Although Kiwanis International’s convention to celebrate its 100th anniversary doesn’t convene until Thursday at the Indiana Convention Center, the president of a local club has been greeting guests arriving at Indianapolis International Airport since 5:17 a.m. Sunday.
Steve Hadley, who heads the Kiwanis Club of Perry Township and serves as lieutenant governor of the Indiana Capital Division, is coordinating the welcoming committee of 34 volunteers while ensuring all 53 VIPs have transportation to their Downtown lodging. In all, some 600 Kiwanians are volunteering their services to ensure a well-run convention. “Visit Indy is involved, and this is what they do best,” he said.
Among the chauffeurs are Kevin Wheeler, Max Oldham and Scott Splichal, all members of the township club. “They will have between one and five pickups,” said Hadley, who’s enduring his fourth consecutive 12-hour day at the airport. He has charted out the arrivals and has drivers on stand-by. He is also serving as a delegate at the convention and will be joined by club secretary Stacey Dahmen.
In addition to remarks by Kiwanis International President John R. Button, discussions on projects, business, educational and idea exchange sessions and a closing concert, the event will feature a pancake lunch for the public on Monument Circle from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, a birthday bash on Georgia Street from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, with a street dance to follow.
As part of the convention, which Hadley would like to see here every 10 years, a legacy park – one of 12 around the world – has been built at Hawthorne Park on West Washington Street and will be dedicated Saturday.
The Jamaican delegation will attend Thursday’s breakfast meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Perry Township at IHOP, where Hadley can envision some travel plans being discussed.
The first club met in 1915 in Detroit, where members networked and agreed to serve the poor. They eventually decided to pool their efforts in a service-focused mission.
In 1924 the six Objects of Kiwanis were adopted and remain unchanged today. They are:
1) To give primacy to the human and spiritual, rather than the material values of life.
2) To encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships.
3) To promote the adoption and the application of higher social, business and professional standards.
4) To develop, by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive and serviceable citizenship.
5) To provide, through Kiwanis clubs, a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render altruistic service and to build better communities
6) To cooperate in creating and maintaining that sound public opinion and high idealism which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism, and goodwill.
“Those objectives are read to all of our new members,” said Hadley, who noted that Indianapolis mayoral candidate and Southsider Chuck Brewer will be installed Thursday.
At the 2010 convention in Las Vegas, Kiwanians pledged to raise $110 million and join UNICEF in an effort to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus from countries affected by the disease. To date, $84 million has been raised, and the malady has been eradicated in many of those nations.
The international organization, which moved its headquarters to the Northwestside of Indianapolis – near the Pyramids – in 1982, is sure to make news in October when installing Sue Petrisin as its first female president.
Membership in Kiwanis and its family of organizations – Key Club (high schoolers), Circle K (college) and Aktion (special needs) – is nearly 600,000, and those members annually raise more than $100 million while volunteering 18 million hours to strengthen communities and serve children.
Benefactors of the township’s club include Hunger Inc., Baxter YMCA, Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and Perry Senior Citizens and others. In addition, the club awards scholarships to high school seniors. Most of the organization’s funds are raised through its annual fish fry, which is July 17 and 18 at the Y.
Hadley sees the convention as an ideal way for people to learn more about what Kiwanians do. “The big picture is for us to offer more community services and provide hospitality to Kiwanians arriving from over the world.”
The Indiana district has been actively involved in raising funds for Riley Hospital since 1919 – five years before it opened. Donations in the past 24 years have totaled more than $3 million. He will take on a more active role in fundraising and educating the public about Riley when becoming the Kiwanis regional advocate in Indianapolis for the hospital on Oct. 1.
“Many good things come out of Riley,” he said.