The Arvin-Lamont Kiwanis Club has been chartered and is ready to continue making a difference for the youth in the communities of Arvin and Lamont.
Yovani Jimenez, Kern Community College District Trustee, explains that the Kiwanis club is an international organization of members and partners that are dedicated to improving the lives of children with recreational activities and mentorships.
“One of our missions is to create volunteering opportunities in our community such as community clean-up days or different types of events, and we also want to create and increase more recreational opportunities for the kids. Ideally, we want to provide the kids with things to do after school and on the weekends,” said Jimenez.
Freddie Castrejon, Kiwanis President, understands the hardships that the community faces. A lot of parents in the community were not given the opportunity to have a good education, and parents work hard for their kids to have a better future.
“One of the main goals is education in our community. We are targeting education because the more we can support and educate our community the better quality of guidance we can provide within our community. Most of the kids growing up in our community come from a low income background and a big percentage of our community is Latino,” said Castrejon.
One of the major issues is that there are not enough activities or resources that are accessible to the kids such as after school activities, mentors, and leadership programs. Kids need more resources to engage in.
The Kiwanis club wants to create activities and programs that will help provide resources for kids to be involved in. They are planning to have more sport activities and mentoring programs that will help provide resources and pathways for the future. They also help support organizations that help impact the community.
Not only do they provide support for the children in the community, but they also educate their staff members. They have meetings twice a month and they bring leaders from the Kern County community to come and talk about their organizations.
Eddie Brock, Chief of Police at the Arvin Police Department, talked about ideas to reduce crime rates in the community and explained current problems that the community is facing.
Nataly Santamaria, Promoter for Kern County Vision y Compromiso, explained how the community could reach out for help with resources such as rent assistance and how to become a promoter.
CEO of Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Jay Tamsi, talked about different opportunities that the community can have.
The Kiwanis club wants to create more opportunities for kids to get involved in to lead them to a successful pathway.
“Making an impact in your community does not necessarily mean that you have to have a doctorate or PhD; it could be anybody, it could be someone in elementary school, it does not have to be a college graduate, or a high school student. The kids can do many things,” said Castrejon.
The Kiwanis club has already helped the community in various ways. They did a community service clean-up on the day of Martin Luther King, and they had about 20 kids volunteering. They also served at the harvest festival, Bakersfield veterans parade, and the christmas parade.