A team effort by Spokane Kiwanis Clubs has resulted in a $115,000 capital gift for Joya’s new playground equipment! Joya was thrilled to welcome Kiwanis members from various Spokane County clubs to celebrate on the new playground on Friday, Sept. 16.
What started over a year ago as one club looking to donate a piece of equipment, turned into a larger effort to cover the entire cost of the brand new accessible playground for Joya’s new facility. Kiwanian Gary Jespersen helped lead the project which was selected based on community need. “We worked with all of the Kiwanis Clubs in Spokane County to identify this need and help provide something that will really benefit kids in our community,” said Jespersen.
The countywide effort was done in memory of longtime Kiwanian, Barbara Thomas.
Kiwanis Clubs from Airway Heights, Cheney, Liberty Lake, Medical Lake, Deer Park, West Valley (Millwood) and Spokane Valley, in addition to East, North, Northeast and Southwest Spokane all contributed to the project, with the Kiwanis Club of Downtown Spokane taking the lead by putting up a $50,000 challenge match. A committee working on the project was also successful in applying for Kiwanis grants. The group received a $20,000 grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund and a $5,000 grant was also awarded by the Pacific Northwest Kiwanis Foundation.
“Members of the Kiwanis Club of Downtown Spokane are excited to have received these grants, which will assist in our effort to help children with special needs thrive, prosper and grow,” said Patti Reeves, President of the Kiwanis Club of Downtown Spokane. “We know kids need Kiwanis, in our community and in communities around the world.”
The therapeutic playground provides the children served at the newly constructed Joya facility with the physical, social, and emotional skills they need to continue to develop throughout their lives. Joya opened a new children’s center in Spokane’s University District in May with plans to double the number of children served.
“Kids need Kiwanis, now more than ever before, and the Joya playground is an example of how our clubs can meet a need in our community,” said Denny Woodfill, Lt. Gov. of the Greater Spokane Division. “This project is just one example of our Kiwanis’ investments in the kids of the Spokane community. Kiwanis members know that there is no better investment in our community than an investment in our kids!”
In addition to the celebration and check presentation, the Kiwanis Clubs took a tour of the new Joya facility, seeing firsthand how more children and families are benefitting from the expanded and upgraded early intervention program.
About Kiwanis International
Founded in 1915, Kiwanis International is a global organization of clubs and members dedicated to serving the children of the world. Kiwanis and its family of clubs, including Circle K International for university students, Key Club for students aged 14-18, Builders Club for students aged 11-14, K-Kids for students aged 6-12 and Aktion Club for adults with disabilities, annually dedicate more than 18.5 million service hours to strengthen communities and serve children. The Kiwanis International family comprises more than 537,000 adult and youth members in 85 nations and geographic areas.