The Volunteer Spirit of Kiwanis

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By Dan Swick and Jessica Greenlaw
Historical contributions by Diane Ernst

At DuPage Children’s Museum we create an environment for all children to reach their full, unique learning potential through play in our hands-on exhibits of art, math, and science. However, we could not do any of this without some very dedicated volunteers. Community volunteers play a vital role in the success of the DuPage Children’s Museum. Great things happen when adults work collaboratively to give children the chance to learn, play, grow, and thrive. The Naperville Evening Kiwanis group is one such example.

For over 25 years, Kiwanians have been supporters of the Museum. Service is at the heart of every Kiwanis club and this civic organization’s volunteer spirit in helping children has been an excellent fit with our core principles. From the museum’s original roots at our first location in Elmhurst to our present Naperville site, Kiwanis has been there.

When we outgrew our first space and decided to settle in Wheaton, Illinois, Kiwanis pitched in with rental trucks, muscles and devotion to move the Elmhurst facilities into the lower level of the Wheaton Park District building. The space was very rough and not at all kid-friendly, so Kiwanis spent many hours converting that dull concrete shell into a world-class facility. Kiwanis jumped at the challenge of converting the drab walls into a wonderful space with gallons of paint and their construction know-how. They built out a first stage for museum performances; a large, multi-tiered, arching area for future thespians.

Today, Kiwanis supports us with a vital bi-monthly task; cutting donated lumber into child-sized wood sections for children to build their creations in the Moser Construction House. In this exhibit area, kids and parents use saws, hammers, nails and screws to create wood projects fueled by their own creativity. Their support in cutting wood means that the Museum doesn’t need to provide staff time to do this task. With gratitude for their volunteer service, we would like to congratulate Jim Rose, Dick Bruck, Mort Mortenson, John Bergensen, Tom Jones, and Walt Kelly.

Strong Kiwanis support of the DuPage Children’s Museum has continued to present funding for much needed items in our exhibit woodshop, like our spray booth, and radial arm saw. They refurbished our wood boat reading area into the beautiful exhibit it is today.

Kiwanis clubs focus on changing the world by serving children, one child and one community, at a time. By working together, members achieve what one person cannot accomplish alone. Thank you Naperville Evening Kiwanis!

“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in a world all of your own.” – Albert Schweitzer

Naperville Evening Kiwanis & DuPage Children
Left to Right
Kiwanians Dick Bruck, John Bergensen, Jim Rose, Mort Mortensen receive gifts of gratitude from
Jessica Greenlaw, Coordinator of Volunteer Resources and Dan Swick, Public Programs Team Leader
Not pictured: Tom Jones, and Walt Kelly.

Naperville Evening Kiwanis & DuPage Children
Kiwanis volunteers converting the Wheaton museum location in 1992

Naperville Evening Kiwanis & DuPage Children
Kiwanis volunteers converting the Wheaton museum location in 1992


About the Author:

Dan is a Public Program Team Leader at the Museum and has a Master's of Elementary Education. Before coming to the Museum Dan was a science teacher for 20 years.
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