The Kiwanis Club of Brooksville celebrated an important milestone recently – the 100th anniversary of its founding. The organization was honored with a proclamation from the City of Brooksville that recognized March 23, 2023 as Kiwanis Club of Brooksville Day, noting that it was on March 23, 1923, that the local club was founded and cited the many contributions they have made to the community.
The proclamation stated in part, “In addition to improving the lives of children in Hernando County and communities around the world, Kiwanis Club members promote the development of community leaders, positive role models, intercultural understanding and cooperation, and opportunities for fellowship, personal growth, professional development and community service.”
In addition to the proclamation, members and friends celebrated this auspicious occasion with a dinner held at Southern Hills Plantation Club. Dignitaries from Kiwanis International were also in attendance at the event. Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson and U.S. Congressman Gus Bilirakis were speakers at the dinner. Local Magician Elliott Smith entertained the crowd with his comedy magic show.
The local club got its start with the help of the Kiwanis Club of Tampa. It began with 39 members and has grown to be the largest Kiwanis Club in the county. It initially focused on city and county beautification projects during the 1920s, but soon branched out into serving the youth by sponsoring Boy Scout Troop 71, which it continues to sponsor to this date.
Through the years, it has expanded the scope of its service projects. Starting in 1955 and up to the present they have held a Kiwanis Kids Day every year. Additionally, in 1974, the club hosted the first annual Brooksville Christmas Parade, which has become a tradition over the years. Club members donate numerous hours each year for projects such as the pre-school Reading is Fundamental program, delivery of Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday food baskets, the annual Easter Egg Hunt, the Summer Bash and other activities for the children of the community. All of these events are free. Currently, they are partnering with the City of Brooksville to install a splash pad in Tom Varn Park.
The Brooksville Kiwanis Foundation has raised capital for continuing and new projects. Today, the foundation’s endowment totals over $300,000. From this fund several scholarships are awarded to local students each year to help them complete their education. Each scholarship is for $1,000. The club also co-sponsors the annual Hernando County Honor Student Banquet.
These are just a few of the Kiwanis Club community and youth service projects: Relay for Life Walk, Operation Backpack and Comfort Kits to the Department of Children and Family Services.
Club President, Frank Cassara, commented, “I have always had a strong desire to serve in the community and my involvement with the Kiwanis has allowed me to fulfill a desire to improve the world, one child and one community at a time. I believe our county is a better place because of our Kiwanis influence.”
If you are interested in becoming part of this dedicated group of individuals or would like more information, you can contact them through the club’s website: www.kiwanisclubofbrooksville.org. Newcomers and visitors are welcome to join them at their meetings. The club meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at Beef O’Brady’s , 7601 Horse Lake Road in Brooksville.