Kiwanis Club of Batavia celebrates its 95th Anniversary
Written by WBTA STAFF on February 22, 2018
February 22, the Kiwanis Club of Batavia celebrates its 95th Anniversary. The club’s rich history of performing community service projects for the children of the Batavia community has left its mark in a variety of ways.
The club received its charter from Kiwanis International on February 22, 1923 with 56 original members, including the former Batavia Mayor, Ashton W. Caney, and many other community businessmen and professionals. The mission of Kiwanis is to serve the children of the world, and as one of their first projects, the Kiwanis Club of Batavia started a fresh air program where they sponsored bringing children from the cities into the country for a week. The club began recognizing the top ten students from Batavia and Notre Dame High Schools in 1944, and continues to do so today. The club’s largest project during their first half century included raising over $42,000 to assist in building the city pool at MacArthur Park, which was dedicated in 1962. Following the pool project, the club sponsored the development of Kiwanis Park in the Town of Batavia. The park was dedicated in 1977, and most recently the club helped to convert the park to one that offers specialty equipment for children with developmental disabilities.
During the second half century of the club’s existence, a most significant impact was realized through the Bidding on a Brighter Future Gala event that raised a combined total of nearly $200,000 over five years to assist the Justice for Children Advocacy Center in securing a permanent home. These funds are presently be utilized to renovate a building that will meet the service needs related to assisting children who have been physically or sexually abused.
Other projects started by the Kiwanis Club include a Soap Box Derby, an ice carnival, Farm City Days, a ski tow in Attica, and the Golden Olympics for seniors. The club continues to work tirelessly for the community in a variety of ways. Monies raised through their Pancake Day, Spaghetti Dinner and 5K for Autism Awareness are distributed to local children-centric organizations. Money from those projects also funds several annual community events: Easter Egg Hunt, Thanksgiving Morning Skate, Holiday Tote Project and AMBA Blood Analysis. The club supports Meals on Wheels by delivering meals on a weekly basis, as it has done for nearly 20 years. Most recently in partnership with Genesee County, club members volunteered to maintain the outdoor ice rink at DeWitt Park on Friday nights so the community would have the opportunity to skate under the lights on a weekly basis. The club also partners with the Genesee County Bar Association to recognize outstanding law enforcement professionals from the Batavia Police Department, Genesee County Sheriff’s Department, State Police Troop A and the Leroy Police Department at their Annual Law Day Dinner.
The Kiwanis Club of Batavia currently has 43 members, and is proud of the long-term membership of Kiwanis Past Lieutenant Governor Richard Rung since 1973, as well as that of local Past President Donald Lewis since 1965.