HISTORY
Kiwanis Club of Greenville, SC
WE MAKE IT HAPPEN
Serving the Children of the World ™
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Our Club History


The Kiwanis Club of Greenville, SC was organized on Thursday, September 8,

1919, with fifty charter members, and the charter was officially received on

Friday, September 20, 1919.  This brief review of the Club’s principal

activities over the years shows it has effectively lived up to a Kiwanis

motto - “We Build.”
 
During the 1920’s Kiwanians annually staged one of the city’s most

anticipated events - an amateur talent show that packed the leading theater

of that day.  Proceeds from the show went to build a children’s wing at the

Greenville County Tuberculosis Hospital and in addition the Club contributed

to dozens of other community efforts.

 

The Depression years of the early 30’s proved trying ones for the young club,

but the determined efforts of a handful of members kept the group together

and strengthened its operation.  Talent Shows continued to be a project of

the club, and a new fad was introduced to Greenville - Donkey Baseball. 

Members put muscle, seed and fertilizer into a garden for the Greenacre

Children’s Home.  Milk and diphtheria vaccinations were provided for needy

children, and club members formed one division in the annual Community Chest

campaign.

 

In 1937, the Club inaugurated a Golf tournament for high school boys in the

two Carolinas.  In more recent years, it has become the official championship

event for the 4A division of the South Carolina High School League.  Twelve

five-man teams participated in the 1982 tournament which was held at the

Furman University Golf Course.  This tournament continues until this day, and

is believed to be the longest sponsorship of any high school athletic event

in the nation.   The Club now holds a meeting near the scoreboard during the

tournament and enjoys a buffet luncheon with the coaches and players. 

 

During the war years of the 1940’s, Greenville Kiwanians planted “Victory

Gardens” to produce vegetables for Greenacre and Bruner Homes and gave

$10,000 to build the “Kiwanis Cottage” at the new Children’s Center on

Rutherford Road.  Greenacre and Bruner Homes merged into that facility.

In the 1950’s, the  Club built and operated for several years a miniature

passenger train in McPherson Park, which delighted thousands of children. 

Also it conducted, even into the 1960’s, an annual “Kid’s Day” in cooperation

with Donaldson Air Force Base.  The event attracted as many as 7,000 boys and

girls each year.  At the same time, the  Club began sponsoring Little League

baseball and football teams in civic leagues.  1961 saw the start of the

annual Kiwanis Travelogue series, which was accepted by the community as one

of its outstanding educational and entertaining attractions.  Other

benefactors during this decade included gifts to Birnie Street YWCA Center

and 4-H Club program in Greenville County.  The Club also contributed

generously to equip United Speech and Hearing Services and helped Miracle

Hill borrow the money to construct greenhouses.

 

During his presidential term in 1967, Ed Potter set as a priority the

establishment of the Greenville Kiwanis Foundation.  Patrick C. Fant, Sr.

handled the legal work and writing of the by-laws.  The Foundation was

incorporated during the term of William Rosenfeld in 1968. 

 

The Club celebrated its 50th birthday in 1969 and started the decade of the

1970’s by working with Junior and Senior High Schools in the county on the

problem of drug abuse.  Also, substantial gifts were made to the Greenville

YMCA to purchase and operate its Youthmobile in cooperation with Furman

University student volunteers.  In 1974, the Greenville club sponsored and

organized a new Kiwanis Club in Simpsonville, a new Circle K Club at

Greenville Technical College, in 1975, a new Kiwanis Club in Easley, and in

1979, a new Kiwanis Club in Mauldin.  In 1975, the Greenville Club received

national recognition for its services to senior citizens through the Scott

Tower gardening project and the Senior Action Center.

Highlights for 1979-80 were the organization of the Kiwanis Club of North

Greenville County and a Key Club at Greenville Senior High School.  The

School Safety Patrol of the City of Greenville, the YMCA Soccer League,   and

the Senior Citizens were major service projects.  In addition to its major

service projects, donations were made to Meals on Wheels and to the

Governor’s School for the Arts.

 

In 1980, The Greenville Police Department initiated a Inner-City Youth

Softball League.    For 27 years we have been a co-sponsor of this program. 

The program is credited with being a turning point factor in the lives of

many young people.  Other service projects which the Greenville Club

supported during the 1982-83 Kiwanis year: School Safety Patrol and Summer

Camp, Senior Action Center, and Salvation  Army  Boys Club.  During the

1983-84 year, the Club purchased a van for the Greenville Association for the

Retarded.  We began our long term support of the Greenville Hospital System’s

Neo-Natal Follow-up Clinic, which evaluates the developmental progress of

premature and sick newborn babies, during preschool years.

 

Among the Club’s new projects for 1984-85, was the Every Child a Swimmer

Program, a joint venture with the Greenville Chapter of the American Red

Cross. This program is now named Learn to Swim and over 300 third and fourth

graders are taught survival swimming at the four County pools each June.  In

1985, a station wagon was donated to the Furman University Collegiate

Educational Services Corps, which provides transportation and other

assistance to needy groups in the Greenville area.

 

One of the most rewarding sponsorships of the  Greenville Kiwanis Club is the

Terrific Kids Program which began in 1986.  The program honors one student

each month/quarter from each class as a “Terrific Kid” for that period.  The

child receives a certificate, T-shirt, car bumper sticker, pencil and a fast

food certificate.  A reception serving cake and a drink follows the awards

ceremony.  Strossner’s Bakery has generously supplied beautiful Terrific Kids

cakes for the past ten years.  The six criteria used as a basis for the

awards selections are:
 School work performed to his or her capabilities   Have

work completed on time
 Show respect and consideration to teachers and other students Have a good

attitude
 Show respect for school property     Have

good attendance

Terrific Kids continues to expand both here and throughout Kiwanis

International.  Over two million elementary aged children were touched by

this program during the 1992-93 school year.  In 1999-2000, our Club

sponsored eleven Terrific Kids Schools.  In 2007-2008, the number has grown

to 14 and the Bring Up Grades (BUG) program is also held at each of the

schools.

 

After Kiwanis International first allowed women into membership in 1987,

Kelly Sherman Ramirez became our first female member in August of that year. 

She is the daughter of our 1986 President, Robert H. Sherman. Sue Bready

became the first woman President of our Club in 2002 and the second, Loretta

Hartzell is serving in the 2007-2008 term. Kiwanians have participated in the

Children’s Miracle Network Telethon, manning the phone lines to raise funds

for the  Children’s Hospitals.  In 1988 & 1989, we were involved with the

Special Olympics, providing uniforms and travel bags for the Monaview 

Elementary School team. 

 

Starting in 1988, and for three years, we held a Christmas party, complete

with Santa Claus, food, and gifts for the women in distress and their

children from Family Service Center.  We were the primary sponsoring Club in

the forming of the Kiwanis Club of Greenville-Eastside, chartered on October

28, 1993.  In 1994, we began as a sponsor of the Blue Ridge Council of Boy

Scouts to provide the awards for the Eagle Scout program. 

Starting in 1985, funds for our service projects were raised from a pancake

breakfast, most years held at Eastside High School.  The Eastside Club has

continued that event.  Under the leadership of Mike Smith, the Club began the

Million Dollar Hole-in-One Shootout golf event which was conducted for three

years.  For the past five years and again in 2008, the Club's primary

fundraiser will be the Spaghetti Dinner/Silent Auction. The event will be

held at First Presbyterian Church on Friday, March 7. 

 

As an organization dedicated to service, Kiwanis is always seeking qualified

men and women who would like to join us in our effort.  If you agree with the

objectives of Kiwanis, and would take pride in being active in the type of

civic duty which we perform, we would welcome discussing this club with you

in more detail.  Just contact any member, expressing your interest.

02-12-2008 01:27:30    Posted by: Dennis J. Doherty, Jr.

Kiwanis