Kiwanis Club Helps Young Readers

Willow Creek Kiwanis, a volunteer community service club, recently donated $100 to Hoopa High graduates to help pay for a Safe N’ Sober party. Sydney Norton (right), accepted the check on behalf of the Safe N’ Sober planners. / Photo courtesy of Willow Creek Kiwanis.

By Allie Hostler, Two Rivers Tribune

The Willow Creek Kiwanis Club is on a mission to help the children in the community. This year, the club donated cash to four classrooms in need of books by guided reading level.

Books designed by reading level, referred to as level books by some teachers, are expensive according to Jacqueline McCullough, a first grade teacher at Trinity Valley Elementary School. She said even an incomplete set for her classroom would cost $500.

Kiwanis Club representative, Kerry Watty (left), gave checks of $150 each to first grade teachers Kim Stephans and Cindy McKinnon with Principal Rose Leazer on behalf of the Kiwanis Club. Kiwanis asked that the money be used to purchase level books for first grade students. / Photo courtesy of Willow Creek Kiwanis Club.

“The school district is under budget constraints due to deferred payments to school districts form the state of California,” Kiwanis Club member, Kerry Watty said. “Therefore, our club would like to help.”

Each first grade classroom at Hoopa Elementary and Trinity Valley Elementary was given a $150 check to use toward purchasing level books, something McCullough says is much needed. Watty knew the classes needed the books because she volunteers in the classrooms once a week.

“Having been a teacher, I know how hard it can be,” she said. “I enjoy sharing my prior knowledge, being with the kids and connecting with the staff again.

McCullough said the help is welcome and that she is grateful for the donation of time and money. “She reads and plays with the kids one on one,” she said. “That’s really valuable to us.”

Teachers from Trinity Valley Elementary School, Jenny Mason (left), and Jacqueline McCullough (right), receive checks for $150 each to purchase level reading books for their first grade students. Kerry Watty (center) hand delivered the checks on behalf of the Kiwanis Club. / Photo courtesy of Willow Creek Kiwanis Club.

The Kiwanis club raises money throughout the year with various fundraisers like a turkey basket raffle and a booth at the annual Christmas Bazaar in Hoopa. They build picnic tables and raffle them off. The money they raise goes towards children in the community. They also delivered a $100 check to Hoopa to help with this year’s Safe N Sober festivities.

“We are focused on youth and communities,” Watty said. “Encouraging the Golden Rule is one of the objects of Kiwanis International.”

Kiwanis International was founded in 1915 in Detroit, Michigan. IN the early years, members focused on business networking, but it soon changed its focus of service to be more communities oriented. The club began as a men’s club, but in 1987 they opened their membership doors to women. Now, 26 percent of Kiwanis club members are women.

Watty said two service clubs have dropped out of the Willow Creek area due to lack of participation. Kiwanis is still here, but membership isn’t growing. Those who are interested in the club are invited to group meetings every other Monday at Cinnabar Sam’s in Willow Creek. The next meeting will be Monday, June 4 at 7pm. Prospective members can call one of the Kiwanis leaders, Bruce Nelson at (530) 629-2338.

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