By Susan Fisher, Member, Kiwanis Club of Muncie—
Muncie, IN—August 2020 marked the 100th Anniversary of the Kiwanis Club of Muncie. Chartered in 1920, the club, perhaps best known for its annual Christmas tree sales, has changed a lot over the years. One thing hasn’t changed: the motto of “Serving the Children of the World.”
The club spearheads fundraising efforts throughout the year to support its service projects. The service projects include supporting Riley Children’s Hospital since its founding, building the Kiwanis Lodge at Camp Redwing, presenting dictionaries to every third grader in Muncie, and presenting every local Head Start child with a Christmas book. Support for student success includes the annual Junior Honors Banquet and the Terrific Kids program for outstanding 5thgrade students. The club proudly sponsors student service leader programs—Key Clubs at Muncie Central, Cowan, and the Indiana Academy.
To celebrate this landmark anniversary, the club took on a huge service project to benefit local students and literacy efforts by providing a Scholastic Reading Oasis at every Muncie Community elementary school and at Cowan elementary school. According to Kiwanis members Drs. David and Felicia Dixon, who chaired the Reading Oasis effort, they learned about this project at a national Kiwanis convention. “We were looking for something to make this anniversary year special for our club and the Reading Oasis project seemed to fit that need,” said Dave Dixon. Reading Oasis provide a fun and hands-on reading area in schools complete with rugs, beanbag chairs, dozens of the most popular books for various reading levels, and audio equipment for kids to read-along with books to encourage reading skills.
All of the materials for the Reading Oasis have been received and Kiwanis Club of Muncie members have been busy organizing materials and adding Kiwanis stickers to each book. “MCS and Cowan Elementary opened their doors for our members to work onsite, while practicing safe social distancing and wearing masks, to get the materials ready for set up,” said Felicia Dixon. The Reading Oasis at each of the seven schools will house more than 500 books, for a total of 3,500 books made available to local schools and their students.
Dave Dixon reported that the Reading Oasis at Cowan Elementary is already in place and students will start using the area very soon. “It was so rewarding to help set up the reading area in the school,” he said. “The kids were so eager to find out what we were doing and we overheard many of the kids who were very excited about the books we were placing on the shelves.” Felicia Dixon added that school representatives have been, “right there with us throughout the entire project, including school administrators and librarians.”
Cowan Elementary School Principal Lendon Schwartz shared appreciation to the club for the project, “We are thankful for our partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Muncie. We are extremely excited to have our new Scholastic Reading Oasis in our library,” he said. “Reading is a vital life skill, and it allows students to learn and venture off into places they may never go. Our Cowan Elementary family would like to thank the Kiwanis Club of Muncie for providing this reading oasis and for being a great partner in our community,” he added.
MCS echoed that appreciation. “Muncie Community Schools wouldn’t be the same without the support of great local organizations like the Kiwanis Club of Muncie,” MCS Director of Public Education and CEO Dr. Lee Ann Kwiatkowski said. “These reading oasis are going to be huge additions to our schools that will benefit our students every single day, and we’re so grateful to have them.”
About Kiwanis Club of Muncie
The Kiwanis Club of Muncie is a service organization open to any adult who would like to join. Stacy Wheeler, Director of The Back to School Teachers Store currently serves as president of the group. Membership dues are collected each year to support the local group and the state, national, and international Kiwanis efforts. Kiwanis student service groups are also available at many high schools and colleges. To learn more about the group, visit the Kiwanis Club of Muncie at its website www.kiwanisclubofmuncie.org or at facebook.com/kiwanisclubofmuncie.