What truths have constituted the Kiwanis Family House legacy for the past 32 years?
- Serving families dealing with serious illness or injury.
- Offering a temporary home away from home.
- Housing guests from more than 30 countries and from every state in the U.S.
- Family members located within five minutes of their hospitalized loved ones.
- Saving families while the medical professionals save lives.
- Rallying hundreds of Kiwanis clubs and Service Leadership Partners in support of one awesome, ongoing program.
Certainly, there are many enterprises in cities around the world that share a similar mission. Several hundred Ronald McDonald Houses have undoubtedly established the largest footprint and the highest profile. My, what those houses have done to brand their renowned charitable program!
For Kiwanis Family House, one additional unique truth has always helped define us: Our house in the California-Nevada-Hawaii District has been the only one anywhere in the world built by and continuously operated by Kiwanis. While we have taken a certain pride in that distinction, no one should interpret that pride as our desire to remain the only Kiwanis House. We are often asked why there are not Kiwanis Family Houses in other cities, states, or countries. So many families dealing with medical crisis in an unfamiliar location need a place of respite.
While attending the International Convention in Toronto last month, we learned that Kiwanians in another region were “weeks away” from announcing their commitment to creating temporary lodging facilities for families traveling to a new children’s hospital in their area. I will not identify them here since they have not yet issued their formal announcement. Needless to say we are proud of our Kiwanis friends who will embark on this rewarding mission. Most importantly, we are comforted in knowing that each family they serve will be eternally grateful to Kiwanis for providing lodging and comfort during a frightening chapter in their lives.
The Toronto convention was important to us for a couple of other reasons. The Kiwanis International staff produced a brief video promoting our Kiwanis Family House. They aired the two-and-a-half minute promotional piece during the convention’s closing session. The international-level visibility during the convention led to casual conversations about a vision for the future within Cal-Nev-Ha.
In this future, Kiwanis has built Family Houses in other metropolitan locations across the three states, supporting hospitals in Las Vegas, Honolulu, Reno, and various Southern California, Bay Area, and Central Valley counties. In this future, Kiwanis Family Houses around the District help brand Cal-Nev-Ha Kiwanis as a premier service organization, a brand that emerges as an integral element of a resurging Kiwanis membership.
If I have sparked a vision with you, let’s talk.