The Kiwanis Club of Pine Bluff will conduct its 90th Anniversary and Awards Ceremony at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, at the Pine Bluff Country Club.
According to a news release, the ceremony’s welcome and Pledge of Allegiance will be by President Bill Reid and the invocation by the Rev. Edna Morgan. Other participants will include Barbara Rhinehart, the Rev. Stewart Marshall and Gary McClure.
The event will acknowledge past presidents, Hixon Honorees - Legion of Honor Members, Oldest Members and other announcements.
Lucinda Lawson will introduce the Key Club Speaker, Madison Clark, president of the Watson Chapel Key Club.
John Henry will introduce the featured speaker, Gary Warner, past Governor of the Missouri Arkansas Division.
Music will be by Bill Fox and the Rev. Natasha Murry will give the benediction.
Kiwanis officials, members
The Pine Bluff Kiwanis Foundation is headed by Chris Cummings. Other officers are Dishawn Bell, Vice President; Billy Stone, treasurer; Joni Alexander, secretary; John Henry, board member; Bill Reid, chairman of the board; and Gary McClure, registered agent.
Kiwanis members include Joni Alexander, Dishawn Bell, Karen Cash, Chris Cummings, Berinda Eugene, John Foster, Christi Grant, Letrece Harris, John Henry, Evelyn Horton, Jack Jones, Jeremy Lambert, Lucinda Lawson, Stewart Marshall, Bonnie McClure, Gary McClure, Edna Morgan, Terry Reeves, Bill Reid, Barbara Rhinehart, Michael Robinson, Scott Robinson, Chad Seals, Billy Stone, Joe Strode and Hank Wilkins.
“As our club celebrates its 90th anniversary in Pine Bluff, we should look back to our beginning and the intervening years and learn how Kiwanis has contributed to this community,” a spokesman said in the release.
“In the spring of 1928 the Little Rock Kiwanis Club determined Pine Bluff would benefit by having a local Kiwanis Club. A club delegation from Little Rock convinced a key group of local men to form the new club. The first meeting of the Pine Bluff Kiwanis Club was held on April 21, 1928. The meeting was held in the basement of the Hotel Pines. Twenty-five charter members attended. The Pine Bluff Kiwanis Club Charter Night Dinner was held at the hotel on April 26. Delegations from the Little Rock and Hot Springs Kiwanis clubs swelled the attendance that night to 75 people. The charter was presented and the first officers were installed. The first president was Rev. Raymond Brunk,” according to the release.
Kiwanis mission, background
The original Kiwanis service mission – helping children and youth – continues. The club helped restart the Key Club at Pine Bluff High School this year with support from Pine Bluff School District Superintendent Michael Robinson, a club member.
A Key Club at Ridgway Christian School remains active but faces an uncertain future as the school is set to transition to a charter school in the next school year, according to the release.
“Plans are under way to open an Aktion Club sometime this year at Jenkins Memorial Children’s Center and Jenkins Industries for disabled adults. And we hope to someday reestablish Key Clubs at White Hall High School and Dollarway High School as well as start a Circle K Club at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff,” according to the release.
The club gives a $1,000 scholarship annually for a senior at one of the four high schools in Jefferson County to attend either UAPB or Southeast Arkansas College.
“The club has expanded its outreach in the past few years, adding a Mother’s Day Baby Shower to help the Hope Women’s Resource Center. It has long maintained its efforts to help the Salvation Army during the Christmas season with it bell-ringing. It continues to support the Pine Bluff Boys and Girls Club, Bantam football in White Hall, Mother’s Day fund-raising and the Key Leader program of Kiwanis International. We’ve recently added a service project at the annual Boo on the Bayou held at the Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center at Regional Park, where we will set up a Pumpkin Trail on which area youth will be carving pumpkins to be placed along the trail. Prizes will be awarded for various categories,” according to the release.
Major fundraisers for the club are the annual chicken dinner in September, with Tyson Foods supplying the chicken and the cooking, and an annual pancake breakfast.
The Pine Bluff Kiwanis Foundation was formed so anyone giving to help in the various projects could receive tax credits. The foundation, headed by Chris Cummings, has already received several grants that will be used to benefit the youth.
Another reason to form the Kiwanis Foundation in 2017 was for the purpose of acquiring and improving the property known as Camp Taloha and subsequently operate Kiwanis Camp Taloha, an alternative learning environment (ALE) for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders who aren’t achieving their full potential in a regular classroom.
“Since progress on the purchase of the property has been slow, the foundation began fundraising for additional projects within the community that make a difference in the lives of the youth and children in Jefferson County. Active Pine Bluff Kiwanis Club members are members of the Kiwanis Foundation, which is managed by a board of directors,” according to the release.
The foundation has received financial donations from numerous Kiwanians and has also been actively writing grants. The Foundation received a $1,000 grant from Arkansas Blue & You Foundation to purchase the equipment and supplies needed to provide the American Heart Association’s CPR in School training for students at Watson Chapel High School.
The foundation submitted additional grant applications for the Arkansas Community Foundation ($3,000) to beautify Ed Brown Field, The Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Foundation ($2,100) to expand the capacity of its CPR in School training program to reach other school districts in Jefferson County, the Wal-Mart Foundation ($2,500) to provide additional funds to beautify Ed Brown Field, and Synergy Forum Inc. ($2,500) to create a summer learning program for rising kindergarteners at Forrest Park/Greenville Pre K in the Pine Bluff School District.
The 90th anniversary dinner will cost $30 and can be paid in advance or at the door. To RSVP to reserve a space, contact John Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 870-247-3585. For more information about the Pine Bluff Kiwanis Club visit http://www.kiwanispinebluff.com.