First published in the March 19 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
In 1922, President Warren G. Harding made the first presidential radio address, ribbons were cut for the opening seasons at the Rose Bowl and Hollywood Bowl, the late actress and television personality Betty White was born, and in Burbank, a transport from Graysville, Ohio named James Crawford, was serving as the city’s fifth mayor.
That year also saw the chartering of the Kiwanis Club of Burbank, and before the ink was even dry on its charter, the service club embarked on its first project: Funding the paving of the street in front of Burbank High School.
From there, the all-volunteer organization went on to establish one of the first 20 Kiwanis-sponsored Key Clubs in the world and fulfill its mission to help young people increase their confidence, find their self-expression and develop leadership skills.
To that end, the Kiwanians have supported numerous programs in Burbank schools over the past century. They help fund Key Clubs at five local schools, the art, music and drama departments at Burbank High School and the speech program at Luther Burbank Middle School.
Club members also sponsor a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout troop, hold volunteer work projects in the community and support many local charitable organizations that serve thousands of residents.
Along with those programs, they provide financial and in-kind donations to Providence Saint Joseph Cancer Center, the Burbank Temporary Aid Center, the Burbank YMCA, Burbank Kids’ Community Dental Clinic, Builders Clubs at John Muir and Jordan middle schools, the Burbank Singing Star program and their Family Fun Day and Golf Ball Drop.
To celebrate its work and 100th anniversary, the club held its 100-Year Celebration gala this past week at the Castaway restaurant.
Emceed by comedian Jay Leno, who hosted “The Tonight Show” for more than two decades, close to 300 club members, supporters and local dignitaries were welcomed by Douglas Chadwick, the organization’s president, First Vice President Bryan Snodgrass, Second Vice President Eddie Arnold and Immediate Past President Kelly Pena.
“Through our projects, we strive to teach children leadership, good citizenship, self-confidence, work ethic, respect for others and instill the spirt of service,” Chadwick told the crowd.
“As you enjoy this evening’s activities, we hope that you will gain additional pleasure as you remember that every dollar you help raise is helping to make someone’s life a little better or a child’s smile a little brighter.”
Following dinner, the evening’s main event began with World War II veteran Ivan Cregger, who was born the same year the Burbank Kiwanis Club was chartered, leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
Among those who enjoyed the evening, which included silent and live auctions, dancing and performances by Leno and the musical group Seville and Ohio Trio Plus, were state Sen. Anthony Portantino, Assemblymember Laura Friedman, Mayor Jess Talamantes, City Councilmembers Bob Frutos, Sharon Springer and Nick Schultz as well as former Mayor Bob Bowne and Margo Dutton, district governor of Kiwanis International.
This year’s gala was made possible by club board and event committee members and sponsors. Among them were Lisa Malm, Linda Wiggins, Theresa Ayers, Al Leifer, Caesar Milch, Ron Rothacher, Cynthia Faust, Nancy Serpa, Wynne Ritch, Tom Engman, Michael Breitner, Catherine Hutt, David Harris, Luis Centeno, Juan Guillen, Paul McKenna, Tamala Takahashi, Charissa Anderson, Diane Cripe, Cari Pelayo, and Gary Peterson, who served as the Burbank club’s president from 1987-1988 and is now its longest living member.
For more information about the Kiwanis Club of Burbank, visit burbankkiwanis.org.
DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 563- 1007.