In 1923, Kiwanis members created the Kiwanis Orthopedic Clinic. This clinic evolved into a haven of healing, offering free medical care to countless children whose families struggled to afford expensive hospital treatments. The clinic was also a refuge that provided housing, nourishment, clothing, and invaluable family counseling. Its impact reached beyond the physical, guiding young lives toward a brighter future.
In the 1970s, the Kiwanis Orthopedic Clinic expanded its reach by collaborating with District of Columbia schools to identify children affected by scoliosis. Approximately one-third of the patients at the clinic were dealing with this spinal condition. In 2013, the Kiwanis Foundation of Washington, D.C. transitioned the Kiwanis Orthopedic Clinic to the capable hands of Sibley Memorial Hospital, ensuring its legacy of care would endure.
In 2016, a new chapter began as we partnered with Bright Beginnings, an initiative focused on supporting homeless youth and families in Washington, D.C. Through this collaboration, the Kiwanis Foundation of the District of Columbia provided $100,000 annually to introduce a home-based educational program that offered weekly visits to unsheltered families. Home visitors became mentors, empowering parents to be their children's first and best teachers. These visits encompassed health screenings, family support services, and connections to vital resources, ensuring a holistic approach to growth and development.
In 2021, we partnered with SMYAL to address mental health challenges faced by LGBTQ+ youth in the District of Columbia. Through this collaboration, we provide free, affirming mental health services, acknowledging the importance of holistic support during challenging times. This initiative recognizes the unique needs of queer and trans youth and provides them with a safe and inclusive space to explore their emotions and experiences. Our work with SMYAL reinforces our dedication to fostering the well-being of every individual. The Kiwanis Foundation of the District of Columbia is committed to providing $100,000 annually to SMYAL through 2024.
The Kiwanis Club of Washington, D.C., founded in 1917, is a community-led service organization committed to making a positive impact in our nation's capital. With a rich history of service and a strong network of volunteers, we work to create lasting change and brighter futures for children in the District of Columbia. Join us in our mission so that every child in our community has the opportunity to thrive and live up to their full potential.