For more than 60 years the Kiwanis Club of Elm Grove Golden K (EGGK) has been active in the Elm Grove and the surrounding communities. Here is a brief history of the organization as written by EGGK member Jerry McCormick.
In 1955 the St. Lawrence Seaway opened ocean traffic to Lake Michigan, the first McDonald's was opened, Elvis Presley made his first TV appearance, the Salk Polio Vaccine was approved and the Kiwanis Club of Elm Grove was chartered. Kiwanis Governor Herbert Ainsworth presented the Charter to the first Club President, Arthur Reddemann on June 7, 1955.
Over the years, a variety of community projects were supported especially for handicapped children and Scouting. A complete Fitness Trail for Elm Grove's Village Park and a Fire Prevention Program for all Elm Grove Schools was completed.
In 1983 the Kiwanis Elm Grove Golden K Club was converted to the Golden K Club which appeals to retirees and focuses on community service through volunteering time and money. Originally, the meetings were held at the Community Room at the Elm Grove Village Hall. Shortly after that time, the Senior Center at St. Mary's Church became available and regular Friday morning 9:30 a.m. meetings have been held there ever since.
Today there are over 80 members with about two-thirds living in Elm Grove and Brookfield. Their ages range from 53 to 95. The Club membership consists mostly of retired business and professional people. Their professional backgrounds are primarily Engineering, Education, Manufacturing, Banking and Finance.
The Elm Grove Golden K Club is a member of Kiwanis International headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kiwanis was started in Detroit, Michigan in 1915 by Alan Simpson Browne a lawyer and super salesman. The idea was to develop a fraternity of brotherhood with social and commercial benefits. At first they pushed street improvements, better street lighting and other similar community improvements. As these areas were improved there was a shift from this focus of making communities better to making people's lives better, especially children.
Over the years there have been many changes. One thing that hasn't changed is the commitment to community service. Current projects are Cub Scout Pack 156 - at Tonawanda Elementary School. Kiwanis Club of Elm Grove Golden K (EGGK) is the sponsor for the Cub Pack which is a repeat national Journey to Excellence Award winner. Over 70 boys from this Pack have become Eagle Scouts.
Camp Long Lake Boy Scout Camp – Maintaining the Kiwanis Kabin which houses the Boy Scout camp leaders when Summer Camp is in session.
Easter Seals Camp Camp Wawbeek – Providing scholarships for handicapped campers. Money is raised through collection and sale of used computer printer cartridges, used cell phones, aluminum cans and tabs.
BCHS Key Club – Sponsoring this 350+ member Kiwanis family service club at Brookfield Central High School. This is one of the largest and most active Key Clubs in Wisconsin. Several academic scholarships to graduating senior club members are awarded annually.
WIA Key Club - Chartered and Sponsor of this new Kiwanis family service club at Wisconsin International Adademy.
Books for Kids – the Club collects and donates books for children.
Greater Waukesha Literacy Council – Providing volunteer tutoring services, monetary funding, provide readers and donate books for the Dr. Suess program.
Bell Ringing for the Salvation Army – Golden K volunteers, Key Club and Cub Scouts ring the bells before Christmas at area locations. Money raised is about $5,000 per year.
Adopt a Highway Clean Up – Responsible for regular litter clean-up of a three mile stretch of Highway K (Lisbon Road) going west from Pilgrim Road.
Food Bank – Collecting funds, Cereal boxes and volunteering in Waukesha County Food Bank.
Autism Project – The Club has joined the 141 Kiwanis Clubs in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan to raise $500,000 to provide iPads to 1,000 children with Autism whose families are recommended by school counselors. The iPads are furnished with apps for learning language and math, for communicating wants and needs and for iTunes/Apps for calming behavior especially selected for each student. EGGK has raised $22,000 for 48 iPads presented to area students with Autism.
Support for these and many other Community Service projects comes primarily from members' commitment to volunteering service and personally subscribing funds as needed. More than $50,000 has been raised for supporting education, especially for youth. All funds are managed and accounted for through the Kiwanis Club of Elm Grove Golden-K Foundation, Inc. which is a non-profit 501c3 to facilitate the Club's noble activities.
Many people may never be called upon or be able to do great things on this earth. They probably can't change the world but they can make the world a better place. They can change many smaller things with great success. All they really have to do is focus on those smaller acts of greatness that they can do right now. This has been the noble purpose and function of the Elm Grove Kiwanis Club for the past 60 years.