I’m proud to announce that I have the privilege of working alongside a young man who single handedly keeps making a difference around the world. Nick Azcarate is a dedicated intern that joined CKSF for community service and may I say, he has done it in a way that has helped the community probably more than anyone else in this office.
Nick is a part of his high schools Key Club, an international student led organization that gives its members the opportunity to “provide service, build character, and develop leadership”. This organization is compartmentalized in 33 different districts, divisions, and clubs. Usually a school that has this club is due to a teacher sponsor that is a member of the Kiwanis International Organization. Kiwanis International... an organization that “cares” and “comes together.” This is a nonprofit organization that has the mission to group members to “financially assist Kiwanis international in serving the children of the world”
In order to bring awareness to the Kiwanis organization to all Key Club members and other high school students, Nick decided to use his resources at CKSF and make a scholarship opportunity for kids who displayed the vastest amount of knowledge on the Kiwanis organization. CKSF is an organization as many know, that runs on timed quizzes and provides winners with scholarships. The “Key Club Challenge” as Nick titled it, provided the highest scoring participant $500 and a trophy to the highest scoring school. It was composed of two rounds, the first dealing with Kiwanis objectives and general information. The second round had to do with Kiwanis accomplishments, projects, impacts, and history. Long story short, by the end of this quiz, every student who took it learned in depth what the Kiwanis International organization is all about. This is exactly what Nick was aiming for. He believed so much in the organization and its positive impacts that he took it upon his hands to help recruit members for them one way or another… and let me tell you, it was not easy for him to do so.
The Kiwanis organization has been recently experiencing a decline in Kiwanis memberships. To become a member, one must give a minimum $250 a year and a minimum of $1,000 to reach some type of fellowship. As an organization they need help reaching out to different people, which is why it was thought that the foundation board and other Kiwanis leaders would be interested in helping Nick reach out to students all over the US for awareness. High schools learning about Kiwanis could be a solution to declining membership. Nick thought these students could be the future of Kiwanis! Unfortunately, I guess they got too busy giving other recruitment tips as are posted in their website. Nick himself spoke with John Shertzer in the International board and all he asked was if a Kiwanis member or club sponsors this. “I sent them an email saying yes, but then I received no further response” says Nick. He also tried contacting individual members of the organization who seemed to be in support of his cause, but never actually helped in terms of “guidance” or “funding” as mentioned by Nick. It’s a sad thing no one in the organization was willing to offer him any help in making this movement more efficient. Nick had to fundraise all by himself, being an intern, making constant calls, creating the quiz, having his parents have to donate money, and so many other things that I lose track of because they’re so many to register in my head. He fund-raised using car washes, his parents, club organizations at universities and even held bake sales. It seemed that this driven, hard working, inspirational young man had everything but the support of his organization. I wish I could have been a member at the time to give him my aid and be proud as I saw his cause grow and actually reach out to help people contrary to the received opposition. After all, Kiwanis is devoted to their mission statement “In fact our vision is to extend your Kiwanis impact.” It’s a good thing at least Nick was there to give them a hand and not let their goals go unattended as the organization continues to prosper and network with one another.
Nick is an awing person in all honesty. With more people like him, the world can definitely “come together.”