Kiwanis Club leaders, Jordan Kuehn and Julie Thompson celebrate on the patio of McGaffers as they raise funds for the Kiwanis centennial celebration coming up in 2023.

The Forest Park Kiwanis club celebrated its 100th anniversary Jan. 25, marking a century of service work for children in the Forest Park community.

The club, which is a chapter of a larger global organization of volunteers, is dedicated to improving the community “one child at a time.” It helps sponsor multiple local organizations, including the Park District of Forest Park, the Community Center Food Pantry, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. 

“Kiwanis International has their mission, which is more of a global scale, but our local Forest Park Kiwanis is everything for the kids,” Kiwanis President Kristen Lyons said. “Any type of organization that is trying to do things for the youth of the village of Forest Park, the Kiwanis Club will help and sponsor wholeheartedly.”

Throughout the past 100 years, Kiwanis has hosted community activities, such as YMCA camps and soapbox derbies, as well as organizing larger global initiatives to combat iodine deficiencies and maternal and neonatal tetanus. It also frequently donates to the community center for Thanksgiving meals and Christmas toy drives. 

Kiwanis will host a community-wide event Sept. 30 in celebration of the centennial. The theme of the event is “continuity and change” and it will feature a 1920s era jazz band and a meal similar to the first meeting in 1923.

Jerry Lordan, Kiwanis Vice President, looks forward to the event as an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments and strengths of the Forest Park community. The celebration will be open to the public in addition to Kiwanians and is expected to host 125 attendees, according to Lordan.

“We hope that we’ve been able to continue a very open, accepting atmosphere inside the community, and we hope we were able to change with the times,” Lordan said. “This is an opportunity for us to pause in our busy lives to recognize the contributions that individuals and families and institutions have made.”