FROM STAFF REPORTS
Aurora -- In February 1952, a group of civic-minded Aurorans established a Kiwanis Club dedicated to he support and development of youth to become good citizens through community service and academic prowess.
The club continues to exist, and has supported many causes by raising funds from a pancake breakfast, golf outing and Christmas dance. It will host the annual pancake breakfast March 24 (Palm Sunday) from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Harmon School.
The club has raised more than $200,000 for scholarships to deserving graduates of Aurora High School, and the success has resulted because of the community's support throughout the years.
The club also has been a strong supporter of Scouting and has been the sponsoring organization for Boy Scout Troop 265. The Scouts will help out at the pancake breakfast, which will be the club's only fundraising effort this year.
The event runs from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. tickets at the door are $6 for adults, $3 for ages 7 to 12 and free for those under 3. Advanced tickets can be purchased at Aurora's main fire station for $5 and $2, respectively.
In addition to the breakfast, there will be a Chinese raffle and drawing for a local youth to serve as "fireman for a day." A fire truck and firefighters will be on hand.
In its early years, the club established a Key Club at Aurora High School, and those members devote after-school time during the school year to community service projects that help those in need.
KIWANIS ALSO functioned as an early sports boosters organization, providing funding for an electronic scoreboard at the football field, sponsoring youth baseball teams, providing uniforms and developing the July 4 celebration, during which the club funded and manned games for children and promoted the parade with neighborhood and organizational floats.
During the Christmas holidays, the club donated food baskets to needy families in Aurora, and to this day conducts a Dial-A-Santa call-in program where club members serving as Santa talk to hundreds of children.
From the late 1970s to early 1990s, the Kiwanis Club funded and completed three major civic projects.
• First was the funding and construction of the Bicentennial Park gazebo near the library, which brought a design focal point to the city center.
• Second was the development and funding of an intramural soccer program for elementary and middle school-age children. The club provided equipment and uniforms, developed fields and trained and provided coaches for each team. The varsity soccer program is the culmination of that effort.
• The third major project was funding and building the Kiwanis-Moore playground beside the main fire station to provide a safe and fun environment for children. The club continues to provide support for improvements at the playground.
More recently, the Kiwanis Club joined forces with the Rotary Club of Aurora to create the Moebius Nature Center on East Mennonite Road, where children and adults can learn to appreciate the beauty of local flora and fauna.