Locals Honored at Kiwanis International Awards

Photos courtesy of Kiwanis Club of La Cañada – Kiwanis Club of La Cañada President Dennis Fors (from left), Alice Perez and Trish McRae each received 2020-21 Distinguished Service Awards, presided by Kiwanis CAL-NEV-HA 2020-21 officers Lt. Gov. Tina Tabora-Lim and District Gov. Gary Gray.

Each year, Kiwanis International holds a District Governor’s Official Visit for Division 3, representing Kiwanis Clubs from throughout the California-Nevada-Hawaii District. A highlight of the visit is a ceremony to recognize exemplary volunteer service to the Kiwanis and the community.
Recently, the Kiwanis Club of La Cañada was recognized with 2020-21 Distinguished Service Awards presented to Dennis Fors, Trish McRae and Alice Perez.

Held in Glendale, CAL-NEV-HA 2020-21 District Governor Gary Gray officiated the event and was joined by Lt. Gov. Tina Tabora-Lim, with 2001-02 past Lt. Gov. Pat Liddell serving as Master of Ceremonies.
Stepping back to last year’s District Governor’s Official Visit, three Kiwanis Club of La Cañada members received 2019-20 awards, which had not officially been presented due to the pandemic. Diane Della Valle and Fred Schooley were both lauded with Distinguished Service Awards and Nancy Leininger was honored with the Youth Service Award.
Fors, Kiwanis Club of La Cañada’s president, was presented with his award by fellow Kiwanian Mary Gant, who recounted his leadership skills. Fors became interim president in 2019, then the COVID lockdown hit, prohibiting in-person meetings. Fors went into action, orchestrating zoom meetings and inaugurating the new Community Service, Membership and Fundraising Task Force groups.
Under Fors’ guidance, the club reached out to convalescent nursing homes, supplying residents with much-appreciated games and supplies. The club also co-sponsored the inaugural LCF Trails Game. New social outlets, following L.A. County health guidelines, were also launched to engage members in hiking, cooking, golf and reading, setting the stage for a more robust club geared to enhancing the members’ experience.
Trish McRae, the local Kiwanis Club’s vice president of programs, was hailed for ramping up the club’s website, using social media and videos to showcase the club and promoting weekly guest speakers. A board member since 2018, McRae has served on various committees utilizing her marketing, advertising, design and event planning skills. McRae is also actively involved in other clubs and is beginning her second term as the La Cañada Junior Women’s Club president. She also serves on the board of directors for the Community Scholarship Foundation of LCF, the La Cañada Flintridge Trails Council and is an LCF Chamber of Commerce and Community Association ambassador.

Kiwanis Club of La Cañada members who received 2019-20 honors were Fred Schooley (from left), a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award; Nancy Leininger, who received the Youth Service Award; and Diane Della Valle, who was recognized with the Distinguished Service Award.

Alice Perez joined the local Kiwanis board of directors in 2019 and serves as publicity chair. Perez found her niche of giving back by writing articles for the local newspapers and magazines and by using photography to showcase such programs such as the Kiwanis Terrific Kids, the Literacy Program, the Wine and Food Tasting events and, most recently, the LCF Trails Game co-sponsored by the Kiwanis and LCF Trails Council.
Currently, Perez is serving as the Junior Women’s Club treasurer and is also their public relations coordinator. Among her other activities, she is an LCF Chamber of Commerce ambassador and is a scholarship liaison for the Community Scholarship Foundation.
Fred Schooley joined the Kiwanis Club in 2005 and has provided outstanding service through the years, having served as club president in 2014-15. Since that time, he has set the pace for donors and was honored by the club by having the Endowment Fund renamed to the Moulton-Schooley Fund. The fund provides vital resources to help support a wide spectrum of the Kiwanis community efforts, including a variety of youth programs. Through Schooley’s enthusiasm and dedication, he has inspired other club members to also donate to the fund, whose goal is to propel local youth to their next level of achievement.
Diane Della Valle, a Kiwanis member since 2002, served as president in 2007-08 and is the past chair of the Kiwanis Club of LC’s International Understanding Committee, where she championed the successful multi-year effort to exceed the Project Eliminate, whose goal is to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus worldwide through preventative vaccinations. Among her civic activities, she is a Chamber of Commerce ambassador.
Nancy Leininger continues to use her decades-long experience as a former elementary school teacher by inspiring children to raise their educational sights. Leininger has masterfully headed up the club’s signature Terrific Kids program held three times each school year, working with all the 6th-grade teachers in the La Cañada Unified School District to identify students who are deserving of special recognition for their positive impact in the classroom. The children are then presented awards in school assemblies and are hosted with their parents at a Kiwanis luncheon.
If local residents “are interested in making friends and giving back while having fun, the Kiwanis Club of La Cañada invites you to attend a meeting held each Wednesday at noon, featuring the ‘Guest Speaker of the Week’ program,” a Kiwanis spokesperson said. To receive an invitation, email lacanadakiwanis@gmail.com or visit lacanadakiwanis.org.