This is a project that can be done anywhere with anyone—so get started!


    With the guidance of Sheila Sjolseth, founder and president of Pennies of Time—a nonprofit organization that focuses on teaching kids to serve—offers a step-by-step guide for making Chemo Care Kits. It’s a great way to get people of all ages involved in an interesting and impactful service project. Try it with your Kiwanis club, family, friends or coworkers!

    You can choose to make Chemo Care Kits that are intended for adults, children or both—whatever inspires you. You can find the step-by-step guides to making Adult Chemo Care Kits and Children's Chemo Care Kits on Sheila’s Pennies of Time blog. With a group of about 10 people, it only takes 30 minutes to put together 70 care kits.


    In her blog, Sheila also provides tips on coordinating with a hospital or clinic. These tips will help you figure out how to get started and learn the “best practices” of delivering your Chemo Care Kits.


    When gathering the items for your chemo care kits, keep the Kiwanis DollarDays account in mind. Here, you can get wholesale items to include in your kits. If you would rather not spend the money on the care kit items, start a mini fundraiser! Tell others the project you are working on and explain how their donations will help. (Remember, donated items must be brand new since “used” items are not safe for cancer patients). Keep the cost low so you can brighten the day of more patients!


    There is no way to fully understand what cancer patients endure, but you can help them cope. However you choose to complete the project, you are bound to have fun, learn more about the daily struggles of chemotherapy patients—and be amazed by the difference you make in patients’ lives. After you complete this project please be sure and tell us how your experience went! We know this project will impact the patents, but we would love to hear how it impacted you as well.



    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Kiwanis Peanut Day

    Do we have enough snacks to hand out? Will everything represent Kiwanis well? How am I going to get all of this ready in time? Don’t let questions like these drain the fun from your fundraising events. Keep the fun in your fundraising—use Kiwanis Peanut Day to your club’s advantage!


    The Kiwanis Peanut Day committee has been in your shoes. In fact, Kiwanis Peanut Day Inc. is a not-for-profit committee of active Kiwanians in the Illinois-Eastern Iowa District. Members understand that the details of organizing a fundraiser can be frustrating. This Kiwanis-sponsored fundraising program is exclusively for Kiwanis clubs—made for you by people like you.


    Over the past 64 years, Kiwanis Peanut Day has helped clubs raise over US$74 million for various charities. Take a look at the top 25 Kiwanis Peanut Day fundraising events from this year alone. Kiwanis Clubs do amazing things everyday on their own, but when Kiwanis Clubs work together, the impact is even larger. And remember, Kiwanis Peanut Day doesn’t only provide peanuts. Their various products are proven sellers! The real trick is deciding how to incorporate them into your events. Here are a few ideas:

    • Sell small, individually wrapped products at events with big crowds. For instance, mini pretzels and trail mix packets go over well at concerts, festivals, and sporting and school events. You will be surprised how willing people are to buy your products when you bring them directly to them.
    • Make Kiwanis Peanut Day the focus of your fundraising event. Buy promotional items, such as the posters. Promote your event far enough in advance so that people are able to attend—you can also ensure a great turnout by having the event in a public space. Have some fun games, facts about peanuts, inform the public about your Kiwanis Club! Sell Kiwanis Peanut Day items at your fundraising event and see the difference it can make.
    • Go beyond  fundraising. Peanut Day products are also a great way to get the word out! For example, how about a parade? Throw bags of peanuts or gummi bears to the crowd. It’s a great way to get the Kiwanis name out there—to people you may not normally reach.

    What else can Kiwanis Peanut Day offer for you and your club? Insurance. After all, Kiwanis clubs need to make prudent decisions allowing Key Club members and other volunteers under 18 years old to work at fundraising events. Insurance helps, protecting you from things you cannot anticipate. Through Kiwanis Peanut Day, Accident and Medical Insurance policies are available per day for non-Kiwanians for US$30/5,000 coverage.


    Help spread the Kiwanis name, raise funds for your club or prefered charity . . . and support the Illinois-Eastern Iowa District while you’re at it. Sell Kiwanis Peanut Day products!


    Learn more online, and put the fun back in fundraising.

    Full story

    Comments (0)

  • Meet the 2015-16 Key Club International President

    Excited, exhilarated, thrilled—that is how Rip Livingston felt at the Key Club International Convention in June, when he was elected 2015–16 Key Club International president.


    Now in his senior year at Homewood High School (located in Homewood, Alabama) Rip initially joined Key Club because he wanted to get involved at his school, explore opportunities to volunteer and build his resume. Later in that first year, he realized what Key Club really had to offer. That led him to get more involved in Key Club—at the district level, and now internationally.


    “After serving at the district level,” he says, “I really felt that my skill set was best-suited for an international position, where the work is much more strategic, analytical and long-term.”


    Last year, Rip served as an international trustee—an experience he believes will aid him during his presidency. He can empathize with board members as president, and he has gained a diverse global perspective.


    “This year I’ll have the capacity to bring my vision to the head of our organization and hopefully lead our board and districts toward an extremely bright future,” he says. “As always, I’ll love being able to create and build relationships with awe-inspiring high schoolers around the nation.”   


    Rip definitely enjoys keeping his schedule busy. In addition to his Key Club presidency, he is deeply involved with Homewood High’s music programs—including the marching, concert and jazz bands. He has played the alto saxophone for the past six years.


    Homewood High places a heavy emphasis on the fine arts—their band is the largest in Alabama, has been in the Tournament of Roses Parade four times and has marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade more times than any high school in the nation outside of New York City. “Music has always been an integral part of my extracurricular life,” says Rip. “Band has given me most of my best friends today, in addition to a place to plug in, lead and thrive in my home community.”


    Rip’s passions and interests don’t stop there. During springs and summers he volunteers weekly at a local children’s hospital, Children’s of Alabama, which is a part of Children’s Miracle Network. He serves as an extra set of hands in the emergency room. On a typical day in this volunteer role he may show patients to their rooms, clean beds, refill glove boxes or anything else assigned.


    “I got involved when I was looking for a place in my home city to volunteer consistently and impactfully,” he says. “And what place would fit better with my work in Key Club?”


    When he isn’t busy with all of his responsibilities (which, frankly, is rare), Rip loves trying new restaurants around town with friends, going for a run on a local trail and crashing with a great Netflix series.


    Everything Rip hopes to gain from his time as president, he says, will depend on what Key Club can gain from his leadership. “Ultimately, if I can walk away having gained the fulfillment of making a meaningful impact on Key Club International this year, I’ll be a happy guy!”

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Circle K International - Kiwanis Service Leadership Programs