by April Gassler, club coordinator, Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C
The Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C. was founded in 1917 and has many rich traditions, including an annual joint luncheon with the local Rotary Club in celebration of Thanksgiving. While joint meetings ensure a full agenda, the Kiwanis Club of Washington insisted on reserving a few minutes to discuss The Eliminate Project. With just two minutes to speak, April Gassler, a club director and The Eliminate Project club coordinator, provided a brief overview of maternal and neonatal tetanus and Kiwanis’ partnership with UNICEF to eliminate the terrible disease. Next, Katie Bryden, a student at American University and former Key Club Lieutenant Governor in the New Jersey District, gave a brief presentation on the children’s book, Squiggle Squirm, which she authored to raise funds for The Eliminate Project and published with a grant from the New Jersey District of Kiwanis.
Those impassioned presentations inspired a Rotarian, Dr. Samuel Lee Hancock, to help support The Eliminate Project. Dr. Hancock is the President and Executive Director of The Emerald Planet. The Emerald Planet was created in 1973 and is a non-profit organization with its headquarters and television production studios in the Washington, D.C. area. Its leaders and experts work with research institutions, businesses, governments, universities, health care providers, clean water advocates and non-governmental and community-based organizations to identify 1,000 “best practices” for sustainable environmental and economic development, and link those having such best practices with those who need them. In furtherance of that effort, The Emerald Planet produces a weekly one-hour television program spotlighting experts and advocates working on the latest activities, projects and technologies to aid sustainable development and improve people’s quality of life. They are simulcast to 532 stations across the U.S. and distributed overseas by the Internet and C-SPAN to countries that include China.
Not long after that luncheon, Dr. Hancock invited the Kiwanis Club of Washington to assemble a television broadcast highlighting the work of Kiwanis International generally and their club in particular, as well as The Eliminate Project and Katie Bryden’s book. Even though they had less than a week to prepare, the club worked with staff members at Kiwanis International, The Eliminate Project campaign office, and the Capital District of Kiwanis to locate panelists, organize and summarize the content of their presentations, and provides written and graphic materials for Dr. Hancock’s use in preparing to interview the panelists.
On December 2, 2012, they taped a one-hour program titled, “The Eliminate Project World Model Program: Kiwanis International - UNICEF Eliminate Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Partnership.” Panelists included: Capital District Governor Carolyn Richar; Club President Cindy Crist; Club Immediate Past President Joe Ressa; Club President-Elect Brian Egger; Capital District Division 1 Eliminate multi-division coordinator Marilyn Franklin; club coordinator April Gassler; and Squiggle Squirm’s author and illustrator, Katie Bryden and Catherine Macorol. The program was broadcast globally on December 31, 2012 and is available online at http://www.emerald-planet.org/12302012.htm. We are so grateful to Dr. Hancock and The Emerald Planet for providing this platform to spread the word about the good works of Kiwanis International, especially The Eliminate Project.