In 1993, the Government of Canada designated November 20th as National Child Day in commemoration of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. A key objective of the UN Convention is to increase awareness and understanding of the factors that contribute to healthy child development, particularly in the early years of life.
“We have taken the spirit of the UN Convention to heart – every day is child day for the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa” said President Ian Hendry. “Our Club’s major emphasis is Young Children Priority One”.
With 252 members from the private and public sectors, the Club spearheads a number of high profile fund raising events in addition to spending many volunteer hours in hands-on projects that directly benefit young children in our local and global community: Reading is Fundamental. Pilot project underway at Connaught Public School Program was designed to encourage and promote literacy in children ages four and five from families where English or French is not spoken at home. Twenty-five Kiwanis volunteers read to these children from age and content appropriate books each week. At the end of the school year, the children may choose one of the books to retain. All materials and volunteers are supplied by the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa.
Shaken Baby Syndrome. Five partners (Kiwanis Club of Ottawa, Kiwanis International Foundation, CHEO Foundation, Health Canada, and Champions for Children) produced a video that examines the demands that babies put on parents and caregivers. The video helps these individuals deal with their frustration and fatigue to ensure that babies do not suffer from the effect of violent shaking that can result in permenant brain damage or death.
Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD). IDD is the single greatest source of mental retardation in children worldwide and is treatable through the provision of iodized salt. Kiwanis is working with UNICEF on this worldwide Service Project to eradicate this problem. The Kiwanis Club of Ottawa has committed to providing $50,000 of support, with $30,000 already contributed. Monies are being raised through such programs as the “Miles for Toonies.”
Kiwanis Duck Race for Tiny Hearts: Each year the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa coordinates the world's largest and most successful Duck Race, raising over $3 million for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. The Kiwanis Club of Ottawa is celebrating 81 years of active fundraising and community involvement as a non-profit organization.
The largest Kiwanis Club in Canada, and with over $600,000 returned to the local community each year, the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa is one of the most active and dynamic service clubs in the world. One of the 8 000 Clubs in Kiwanis International, the Club has met every Friday since 1917 at the Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa.