By Jessica Handy

The Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica is the lead sponsor again this year for two outstanding upcoming community events. The Santa Monica Public Library’s Super Seuss-A-Bration! is March 5 at the main branch. The Kiwanis Club provides crafts and books and entertainment for the kids in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the love of learning to read. All kids are invited to this free event and to come meet the Cat in the Hat! And in its 20th year, the extremely popular Bowl-a-Thon benefitting the Westside Coalition on April 27 is presented by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica. Polish up those bowling shoes because the whole community will be there!

Speaking of the whole community, the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica has taken the revolutionary step of partnering with the other service clubs in Santa Monica to do some extraordinary things for our community together. The leaders of the Lions Club, Rotary Club, Jaycees, Bay Woman’s Club, the Breakfast Club and the Kiwanis Club have begun meeting on a quarterly basis. The goals of what we’re calling the “Leadership Lunch” group is to work together to increase awareness, membership and community impact of all of the service clubs in Santa Monica. Never in the long history of the local service clubs has there been a cooperative partnership among them and we are so proud to be the leaders who are making this happen.

Just by having the communication lines open between the clubs, the Leadership Lunch partnership will help to enhance the respective missions of all of the service clubs. For example, the Rotary Club recently hosted a special Art for the Blind event. Rotary President Tom Loo says, “we realize now that activity would have been a good partnership project with the Lion’s Club whose mission it is to prevent blindness and save sight around the world. With our Leadership Lunch group we can now make those kinds of partnerships happen.”

Our collective activities will include a membership drive and a holiday fundraising event for all of the nonprofits in the community. As the planning for our activities take shape we will keep the community posted at our Facebook account,, and through our respective Websites and social media pages.

Another first for Santa Monica service clubs: This year, all of the club presidents will be women. Susan DeRemer is president of Lions Club, Gaby Schkud is president of the Breakfast Club, Becky Upchurch is president of the Bay Women’s Club, Baily Hancock was just sworn in as president of the Jaycees, Connie Maguire will take over as president of Rotary in July, and I, Jessica Handy, am the president of Kiwanis Club.

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 at or follow us on Facebook.