Sunday, July 2, 2017

YCPO - July 2017

July 2017

Good Morning fellow Kiwanians! 
Fact: Every year 60% of drownings occur in rural lakes, ponds and gravel pits.
Fact: Preventable injury is the number one killer of children in most developed countries.
Fact: In a single year more than 14 million children in the U.S. are injured seriously enough to require medical treatment.
Fact: Heat is much more dangerous to children than it is to adults. When left in a hot vehicle, a young child’s core body temperature can increase three to five times faster than that of an adult, which can cause permanent injury or even death. (“Children In And Around Cars”
It only takes one accident to permanently injure or kill a child. That is why parents and children need safety education. In the United States alone, several thousand children age 4 and under die each year because of accidental injuries. Forty-five times that number are hospitalized. The leading causes of death for children 1 to 4 years old are motor vehicles, fires/ burns, drowning, choking, poisonings and falls. When a serious accident does occur, special expertise and equipment may be needed to save the child’s life. That is why a pediatric trauma center should be linked to every community.
The Home Safety Checklist Brochure is designed to help protect family members from unintentional injuries. It is designed to be an easy room-to-room survey that will quickly point out dangers that need to be changed immediately. It covers the kitchen, basement and garages, outdoor play areas, bathroom, child's bedroom, play areas, windows, stairs and railings, electrical outlets, and fixtures, and general living areas.
Distribute this brochure to Pediatricians, Clinics, Day Care Center,
Health Fairs, Pre-school Programs, Health Department, Hospitals that offer Prenatal Classes or New Mom Classes.
This brochure covers tips for open water safety: never swim in drainage ditches, what to do in an emergency situation if a child is struggling in the water or if a child is unconscious in the water etc.
Distribute this brochure to schools, day care centers, Fire/Police Departments, Fishing Derby, any organized family day sponsored by Kiwanis, pool supply stores, public beach concession stands.
Set up a car seat program***
Kiwanis clubs can make sure that safety seats are available to everyone in the community by setting up a car seat loan program. This involves purchasing or securing donations of new car seats, establishing a location (car dealership, hospital, police station) from which the seats will be loaned or given, establishing the criteria for providing a seat to a family and making sure the people handing out the car seats have the training to install them properly.
Educate the community about scald burns***  
Smoke Alarm Safety
One-third of the smoke detectors installed in houses don’t work. If a fire occurs, they won’t make a sound, because most smoke alarms still contain their original batteries. A simple project can solve this problem: an annual campaign for everyone to check the batteries in their smoke detectors. This can involve ads in the local paper or distribution of fliers. This campaign can be expanded to include distribution of batteries and smoke detectors in neighborhoods.

Distribute Choke-Test Tubes
An adult learns about an object by looking at it. A young child learns about it by putting it in his mouth. Telling a toddler to stop putting objects in his mouth has little or no effect. The proper safety precaution is to make sure the child doesn’t play with toys on which he could choke, and there is a device—called a choke- test tube—that helps parents determine this. If a toy or the
smallest piece of a toy fit inside the tube, it is unsafe for children age 3 and under. The federal government has established a size for safe toys for kids under 3: A small part should be at least 1.25 inch diameter and 2.25 inch long. Any part smaller than this is a potential choking hazard. When parents shop for a toy, they need to make sure it has no parts smaller than these dimensions. Inexpensive,
clear plastic tubes that parents can use to test small parts are available from stores specializing in children’s toys and furnishings. A toilet paper roll or other empty cardboard tube would also work to test toys if a choke-test tube is unavailable. Distributing the tubes and educating parents could be a project by itself, or it could be part of a parenting fair or seminar.
Educate the Community About Poisons
The same impulse that leads a child to swallow a toy may impel him to drink or eat a poisonous substance. Clubs can help parents through an awareness campaign that reminds them to keep paints, cleaning compounds, beauty aids and even house plants out of the reach of young children. “Mr. Yuck” stickers can be distributed, so that parents can label poisonous substances with a consistent warning that they discuss with their children. Contact the local hospital or poison control center to get the stickers. Finally, a club could print and distribute copies of a chart that tells parents what to do if their children consume a poisonous substance. Educational pamphlets on poisons, designed for distribution in the community, are available from the National Safety Council at 800-621- 7619, and the American Academy of Pediatrics at 800-433-9016.
Lead Poisoning Awareness
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week: October 22-28, 2017
During  this year’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Week the National Center  for Healthy Housing  raises awareness about lead poisoning. For more information :
Support A Pediatric Trauma Program
****KIWANIS PEDIATRIC TRAUMA CENTER (KPTI) is supported by the Kiwanis Foundation of New England and other sponsors. Materials are available from KPTI which deal with prevention. ***materials available from KPTI
Support The Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in Your Areas
A club might consider starting any number of Young Children: Priority One projects at an area children’s hospital, and donate the funds raised for it through CMN. (Be sure that the hospital is a member of the Children’s Miracle Network.) Club members should discuss with the hospital’s CMN coordinator the possibility of setting up a special Kiwanis Young Children: Priority One fund, so that the club can have a better idea of how its funds are affecting the well-being of young children.
Car Safety In And Around Cars
Nearly 10% of motor vehicle related deaths DO NOT occur on public highways or in vehicular accidents or traffic, but happen in parking lots, driveways or when children are left unattended in vehicles. This is a serious public health issue and these deaths are totally preventable.

From 1998 to 2010, more than 494 children – most of them 2 years old and younger – died from heat stroke after being left or becoming trapped in a car.
These deaths fall into three main categories: children who were trapped while playing in a vehicle without supervision; children who were accidentally left behind; and children who were intentionally left alone in a car.
Leaving a child in a vehicle for a “quick” errand is a huge mistake. A delay of just a few minutes on a warm day can lead to tragedy.
Each year almost 2,500 children ages 1 to 14 go to emergency rooms with injuries sustained from a vehicle backing up. On average, another 230 kids in that same age group die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Danger can come from any direction, and children should never play in driveways, in parking lots or on sidewalks when vehicles are present.
For many kids, a car trunk looks like a fun place to play or hide. Tragically, many families have discovered that kids can get in but they can’t always get out. A trunk can be deadly for an unattended child.
Children can access trunks in several ways, even without having the vehicle’s keys. Most cars have a lever or button located near the driver’s seat that pops the trunk open, while other cars also have fold-down seats or a “pass through” that enables children to climb into the trunk from the back seat. Always lock all vehicle doors. For more information, a brochure and checklist for parents, go to
Kiwanis Clubs can help by increasing public awareness of this problem – distribute information at grocery stores, to childcare centers, pediatrician’s offices etc.
I hope there is at least one project that motivates you to do more for our children to promote safety in our communities. Imagine the lives and money we could save by promoting prevention education to parents and families. With the high cost of hospitalization, insurance and emergency room care today in the U.S. we could all do
our part to educate parents to keep their children safe and possibly lower rising health care costs.
Please remember that without the support of the Kiwanis Foundation of New England the Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Center Programs could not function.
So I hope your Club will consider making a donation to the KFNE, and if you wish the money to go to KPTI you can indicate “KPTI” on the memo line of your check. Kiwanis Clubs need to support these programs if we wish them to con

Ava Adams
Young Children Priority One, District Chair
New England and Bermuda District

YCPO - June 2017

JUNE 2017

Fact: Autism affects one in 68 children each year including 1 in 42 boys and their families.

Fact:  Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome.



Autism is becoming a global problem; more children will be diagnosed with Autism this year than AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the U.S. Early detection means earlier access to intervention during sensitive brain development. Most children today are diagnosed between the age of 3 and 6 rears. Approximately 75% to 86% of those children who receive early intervention services between the ages of 2 and 7 will develop some form of functional communication by age 9. It would be most beneficial to the child if diagnosis were to occur by 18 months of age. By detecting and diagnosing these disorders early on, intervention can be initiated earlier and positive results can occur.
The latest look at autism in the U.S. shows a startling 30 percent jump among 8-year-olds diagnosed with the disorder in a two-year period, to one in every 68 children  (including 1 in 42 boys) will be diagnosed with this disorder.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which did the survey, says the numbers almost certainly reflect more awareness and diagnosis of kids who would have been missed in years past. The new estimate for 2010 was a jump from one in 88 children in 2008, the last year for which numbers had been available.

“The number of children diagnosed with autism continues to rise,” the agency’s Dr. Coleen Boyle told reporters.
But the CDC noted that the numbers vary greatly from state to state, and it did not use a nationally representative sample, but a look at groups of children in 11 states.

There is NO link between autism and childhood vaccines, a major new study finds.
The systematic international review, first of its kind, conducted by University of Sydney researchers
“No statistical data to support a link between vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough and the development of autism or autism spectrum disorders.”


   CONTACT the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation ( for materials to distribute to pediatricians, clinics, parenting classes etc.  Autism rates today are 3 to 4 times higher than 30 years ago. It is imperative that we increase public awareness of the effects of autism on individuals and families. EDUCATE THE PULBIC!

   SUPPORT Camp Scholarships (run by ASDF)  which allow autistic children the opportunity to explore new horizons and develop social skills. 


Julia is the newest friend to join Elmo, Big Bird and the "Sesame Street" family in a new program designed to spread awareness about children with autism.
The bright-eyed and cheerful little girl plays an essential role in Sesame Street and Autism: See All in Amazing Children, an initiative launched to promote awareness about autism.
One in 68 U.S. children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A 2014 report by the CDC estimates that 1 in 42 boys has autism, 4.5 times as many as girls (1 in 189).
The Sesame Street and Autism: See All in Amazing Children program is available as an app and on desktop. It includes daily routine cards and resources to help family, friends and others who encounter children with autism.
Sesame Workshop partnered with 14 other organizations, including the Yale Child Study Center and Autism Speaks, on the initiative.


 Down syndrome occurs when some or all of a person’s cells have an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
There are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States in people of all races and economic levels.
The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother. But due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.
 People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer's disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives.

1   Donate
2   Shop NDSS
3   Partner
4   Attend an Event
5. Organize a Buddy Walk Event
   The Buddy Walk was established in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October and to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. Today, the Buddy Walk program is supported nationally by NDSS and organized at the local level by parent support groups, schools and other organizations and individuals.
   Over the past sixteen years, the Buddy Walk program has grown from 17 walks to nearly 300 expected in 2013 across the country and around the world. Last year alone, 285,000 people participated in a Buddy Walk! They raised more than $11.2 million to benefit local programs and services as well as the national advocacy initiatives that benefit all individuals with Down syndrome.
   The Buddy Walk is a one-mile walk in which anyone can participate without special training. It is an inspirational and educational event that celebrates the many abilities and accomplishments of people with Down syndrome. Whether you have Down syndrome, know someone who does, or just want to show your support,  join a Buddy Walk in your local community!


Support a Parenting Fair
Initiate a Home Support  Visitation Program for Pregnant/New            Moms
Start A Parent Helpline
Start A Family Resource Library
Support Childbirth Classes either financially or with educational          materials
HIPPY (Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters)

I hope that your Club can find one new project to do from all the information  I am including in my newsletters. If one new YCPO Project is done, then I have achieved my goal.  Of course I hope we all do more! We have lots of work to do;  let's  just do it!

Ava Adams
Young Children Priority One District Chair

New England and Bermuda District of Kiwanis

Monday, May 1, 2017

YCPO - May 2017

May 2017


SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.

More than 2,000 babies died of SIDS in 2010, the last year for which such statistics are available.

Most SIDS deaths occur when in babies between 1 month and 4 months of age, and the majority (90%) of SIDS deaths occur before a baby reaches 6 months of age. However SIDS deaths can occur anytime during a baby's first year.

SIDS is a sudden and silent medical disorder that can happen to an infant who 

Slightly more boys die of SIDS than do girls.

In the past, the number of SIDS deaths seemed to increase during the colder months of the year. But today, the numbers are more evenly spread throughout the calendar year.

SIDS rates for the United States have dropped steadily since 1994 in all racial and ethnic groups. Thousands of infant lives have been saved, but some ethnic groups are still at higher risk for SIDS.

Information provided by the Mayo Clinic

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old. SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs.
Although the cause is unknown, it appears that SIDS may be associated with abnormalities in the portion of an infant's brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep.

Researchers have discovered some factors that may put babies at extra risk. They've also identified some measures you can take to help protect your child from SIDS. Perhaps the most important measure is placing your baby on his or her back to sleep.


A combination of physical and sleep environmental factors can make an infant more vulnerable to SIDS. These factors may vary from child to child.
Physical factors
Physical factors associated with SIDS include:
   •    Brain abnormalities. Some infants are born with problems that make them more likely to die of SIDS. In many of these babies, the portion of the brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep isn't yet mature enough to work properly.
   •    Low birth weight. Premature birth or being part of a multiple birth increases the likelihood that a baby's brain hasn't matured completely, so he or she has less control over such automatic processes as breathing and heart rate.
   •    Respiratory infection.  Many infants who died of SIDS had recently had a cold, which may contribute to breathing problems.

Sleep environmental factors
The items in a baby's crib and his or her sleeping position can combine with a baby's physical problems to increase the risk of SIDS. Examples include:
   •    Sleeping on the stomach or side. Babies who are placed on their stomachs or sides to sleep may have more difficulty breathing than those placed on their backs.
   •    Sleeping on a soft surface. Lying face down on a fluffy comforter or a waterbed can block an infant's airway. Draping a blanket over a baby's head also is risky.
   •    Sleeping with parents. While the risk of SIDS is lowered if an infant sleeps in the same room as his or her parents, the risk increases if the baby sleeps in the same bed — partly because there are more soft surfaces to impair breathing.
Risk factors

Although sudden infant death syndrome can strike any infant, researchers have identified several factors that may increase a baby's risk. They include:
   •    Sex. Boys are more likely to die of SIDS.
   •    Age. Infants are most vulnerable during the second and third months of life.
   •    Race. For reasons that aren't well-understood, black, American Indian or Alaska Native infants are more likely to develop SIDS.
   •    Family history. Babies who've had siblings or cousins die of SIDS are at higher risk of SIDS.
   •    Secondhand smoke. Babies who live with smokers have a higher risk of SIDS.
   •    Being premature. Both being born early and having low birth weight increase your baby's chances of SIDS.

Maternal risk factors
During pregnancy, the risk of SIDS is also affected by the mother, especially if she:
   •    Is younger than 20
   •    Smokes cigarettes
   •    Uses drugs or alcohol
   •    Has inadequate prenatal care
   •    Educate the public  by distributing this information at Health Faits, Pediatrician'sOffices, OB/GYN Offices, Urgent Care Facilities,  Day Care Providers etc. 
   •    Attached to this email is a brochure from Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Institute,  Boston, MA. which can be reproduced and distributed.

The following is an online website where new parents/caregivers can sign up for educational
information and a baby box to help prevent SIDS:

Young Children Priority One (Y.C.P.O.) District Chair
New England and Bermuda District

Saturday, April 8, 2017

YCPO - April 2017

APRIL 2017 

Good Morning fellow Kiwanians!

Fact: An estimated 905,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect in one year in the United States.
(YCPO bulletin "Prevention of Child Abuse”)

Fact: In 80% of child abuse and neglect cases, the alleged abusers are overwhelmed, stressed parents who took their frustrations out on their own children; in other cases child abuse results because some parents were abused as children and never learned how to be a good parent. 
(YCPO bulletin "Parents Anonymous”)

Fact: A child from a low-income family enters kindergarten with a listening vocabulary of 3,000 words, while a child from a high-income family enters with a listening vocabulary of 20,000 words.
(YCPO bulletin "Reading is Fundamental”)

In the United States, April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. A Kiwanis club could assist lo-cal events for Child Abuse Prevention Month in a variety of ways: 
Recognition event. Hold a luncheon, dinner, award ceremony or other event to publicly thank child protection workers, foster parents, a media personality or others who have made a significant contribution to preventing child abuse.
• Publicity. Send press releases to local radio and television stations.
• Proclamation. Work with the sponsoring organization to have government leaders issue 
proclamations supporting Child Abuse Prevention Month.

• Church events. Contact places of worship and propose that they set aside a weekend to 
celebrate children and families. Suggest a sermon or discussion on disciplining without shouting or spanking, reaching out to parents having difficulty with their children or the im-portance of positive parenting for physical, emotional and spiritual good health. 
• Blue ribbon campaign. Urge everyone in the community to wear a blue ribbon during April, to show that they know child abuse is an important problem. If appropriate, make the wearing of the blue ribbon a reminder of a child in the community who died from child abuse during the past year. 
• Kids day. Organize a “Kids for Kids” parade dedicated to children featuring children. 


One of the best ways for a Kiwanis club to effect change in child abuse situations is to work with or-ganizations already addressing the problem. In many countries there is a group dedicated to prevent-ing child abuse through public education, such as UNICEF and the International Society for Preven-tion of Child Abuse and Neglect. The United States is fortunate to have chapters of Prevent Child Abuse America in most areas. Using their website,, you can find your local chapter. 

Most child abuse prevention organizations have public awareness materials that they will share with Kiwanis clubs. Rather than starting from scratch, clubs should seek out these organizations and ask permission to use printed and video public service announcements, radio spots or art for fliers and brochures. Some also offer “op-ed” pieces that can be submitted to newspapers 

The YCPO bulletin “Prevention of Child Abuse” has much more detailed information on how Kiwanis Clubs can get involved in the prevention of child abuse. You will find a sample press release, a sam-ple flier on “Messy Fun Day”, a sample flyer on “Winning Ways With Children When Eating Out” which can be distributed to day care centers etc., and a sample shopping bag stuffer on “What to do in the grocery store to help kids behave” (which can be distributed at grocery stores), and “What to say or do when parents abuse their children in public”. I encourage you to check out this bulletin and possibly do a new YCPO project (big or small) on the prevention of child abuse. for the bulletin.  The “Prevention of Child Abuse” Bulletin is an attach-ment to this email.

Below are two additional websites providing current information on child abuse infor-mation: and

This information was sent by former Kiwanis International President Wil Blechman, current President of the Young Children Priority One Advisory Committee.

 "approximately 1500 of these abused children die annually. Worse, yet, is the torture some of these children undergo prior to death.

Another point to be made, which I don't believe is in the Kiwanis newsletter, is that in the U.S., more than three million reports are actually called in to the various state investigating agencies. While less than a million of these are confirmed, there is little question in the minds of experts in the field that there are likely a significant number which couldn't be proven but still actually occurred. Furthermore, what reinforces this as a Kiwanis Young Children: Priority One issue in the percentage of child abuse deaths that occur before the age of five.

The information you have provided, as well as that which I've added as additional resources, suggest how much society pays in the future because of what we don't do to prevent problems early in life. Money is wasted because we have adults who can't function normally as a result of childhood abuse and end up in poor health, unable to learn, in jail or simply in situations where they take from society in the form of whatever safety nets are available rather than being able to provide positively to society.”

I hope your Club will consider doing a YCPO project to help prevent Child Abuse. Every child deserves to be born into a world knowing and expecting warmth, love, nourishment and security. And isn't this what Ki-wanis is all about?

Ava Adams, District Chair 2016-17
Early Childhood Development/Y.C.P.O.
Scarborough, Maine
New England and Bermuda District!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

YCPO - March 2017

(information provided by Mayo Clinic)

It is estimated that 1,000-3,000 children in the United States suffer from SBS each year.*
One fourth of victims of SBS die, and 80 percent of survivors suffer from permanent damage.*
In the United States, the costs of hospitalization and continuing care for SBS victims can total 1.2 to 1.6 billion dollars each year.*
Some estimate that up to half of infant deaths caused by child abuse are due to shaken baby syndrome.*
Shaken Baby Syndrome and its resultant injuries can occur within seconds of a child be shaken violently.*

Shaken baby syndrome — also known as abusive head trauma, shaken impact syndrome, inflicted head injury or whiplash shake syndrome — is a serious brain injury resulting from forcefully shaking an infant or toddler.
Shaken baby syndrome destroys a child's brain cells and prevents his or her brain from getting enough oxygen. Shaken baby syndrome is a form of child abuse that can result in permanent brain damage or death.

Shaken baby syndrome is preventable. Help is available for parents who are at risk of harming a child. Parents also can educate other caregivers about the dangers of shaken baby syndrome.

Shaken baby syndrome symptoms and signs include:
Extreme irritability
Difficulty staying awake
Breathing problems
Poor eating
Pale or bluish skin

Other injuries that may not be initially noticeable include bleeding in the brain and eye, damage to the spinal cord and neck and fractures of the ribs, skull and bones. Evidence of prior child abuse also is common.
In mild cases of shaken baby syndrome, a child may appear normal after being shaken, but over time he or she may develop health, learning or behavior prob-lems.

When to see a doctor
Seek immediate help if you suspect your child has been injured by violent shaking.
Contact your child's doctor or take your child to the nearest emergency room. Get-ting medical care right away may save your child's life or prevent serious health problems.
Health care professionals are legally required to report all suspected cases of child abuse to state authorities.

Babies have weak neck muscles and often struggle to support their heavy heads. If a baby is forcefully shaken, his or her fragile brain moves back and forth inside the skull. This causes bruising, swelling and bleeding.
Shaken baby syndrome usually occurs when a parent or caregiver severely shakes a baby or toddler due to frustration or anger — often because the child won't stop crying.

Shaken baby syndrome isn't usually caused by bouncing a child on your knee, mi-nor falls or even rough play.

For parents and other caregivers, factors that may increase the risk of inflicting shaken baby syndrome include:
Unrealistic expectations of babies
Young or single parenthood
Domestic violence
Alcohol or substance abuse
Unstable family situations
A history of mistreatment as a child

Also, men are more likely to inflict shaken baby syndrome than are women.

Just a few seconds of shaking an infant can cause irreversible brain damage. Many children affected by shaken baby syndrome die.
Survivors of shaken baby syndrome may require lifelong medical care for condi-tions such as:
Partial or total blindness
Hearing loss
Developmental delays, learning problems or behavior issues
Mental retardation
Seizure disorders
Cerebral palsy


Educate the public by distributing this information at Health Faits, Pediatrician’s Offices, OB/GYN Offices, Urgent Care Facilities, Day Caare providers etc.

Also attached in this email is a pdf brochure from Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Institute, Bost, MA/ and a pdf from
Kiwanis International called “All Babies Cry”. Both attach-ments can be reproduced and distributed.

Ava Adams
Young Children Priority One, District Chair
New Egland and Bermuda District

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

YCPO - February 2017



            NEW ENGLAND AND BERMUDA DISTRICT                                               February 2017

Good Morning fellow Kiwanians!

Fact: Sensitive interactions with adults do more to promote brain development than any toy CD or DVD. Preschools should deliver services that enable adults to have rich interactions with children.(Connecting Neutrons, Concepts and People, Brain Development and Its Implications;NIEER pamphlet, PEW Foundation)

Fact: The first five years of life are the most important for learning and developing skills; it is extremely important that high quality day care be available.("Child Care" pamphlet; Y.C.P.O. Kiwanis International)

Fact: Early care has a decisive and long-lasting impact on how people develop, their ability to learn, and their capacity to regulate their emotions.("Brain Development" booklet, Y.C.P.O. Kiwanis International)
This month I will focus on the second area of Y.C.P.O:

 A human being learns more in the first six years than during any other time in his or her life. But children can’t learn in a vacuum. They need people to talk and listen to, books to admire and enjoy, opportunities to explore, a safe sanctuary and warm hugs and toys. Children deserve such an environment, but for many, such opportunities are not available or affordable. Kiwanis clubs can help change that. In the United States, more than 10 million children under the age of 6 have their only parent or both parents in the labor force. In fact, only seven percent of families have the traditional” structure, with a stay-at-home parent who takes care of the children while the other parent is the breadwinner. Today, child care is a necessity for parents and for the businesses that employ them. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of high quality child-care providers, and no coherent system exists that solves this problem. Kiwanis clubs can be part of the solution on the local level. 

What can Kiwanians do? 
  Get involved and help support the following programs: 
Health programs that emphasize early identification of health problems. Medical, dental, vision and mental health services. Parent-involvement programs that help educate parents about their children’s needs and about good parenting skills, as well as involve them in everything from playtime to policy making. Parent training in the recognition of the signs and symptoms of child abuse, neglect, exploitation, shaken baby syndrome and failure to thrive. Awareness of and assistance in obtaining social services from local agencies is crucial because the more support these parents receive, the more time and attention they can devote to the needs of their children at this critical stage. Awareness of services for special needs children that meet the needs of  children with mental retardation, health, hearing, speech or language impairments, visual handicaps, emotional disturbances, learning disabilities and orthopedic handicaps.

The Head Start program provides grants to local public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families, with a special focus on helping preschoolers develop the early reading and math skills they need to be successful in school. In FY 1995, the Early Head Start program was established to serve children from birth to three years of age in recognition of the mounting evidence that the earliest years matter a great deal to children's growth and development.

  Head Start programs promote school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families. They engage parents in their children's learning and help them in making progress toward their educational, literacy and employment goals. Significant emphasis is placed on the involvement of parents in the administration of local Head Start programs.


  Work with children 
Members can provide enrichment activities in areas where they visit schools  and tell students about particular careers  or hobbies. Explain what it’s like to be a dentist, firefighter, soldier or secretary, or a stamp collector, gardener or service-club volunteer. Sharing hobbies is another good way to involve Service Leadership club members. Keep your presentation simple and brief, and try to make it interesting for very young children. Centers may conduct regular field trips that make the children aware of their community and introduce them to different types of activities they might pursue later in life. 

   Purchase materials and GIVE BOOKS
 Another way your club can support programs is to purchase materials that will improve the staff’s professional skills or give the children and their parents new opportunities for development. Special educational materials for the children might include developmental toys and books for learn-while-you-laugh games and programs. For the teachers and staff, funds can be spent on valuable resource materials or training seminars. Each center has information on recommended materials and probably has a wish list” of particular items that would be most useful. Resource materials can be valuable for parents too. Parents may never have had the courage or desire to frequent the public or school library. At the Head Start center, your club could establish a lending library of materials that parents can borrow and return on a sign-out basis. 

  Another project idea: THE BACKPACK PROGRAM Promote/support a Backpack Program for children in need. Supply backpacks and nonperishable food that is distributed to hungry children on Friday for food during the weekend. In many cases this is the only food the children have all weekend. The backpacks are returned on Monday and then filled and redistribute again on Friday. This project is currently going on in many communities across the U.S.  Kiwanis Clubs work with sponsors and the local schools to identify the children in need. 



click below to find information about the various programs offered by Scholastic
including discount book orders.

www/ a difference by buying books from the online bookstore,  Better World Books. This organization donates a portion of every sale to support literacy initiatives worldwide; helping to raise funds for the March of Dimes and UNICEF. You can also donate books and they will be recycled into homes where children need books and raise funds at the same time. get started at

www.the reading
provide boxes of books for age groups through high school at discount prices, i.e. books for 1-5yr olds, books for K4-2nd graders.

  www.kiwanisone/ and read the brochure entitled Early Childhood Development”

If your Club is a nonprofit 501(c)3 you can apply for a grant from the Molina Foundation
for books to be given to high poverty schools(more than 65% on the federal meal programs). Register at and you will receive a grant application during the year. You must be a 501(c)3 and agree to give books for ownership to children

Make a difference by buying books from the online bookstore,  Better World Books. This organization donates a portion of every sale to support literacy initiatives worldwide; helping to raise funds for the March of Dimes and UNICEF. You can also donate books and they will be recycled into homes where children need books and raise funds at the same time. get started at

www.the reading
provide boxes of books for age groups through high school at discount prices, i.e. books for 1-5yr olds, books for K4-2nd graders, 3rd-5th grade etc. or for individual grad levels.

If your Club is a nonprofit 501(c)3 you can apply for a grant from the Molina Foundation
for books to be given to high poverty schools(more than 65% on the federal meal programs). Register at and you will receive a grant application during the year. You must be a 501(c)3 and agree to give books for ownership to children in high poverty schools or refurbish libraries with books.

Supplies books for all grant levels at reduced prices through their grant program. Check it out!

For more information on Early Childhood Development go to
www.kiwanisone/ycpo and read the brochure entitled “Early Childhood Development”

Thank you for all that you do for Kiwanis and your communities!

Ava Adams, District Chair 2015-16
Early Childhood Development/Y.C.P.O.
Scarborough, Maine
New England and Bermuda District!