K-Kids was an initiative begun by the leader of the Florida Kiwanis, Lamar Fisher. The program then spread to other Kiwanis districts and was adopted as a sponsored program on October 1998 by the organization. Currently, there are over 600 K-Kids Clubs nationwide and internationally.
Student members learn that their opinions and ideas count. The children develop self-esteem and leadership skills while they volunteer and run fundraisers.
For the program, now in its second year, K-Kids have collected items for Hudson Cradle in Jersey City, an agency that houses infants with special needs. They have also held food drives and collected donations for Hurricane Katrina victims.
"These programs help the kids learn who they are," said Wright. "They also learn how to work with each other and expand the way they think about things."
The program also teaches kids morals and responsibility.
"I have a lot of cool ideas and I wanted to use them, so I joined K-Kids," said sixth grader Ashley Bowman, 11, president of K-Kids and straight-A student. "I learned a lot of responsibility and how to run a meeting."
In the news
KWN is a hands-on video education program developed and supported by the Panasonic Corporation in conjunction with the Secaucus public school system. Students research, write, act in, produce, direct, and edit a variety of videos.
"I get to do things in my own way, to use my own ideas. I can capture the world around me through the video camera," said 11-year-old Nicola Scamporino.
Their creative works are then submitted for review in the annual "New Vision" awards video contest at Panasonic Headquarters off of Meadowlands Parkway. This is the twelfth year Huber Street School is participating in the program.
Panasonic provides the digital video equipment which includes a digital video camera, digital editing deck, S-VHS video cassette recorder, color television monitors, microphones, headphones, tripods, video tapes, T-shirts, pens and certificates of achievement.
Wright said that the students are much more facile with video than adults are. She said while adults are usually worrying about how to use the controls, the students just dive in and create something.
Besides news reports, the kids can produce public service announcements and interview local officials.
Wright on top
Wright said she received a bachelor's degree elementary education with a minor in Library Science. She also received a master's degree in elementary education and did a sixth year in audiovisual studies.
That led to her involvement in videotaping, film projection and audiovisuals in the Secaucus school system. She said she has taught second, third, fifth and sixth grades. This is her first year as computer technician.
She has been very active in the PTA, the student newspaper, the teacher's union, K-6 computers, and maintaining the school website.
"I really love [the new role computer technician]," she said. "I never had the younger kids [before]. The days go by so fast now."