One of South Florida’s most active civic service organizations, the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club (www.biscaynebaykiwanis.org), recently distributed backpacks containing one week of school uniforms, school supplies, and lunch boxes to 100 inner-city children from five different elementary schools.
Children from Maya Angelou, Santa Clara, Eneida M. Hartner, Phillis Wheatley and Frederick Douglass elementary schools each received five uniform polo shirts, three pairs of slacks or shorts, five pairs of underwear, and five pairs of socks in their size — as well as school supplies and a lunchbox — stuffed into a brand new backpack.
This is the 12th year the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club has conducted a back-to-school project for homeless and disadvantaged children. This year, the club provided more than $10,000 worth of items with this annual project.
The week before the giveaway, members of the club — now celebrating its 66th year — and other volunteers gathered at Neat Stuff, 2624 NW 21 St., to “stuff” the backpacks with the school uniforms. One of the volunteers was 14-year-old Alia Cornett, an eighth grader from Ponce Middle School, who read about the service project on the club’s website and decided to join in.
“This is one of our signature community service projects,” said Nellie Hernandez, the club’s incoming president. “Being able to help disadvantaged kids — many of which are homeless — start the school year off on an even footing with their classmates is so important in bolstering their self esteem and confidence. Over the years we have seen that having the proper clothes and supplies encourages the kids to stay in school.”
The Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club (BBKC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is an all-volunteer organization of professional men and women that improves the lives of disadvantaged children in Overtown, Allapattah, and Midtown Miami through educational programs, field trips, and hands-on service projects.
The club’s very successful programs include an in-school reading program to help second graders pass the EOY (End of Year) Exam; funding summer swim lessons at Gibson Park;, lessons in etiquette, civics, and life skills, and field trips to Everglades National Park. The organization also mentors teens in high school Key Clubs, teaching leadership through service at Miami Springs, Miami Jackson, Booker T. Washington, Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, and iPrep Academy.
During the past five years the BBKC has awarded more than $150,000 in scholarships throughout Miami-Dade County, including full four-year college scholarships to deserving Booker T. Washington seniors.
For more information on the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club, send email to Biscaynebaykiwanis@gmail.com or phone/text 305-814-2225.