As a result of the funds generated from the Wilderness Trail Festival, the Kiwanis Club of Christiansburg has been able to increase the support of the youth of Christiansburg, especially the less privileged.
Since taking over the Festival in 2009, the Club has established and maintained two programs at the following six schools: Belview Elementary, Christiansburg Elementary, Christiansburg Primary, Christiansburg Middle, Christiansburg High and Falling Branch schools. First, a Clothe the Child Program was established with the schools. This program provides funds which allow the schools administrators to purchase clothing for children who come to school without necessary attire such as shoes, socks, shirts, coats, underwear, etc. After recognizing the need for school supplies due to the state government cutting the budget; the Club got with the school administrators of the same six schools and developed the School Supplies Program which provides funds to purchase school supplies for children who don’t have money to purchase them. Walmart gift cards in the amount of $550, with the Club funding $500 and Walmart adding another $50, are provided to the schools for both programs and they are replenished once the balance is low.
The Festival has become a major fund raising event for the Club. All the funds generated go back into the local community mostly to needy youth activities. None goes to the administration costs of the Club: the members pay dues to cover all administrative costs including meals at meetings.
Since the Festival has been managed by Kiwanis, the net income has grown dramatically, the number of vendors has more than tripled and the footprint has expanded to include all of Main Street from Burger King to Town Hall and portions of Hickok and Franklin Streets.
The Club held its first gospel concert which was very successful in June of 2019 and this event has become an annual fundraiser.
We in the Christiansburg Kiwanis Club see as part of our mission to serve young children in the areas of health, safety, and education. Several years ago, a need in the areas of health and education came to our attention. Studies have shown that many children are at risk with diets that are irregular, unsupervised, or generally lacking in good nutritional content. This, in turn, can increase their risk of developing health related problems such as obesity and diabetes, lead to behavioral problems such as attention deficit disorder, and adversely affect their learning ability. Studies have also shown that dietary nutrients are not only important for health, but can significantly influence the way children think and feel. Children who consume healthy foods are better students, concentrate better, retain more information, and perform better on tests.
The educational system in Montgomery County does a very good job of providing balanced, nutritional meals to children during the school day. However, many children do not get that same balanced diet on the weekends. The Christiansburg Kiwanis Club has initiated a program called the Backpack Program that provides nutritional supplements to children's diets (snacks) on the weekends. The goals of this program are to enhance the child's learning ability, reduce behavioral problems, help improve the child's health, and educate the family to the benefits and importance of good nutrition.
We initiated this program in cooperation with the Community Action Head Start organization. They typically have more than 50 children (ages 3, 4, and 5) in the program. A letter is sent to each family briefly explaining the program. Those wishing to participate are required to attend a meeting where the goals benefits, and importance of good nutrition are reviewed and details of the program developed. Each child is assigned a numbered backpack that he/she would pick up after school on Fridays containing the nutritious snacks and then return it, empty, on Monday morning to the school. The program is continuously monitored as to its effectiveness in reaching its goals.
The Club finances this program with various fund raisers, grants, and donations. Much of the food is obtained from Feeding America at reduced prices.
If a child is coming to school needing clothing, most likely that child is going to be without the proper supplies for the school year. The Kiwanis Club of Christiansburg gives debit cards to the six Christiansburg schools to help these children with needed supplies.
This party is for over 50 local children whose families may not be able to give their children what they need and want for Christmas. Children are selected with the help of the local schools. Each child is asked to complete their Christmas wish list. Parents are asked to complete a clothing wish list for their child. The Kiwanis Club uses the funds from sponsorships and other various fundraisers to purchase the toys. Each Kiwanis member chooses a child to purchase the clothes for on their own. The children are invited to the Christmas party along with their parents for dinner. Santa arrives, calls each child to the front, and gives them their wrapped presents. The children also enjoy participating in Christmas carols throughout the evening.
Each year, the Kiwanis Club of Christiansburg provides a budgeted amount for high school students who need funds to further their education.
or by mail:
Kiwanis Club of Christiansburg
P.O. Box 313
Christiansburg, VA 24068
Other programs funded annually by the Club are: Intellectual Disabilities Agency of NRV, Agency on Aging, Boys and Girls State, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, CHS After Prom Event, CHS Cheerleaders and others request as approved by the Board.
Located off Roanoke Street, behind Southern States, Kiwanis Park was developed and is partially maintained by the Kiwanis Club of Christiansburg. This popular park has two lighted multi-purpose baseball/softball fields, two picnic shelters and playground equipment. The Town has incorporated the park into its recreational scheduling process which allows the park to be utilized to its potential. Another approximately five acres of adjoining land has been acquired and has become part of the park complex.
For those children who wish to participate in Town sports activities and cannot pay the entry fees, the Club works with the Recreation Center and the Aquatic Center and provides funds the fees.
Local schools see children arrive at school in clothing that is not appropriate for the climate or in clothing that is well worn. In many cases, these children's parents are unable to provide adequate clothing for them. To help resolve this issue, the Kiwanis Club of Christiansburg works with a committee at each of the six Christiansburg schools who selects children who are in need of clothing. The schools are given a debit card to purchase clothing for the selected children. Not only does this help with protecting the children from the climate but also from the lack of confidence that comes along with arriving to school in insufficient or torn clothing.
The CMS Builders Club was founded by the Kiwanis Club of Christiansburg. Kiwanis supports the organization financially and one of the members acts as the administrator. This is one of the youth organizations that falls under the Kiwanis International umbrella.