I was just asked on Monday how we, the members of the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica, raise such an impressive amount of funds to be able to give away over $150,000 in grants and scholarships to local organizations and students every year. The answer is, we raise it. And we raise it by gambling. That’s right, we are so good at gambling we can count on our winnings every year to help fund our charitable programs. But of course I mean gambling to raise money for charity. In fact, our 7th Annual Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament is coming up this Saturday. The whole community is invited to join in the fun and play poker for a good cause.

All of the titans of Santa Monica industry will be there wearing their lucky shirts and their poker hats, and with their rabbits feet and troll dolls tucked into their pockets for good luck. I cannot possibly predict a winner, but since I am a gambling person after all, I am willing to wager we’ll see the likes of Eddie Guerboian, Andrew Valdivia, Abeer Sweis, Judi Barker, Dave Rosenberg and Patty Tazi at the final table competing for the nine amazing prizes up for grabs. There is plenty of room for competition, and anything can happen. But I am sure of one thing, the excitement, the camaraderie and the trash talking will keep everyone entertained all night.

This year, with funds raised through community events like the Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament, the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica is extremely excited to be donating $50,000 for new playground equipment at Ozone Park. The old playground equipment had to be removed for safety reasons, but there were no funds available to replace it, including the most popular piece of equipment, the 30-year-old slide, until the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica stepped up.

When the children who enjoy Ozone Park were asked what they would like to have in a playground they asked for more places to climb, elevated towers and platforms, forts or tree-houses, and of course, a new slide. With the equipment options in hand, a presentation was made to the neighborhood residents and their children, who then enthusiastically provided input on the desired playground equipment. One child even wrote a poem about it!

The Borderline neighborhood in which Ozone Park is located is a densely populated area of predominantly small single-family homes with small lots and no yards. This is a neighborhood that is made up of young families who consistently demonstrate pride of ownership of their neighborhood by helping to maintain their park; helping to pick up when The City falls short. Choosing Ozone Park as a place to make this substantial grant was a yearlong project for the members of the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica, The City of Santa Monica Recreation and Parks Commission and the neighbors of Ozone Park. When presented with the news that the playground would be built, Patricia Godon-Tann, chairperson of the Borderline neighborhood stated, “this is the best thing that has ever happened to our neighborhood.”

The ribbon cutting for the new playground is Aug. 30, and the community is enthusiastically invited to help us celebrate at Ozone Park with the Borderline neighborhood!

To sign up for the 7th Annual Texas Hole’em Poker Tournament and be part of the excitement, please visit our website www.KiwanisClubSM.org! The event will be at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel this Saturday evening, Aug. 15, starting at 5 p.m. Registration includes a gourmet buffet dinner, a cocktail, raffle ticket and $2,000 worth of chips.

Since 1922 the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica has been the most active service organization in Santa Monica. Each year the club awards over $120,000 to our community in the form of grants, scholarships and sponsorships. Regular club lunch meetings are the first three Wednesdays of the month from 12 to 1:30 p.m. To join us or to donate to Kiwanis Charities, please visit our website, www.KiwanisClubSM.org or follow us on Facebook at kiwanisclubsm.org.

Jessica Handy is a member of the Santa Monica Kiwanis Club.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *