by Tim Lee
A constant forgotten thought isthe concern for the children in our communities. As we look around, things like abuse, neglect, and hunger often remain behind closed doors and by the time the general population sees it in the open, we are seeing a very small piece of a very exaggerated darkness behind the scenes.
Kiwanis Club has been in Great Falls since September of 1920, and sees these children. “Kids need adults who care. That’s why people join Kiwanis clubs. They’re local groups of like-minded volunteers who make a difference. Friends, neighbors, anyone who loves serving together to change children’s lives. In fact, Kiwanians are part of a global network of clubs and members who partner with each other and with organizations whose missions align with ours. All around the world — and in communities like yours — Kiwanis International is serving the kids who need us most.” That is the quote that can be found on Kiwanis. org, and though they span the globe, Mark Cappis of Cappis Consulting and Tax will be the first to tell you, it is organizations like this that make a community strong.
It sounds incredible, and seeing people strongly invested in children in our local community just makes sense. But organizations like this go unseen often, and attendance and support has died over the years. “I think it is social media’s fault,” says Mark. In a world driven by negative social media, services like Kiwanis go unnoticed due to the lack of shock and awe that negativity carries through social media. “We have fifteen people and would love to triple our attendance by the end of the year. But we do have new young people signing up.”
But even with just fifteen people, Kiwanis has been a part of some incredible outreaches. “Over the years we have built three parks, raised funds for Paris Gibson Square, The Children’s Museum, C.M. Russel l Museum, The History Museum, Rivers Edge Trail, and Eagle Mount. We sponsor Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, and two Key Clubs, and this year we are doing “Trunk or Treat” on the 29th of October at Salvation Army from 2pm to 4pm. People can register for that, decorate their cars and we will have hamburgers and hotdogs for sale and hot chocolate with 30-40 stations. Usually about 300-400 people show up. We enjoy doing it and everyone who participates enjoys it.”
Beyond social media, Mark and their team know times have simply changed. “Now versus fifty years ago, you have dual income families and more events to be invested in with your kids. Time that you simply get involved! “Whether it’s Kiwanis, Optimists, or whatever, it is important to get involved in the community to make it a better place.
If everyone is doing better and kids are on track, we reduce crime, and when we reduce crime, everyone’s business flourishes.”
Kiwanis in Great Falls meets at noon on Tuesdays at Clark and Lewie’s restaurant in the O’Haire Motor Inn. Everyone is welcome and you can be the next person to make a difference in your community! Get your family involved and be the reason Great Falls will thrive in the future. Learn more about Kiwanis at Kiwanis.org and follow Kiwanis in Great Falls on their Facebook page at facebook.com/kiwanisclubofgreatfalls.