The Atascadero Kiwanis Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The club was chartered on May 22, 1969, and currently has very close to 100 men and women in its membership. Over the past 50 years, those members have provided more than 200,000 hours of labor to projects that benefit senior citizens, teens, school and community sports, nonprofits and individuals. Monetary donations from the club, for everything from scholarships to a new bandstand at the edge of Atascadero Lake, total more than $1 million.
The club’s first community project in 1969 was to rebuild the dilapidated bandstand at the lake park. And for the past half-century, that performance venue has remained important to the club. In 2010, Kiwanians led the construction and financing of a completely new bandstand. Many local clubs joined the Kiwanians in funding the construction of the new “Centennial Bandstand” which was dedicated to the City of Atascadero in 2013, the city’s 100th anniversary.
Over the years, Kiwanians have built concrete tables and benches throughout the community, set in place benches and bus stops on El Camino Real, helped construct an equestrian arena and barbecue facilities at Paloma Park, partially financed and totally constructed a children’s facility at the El Camino Homeless Organization homeless shelter and more.
The club sponsors a teen group at Atascadero High School called Circle K, and Aktion Club for adults with physical or mental challenges.
With Kiwanis dollars and/or muscle — in many cases both — the club has helped Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the library, the Women’s Resource Center, Charles Paddock Zoo, Loaves and Fishes food bank and the Salvation Army, just to name a few.
Nine years ago the club started its Kiwanis and Mayors’ Winemaker Dinner. The club made the first significant monetary donation to the construction of the Parents for Joy inclusive playground, more than $90,000 over three years to Boys & Girls Club of North County (which was matched by Must! Charities) and last year awarded $62,000 to the Atascadero Lighthouse program’s L.A.M.P. — Lighthouse Atascadero Mentor Program.
From building a mountain of snow for the city’s seasonal Christmas celebration to sponsoring the school district’s Battle of the Books each Spring, the club adheres to Kiwanis International’s mission: “…a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.”
The organization now owns its own meeting hall, the former American Association of Retired Persons building near the Pavilion on the Lake. Improvements have already been made on the inside and outside, and earlier this year a barbecue facility was completed which is available for rent by the public.
Membership is open to adult men and women. For additional information, visit the club’s website at sites.google.com/site/kiwanisclubatascadero or call 805-466-8529.