|Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time.|
In Tecumseh, Kansas, one person can make a difference. As a matter of fact, several “one persons” made a huge difference for the local park as members of the Tecumseh Kiwanis Club. Cindy Cooper was looking through some of her late father’s documents when she found information about the building of the local park. He was the chairman of the committee that brought the park into existence some 50 years prior. Cindy thought that the Kiwanis club, of which she is treasurer, should do something to recognize the milestone anniversary. After she presented the idea to several members, past president Ken Ertl suggested adding modern playground equipment to the park. The small club of 18 members agreed to the ambitious goal of raising $12,500 in less than one year to purchase and install the new equipment. Incoming president Tom Sirridge stepped up to head the fund-raising effort by encouraging members to take ownership of the project by pledging monetary support for the project. A gold level pledge of $1000 and a silver level pledge of $500 were tiers that would be recognized on the signage of the finished product. Members responded by pledging $8400. The club also partnered with the local United Methodist church and co-operatively applied for and received a grant for $10,000 from the Kansas Health Foundation, who embraced the idea as a means of reducing childhood obesity. Another $2,500 was received when local farmer, Jim Richards, nominated the project for an award from the Monsanto Fund. With this exciting news, the club was able to expand the scope of the project by purchasing a larger play area. Diana Halstead led another fund-raising effort by establishing monthly community dinners, again with the partnership of the Tecumseh United Methodist Church. Each month approximately 150 people attend to enjoy great food and community fellowship. Mary Ertl organized a “Pennies for the Park” drive at the local elementary school where all K through 6 grades competed to raise the most money. The winning primary and secondary classes were awarded a pizza party from the Kiwanis club and were the first children to be able to play on the equipment on the dedication day. Without Cindy’s initial idea, the playground would not have become a reality. Cindy made a difference for the children in Tecumseh, Kansas, with a simple idea. Ken made a difference by having the bold vision to think that a club of 18 members could raise $12,000 in less than a year. Tom, Diana and Mary made a difference by finding ways to raise over $25,000 in 9 months. Of course it took many others Kiwanis and community members to help work at and attend the dinners and erect the structure. Small clubs can do big things but it takes a few members with great vision and many members who can put aside the negative thoughts of “We could never to that” and replace them with “I will support you in any way that I can.” The Tecumseh community has a beautiful new resource all thanks to a few people who could and did make a difference. Pictures
of the Tecumseh Kiwanis Club is the beautification and care of
Triangle Park in Tecumseh. This is a small triangular shaped piece
of ground, which is owned by the Tecumseh Township, and which has
been mowed in the past by Willard Voigt, who lived across the street
from the property. The area contains a large rock with a plaque
that commemorates the Oregon Trial passing though the area.
Limestone rocks have been added as borders to the corners, flower
beds have been tilled and planted, a flag flies
on the flagpole on special days,
a limestone sign Welcome to Tecumseh is
installed, and memorial bricks are placed in an area around the flagpole.
Also, the Tecumseh Kiwanis Club serves the evening meal at the Topeka Rescue Mission on the fourth Monday of each month.
Tuesdays find club members reading to kindergarten students before their school day starts at Tecumseh North and Tecumseh South Elementary Schools.