Kiwanis unveil project, doles out scholarships – Written by MAE YOUSIF-BASHI
They’ve helped the sick, fed the hungry, and have provided brighter futures for students.
After giving out $120,000 in scholarships to 20 students Tuesday, Sam Huber, president of the Cape Coral Kiwanis Club, announced the organization is opening a YMCA in Cape Coral.
The YMCA will open at the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, Huber said during the club’s Golden Jubilee, a 50th anniversary celebration.
Kiwanis will be providing the building, which also will house the club’s meetings and events, while the YMCA will provide the programming. Huber doesn’t want to disclose the location of the building until the club closes on the purchase.
“We’re doing this because the city’s budget is being cut, so we’re stepping up again,” Huber said.
He noted every time community programs are cut in the city, the club steps up to help out.
“It’s going to be a huge boom,” Huber said. “We’re the largest city in Florida without a YMCA.”
The organization was the first service and social club in Cape Coral and received its charter 50 years ago today. Over that time, the club has given $20 million to the local community, serving more than 200 different organizations in and around Cape Coral.
“It’s been 50 years of outstanding service,” said Jim Docker, 63, immediate past president.
The club sends backpacks home with 1,000 children in Cape Coral to help feed their families each weekend.
The club also has been helping to send students to college with its scholarship program for 50 years. Ralph Ackerman, 89, has been organizing the scholarship fund the past 25 years.
“When you talk to some of these parents and you tell them one of their students is a recipient, it does your heart good,” Ackerman said.
The $6,000 scholarships benefit students such as Teresa Zamor, 18, a senior at Cape Coral High School. She plans to study biology and premedicine at the University of Florida, where tuition is $20,000 per year.
“I really feel honored … to be chosen among so many great students,” she said. “I’m glad they’re helping me get my education. Scholarships are definitely what’s going to be funding my education.”