Local Kiwanis Club, With New President, Celebrates 100 Years

First published in the Oct. 2 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Let’s step back in time about 100 years to when President Warren G. Harding made the first presidential radio address, ribbons were cut for the opening seasons of the Rose Bowl and the Hollywood Bowl, and actress and television personality Betty White was born.
In Burbank, a transport from Graysville, Ohio, named James Crawford as the city’s fifth mayor, and a charter was issued for Burbank’s first service club: The Kiwanis Club of Burbank.
Over the ensuing century, the Burbank Kiwanians have met 99 times to install a man or woman as their president. This past week they did it again for the 100th time as outgoing President Kelly Peña passed the gavel to Douglas Chadwick.

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Last week’s installation ceremony began with a musical performance by Burbank High School students and Key Club members Maria Barajas and Rene Harris.

Close to 150 members and supporters of the local Kiwanis Club gathered at the new downtown home of the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley. The evening’s festivities began with entertainment by the Burbank High School Jazz Band and an inspirational musical performance by BHS students and Key Club members Maria Barajas and Rene Harris.
Presented with a Hollywood Academy Awards theme, Peña and Chadwick presided over the event that passed the presidential gavel and featured a presentation of service awards and the installation of the club’s 2021-22 officers.
Just prior to the ceremony, as the final hour of her term ticked down, Peña reflected on her year as the organization’s president.
“Despite a challenging year that, due to the pandemic, has seen many service clubs struggle, we thrived,” Peña said. “We were able to maintain great attendance at meetings and bring in 10 new members. I am also very proud to have been a part of the leadership team who established the Family Fun Fair that raised more than $30,000 dollars and will now become an annual event.”
Chadwick said that no matter what new challenges the club may face in 2022, its members will continue to step up and face them.
“Our entire club is committed to a year of innovation and growth,” Chadwick said. “The very first project our club ever did was to fund the paving of the street in front of Burbank High School back in 1922. We were also the club that founded one of the first 20 Kiwanis-sponsored Key Clubs in the world. So this year, following in that tradition of innovation and service, we want to build on our legacy and become an even more relevant part of our community.”
As Peña and Chadwick took to the stage, they reminisced on last year’s installation ceremony, which was quite different.
“We just had 10 members who gathered in my backyard while everyone else joined us by Zoom,” Peña said. “So it’s wonderful to look out and actually see everyone.”

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Burbank City Councilman Nick Schultz, Mayor Bob Frutos and his wife Laura, and interim Police Chief Michael Albanese arrived for last week’s Kiwanian ceremony.

Among those she and Chadwick looked out over were state Sen. Anthony Portantino, Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos, Vice Mayor Jess Talamantes, City Council members Sharon Springer and Nick Schultz, and interim Police Chief Michael Albanese.
Other special guests in attendance included Kiwanis International President-elect Bert West, Kiwanis California-Nevada-Hawaii Governor-Elect Valarie Brown-Klingelhoefer, Kiwanis Division 16 Lt. Gov. Luis Centeno and Gary Peterson, who served as the Burbank club’s president in 1987-88 and is now its longest-living member.
Along with the installation of Chadwick, last week’s event saw West swear in the club’s new board that will be composed of Bryan Snodgrass and Eddie Arnold serving as first and second vice presidents, Tom Engman as treasurer, Ron Rothacher as sergeant at arms and David Harris as secretary.
An all-volunteer organization, the Kiwanis Club of Burbank has been serving the community since 1922. Its mission is to help young people increase their confidence, find their self-expression and develop leadership skills. To that end, the organization supports many programs in Burbank schools.
Among the programs the organization helps fund are the Key Clubs at five local schools, the Burbank High School’s art, music and drama departments, and the speech program at Luther Burbank Middle School.
Club members also sponsor a Cub Scout and Boy Scout troop, hold volunteer work projects in the community and support many local charitable organizations that serve thousands of residents.
Along with the aforementioned programs, local Kiwanians have also provided financial and in-kind donations to Providence Saint Joseph Cancer Center, the Burbank Temporary Aid Center, the Burbank YMCA, Burbank Kids’ Community Dental Clinic and Builders Clubs at John Muir and Jordan middle schools.
For more information on the Kiwanis Club of Burbank, visit burbankkiwanis.org.

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007