It all started with a horn! Dr. Blavatt, Hernando County Superintendent

of Schools, sounded the horn and the race began. The event was the

Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill’s third Annual Super Kids Triathlon held at

Weeki Wachee State Park with one hundred ninety Hernando County

school children. Divided into three age groups, the competitors ranged from five

to eighteen. These children raced to bring the trophy home for their group.

          Into the Weeki Wachee Spring’s crystal clear water went the first group,

followed closely by the second and then the third. Soaking wet, they emerged

from the cold water and ran to their bicycles to race the designated route.

After completing this leg of the race they ran (some walked, still fiercely

determined to complete the route) to the finish line.

It was a wonderful vehicle for the children to exercise. It was the first step to

teach children the necessity of keeping in shape to avoid the problems of early

obesity. Childhood obesity in the United States has almost reached endemic

proportions. The problem of obesity exists in approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents. Overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults unless they adopt and maintain healthier patterns of eating

and exercising. A major concern is that child and adolescent obesity is associated with increased risk of emotional problems. Teens with weight problems tend to have lower self-esteem and be less popular with their peers. Depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder are possible consequences of obesity. The Super Kids Triathlon is our contribution in helping children to understand the benefits of exercise, especially employing swimming, bicycling and running to help eliminate obesity.

          Parents, several rows deep, watched and applauded their son or daughter during the race.  The pride of the parents in their children was visible on every face. The enthusiasm between parent and child caused elation and satisfaction among the Kiwanis of Spring Hill members. 

The purpose of our Triathlon is not to reward the faster or better competitor

but to teach the children how to compete.  Because of the commitment of these

children, each child receives a medal. Additionally, each child receives a backpack

filled with “goodies” such as T-shirts, sunglasses, coupons for free fast food plus

coloring books, crayons or puzzles for the appropriate age group. 

These events serve another function. They teach children sportsmanship, loyalty

and the will and desire to complete a task.These character traits will help these

children as they grow into adults.
          The success of the Triathlon is the result of many concerned contributors.
 

The Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill acknowledges those who made available the use of Weeki Wachee State Park.

Dr. Blavatt and the entire school system were major contributors to the program. The enthusiasm of parents and guardians were a strong support system in the children’s achievements. The endorsement and generous support

from the Hernando County commercial community also made this event an outstanding success.

           Plans are underway to hold the fourth Annual Triathlon in 2012.

Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill Super Kids Triathlon

                                                       By Stanley J. Antonoff, Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill

​​On December 3, 2011, the Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill hosted our children’s Pancake Breakfast

with Santa at the Grace Presbyterian Church, Spring Hill, Florida. It represented the twentieth

annual Christmas festivity sponsored by the club. Unfortunately, we were unable to get the real

Santa because of his prior engagement preparing for his trip to visit children all over the globe.

We felt it would be selfish to solicit him for our event when the world waited breathlessly for the

sound of his deer and sleigh bells. However, he did send a personal note, and I quote, “Keep up   

the good work Kiwanians, we need more dedicated people like you” and signed it, “Affectionately,

Santa.” Still, we were able to bring the timeless charm of the holiday to our event and Christmas  spirit

                               radiated throughout the Church hall. Scores of children accompanied by                                                                  parents, grandparents and friends were engulfed in the holiday festivities.

                               To Diane Morgan’s Just Dance, Chocachatti Center for the Arts,

                               Micro-Society by Rhonda Bowers, Master Moon’s UF Tae Kwon Do College

                               and Mr. and Mrs. Santa (played by Tom & Judy Smith) we extend our deep

                               appreciation for providing the holiday entertainment.
                                     Our club members served the guests more than one thousand

                                     pancakes supplied by I-Hop (on Route 19, Spring Hill, Florida)

                                     augmented by substantial amounts of juice, bacon, sausage,

                                     doughnuts, milk and hot chocolate donated by other businesses.

                                     Coffee and tea were available for the adults. 

                                     President Roseann Jones, Chairperson Bev Reso and Co-Chairperson

                                     Donna Gaula expressed their deep satisfaction with

                                     the attendance and wonderful holiday spirit.

                                         Proceeds from the event help support youth programs, including

                                     the “BUG” (Bringing Up Grades) program and the backpack project.

                                     Additionally, money earned from the Pancake Breakfast will benefit

                                     local children’s charities as determined by the Kiwanis Board of

                                     Directors. Plans are underway for our twenty-first Pancake Breakfast in 2012.            

Pancake Breakfast

                     By Stanley J. Antonoff, Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill

                                                                    On March 5, 2011, the Kiwanis Club of Spring

                                                 Hill hosted the first Annual “Barney’s Kids” Ball

                                                 at the Glenlakes Country Club, Weeki Wachee,

                                                 Florida.  Attended by two hundred twenty guests,

                                                 this semi-formal extravaganza included valet

                                                 parking, a champagne cocktail hour with music

                                                 provided by the Olsen String Quartet and a white

                                               glove, four-course sit-down dinner. Attendees later

                                               danced to the music of Act Three.

Bob Penrod, from WWJB-1450 AM the "Golden Oldies” radio station was the master of ceremonies.  Four Hixon awardees attended the Ball, namely, David Spelts, Bev Reso, Larry Cartwright and William “Bill” Koenig.  Additionally, Debbie Koenig, a Ralph Davis awardee was a guest. During the ball, the Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill acknowledged Ann Faith and Janet Dick with the first “Barney Mancuso” award for substantially contributing to the success of the “Barney’s Kids” program. These two nurses noticed a need, had a dream, and developed a program that helped alleviate the plight of Hernando County schoolchildren lacking necessities. This program eventually evolved into “Barney’s Kids,” named to honor Barney Mancuso, a Kiwanian for over fifty years.
          Youth, life’s most happy season, becomes a time of torment for the child with a school problem.  A child whose dream is so easily crushed, who feels himself the victim of forces he cannot control is a tragic loss to himself, to his family and to society. A child attending school improperly clothed is under severe psychological assault even though insufficient family finance is not their fault. Feelings of inadequacy often lead to self-esteem issues that affect leaning. Funded solely by private donations, “Barney’s Kids” serves needy Hernando County schoolchildren by providing them with appropriate and essential clothing.
          The “Barney’s Kids” Ball celebrated the program’s effort and its success in supporting the needy schoolchildren of Hernando County. There was no solicitation of funds at this function.  A complementary “Barney’s Kids” Journal was the medium that raised almost ten thousand dollars through advertisements and endorsements from commercial and private sources .
          On March 10, 2012, the Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill will host the second Annual “Barney’s Kids Ball” at the Glenlakes Country Club.

​Barney’s Kids Ball

                          By Dr. Stanley J. Antonoff, Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill              

Here are some of our partnership events

  1. ​​Kiwanis of Spring Hill Fulfills Another Pleasant Dream

                                                       By Kim Dame, Hernando Today Correspondent
Faith Brown, just 13, is a typical young teen with creative passions and ambitions. So when she was chosen by the Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill to be the recipient of the 2nd Project Pleasant Dreams bedroom makeover, Faith had some ideas of her own.

          Her parents, Dave and Kathy Brown, had hoped to keep the project a secret from their daughter. The makeover was planned to begin and end during a week in December while the family was in New York on a Dream Wish Foundation trip. But the secret got out on social media when a relative posted information about a fundraiser sponsored by Kiwanis of Spring Hill, scheduled for Friday, to help raise money for the room. “They tagged Faith in it and she found out,” said Kathy.

          Faith is battling a rare form of bone cancer, Osteosarcoma, which was diagnosed  in March after the teen fell. Medical treatment including x-rays hinted at a problem. “The leg wasn’t healing,” Kathy remembered. An MRI confirmed a mass on her knee and a biopsy confirmed cancer.

          Project Pleasant Dreams is in its second year of providing a makeover for a local child battling a debilitating illness. Last year, the organization held a fundraiser to help pay for a bedroom makeover for another child, 10- year old Autumn, who suffered from Sideroblastic Anemia, a cancerous blood disease.

          The project was an amazing experience said Roseanne Jones of Kiwanis. She and two other co-chairs organized the event which entailed locating a child recipient, organizing donors and fundraising to fund the project.

          They held a benefit dinner at RBeach in Hernando Beach, Florida and raised more than double their goal of $1000. “We took in $3600,” Jones said. This year, the bar is set a bit higher since funding a bedroom for a teen is a bit more expensive. They hope to take in $4000 or more.
          The purpose of the project is to provide a quiet haven for Faith to recover from treatments as she battles her illness. Local businesses like Carpet World of Brooksville and Create More Space were huge participants last year, donating the floor and crafting the cabinetry. Both are onboard this year along with the Home Depot, to make the teen’s dream a reality.

          The Kiwanis of Spring Hill will host a dinner at the Elks Lodge and the proceeds will help support Project Pleasant Dreams for Faith. Donated items will be auctioned off including a signed Rays baseball from Evan Longoria, door prizes and a 50/50 drawing. There will also be a cash bar.

          The Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill has a budget for the project, Jones explained. And last year, the completion of the bedroom was done through the generous donations of businesses, private donors and attendees at the dinner. Any additional money was donated to the family to help offset the burdening costs of living with and fighting a childhood illness.   
           Faith, whose input has been a big part of the project since she found out, is very excited to see the final results. “I’m really excited about the bed,” she said
.

Spring Hill Kiwanis Foundation

Kids, parents, and others waiting for their backpacks.

 Bounce Houses

Golf Tournament

                             By Dr. Stanley J. Antonoff, Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill


Smack! The sound of the club hitting the ball off the tee signaled the beginning of the sixth Annual Children’s Charity Golf Invitational Tournament sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill.
     Held September 28, 2011 at Southern Hills Plantation Country Club, (the only Pete Dye championship course in the Tampa Bay area), the clubhouse and greens bristled with activity. Entrants had exclusive use of this beautiful course. The day began with registration and games of chance followed by light refreshments. While some golfers waited for the shotgun start, others were busy practicing their putting, chipping and driving. Some club members registered for various events while others functioned as part of the support staff. The energy of all participants was exceptional. Throughout the day, beverage golf carts traversed the course carrying free drinks and snacks to the players. Members of the Kiwanis Club monitored each contest hole should a momentous hole-in-one occur. This would have resulted in the golfer winning a free automobile donated by Friendly KIA, New Port Richey, Florida.  Other contests included the closest ball to the pin, the closest to the line, the longest drive and a putting contest.
     After completing the course, all players sat down to a generous Italian buffet dinner. Following an awards presentation, a silent auction consisting of large, beautiful gift baskets (donated and prepared by members of the Kiwanis Club) and other items helped raise additional funds.
     Tournament sponsors included Austin & Laurato, Hernando Today, Brighthouse Networks, L.R.E. Ground Services, Microtel Inn and Suites and Coventry Healthcare.
     The First Tee® of Brooksville, Florida is the named children’s charity for this event.  This organization strives to influence the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.
     Other children’s organizations will receive a portion of the proceeds.
     Plans are underway for our seventh Annual Children’s Charity Golf Invitational Tournament.

Barney's Kids

                  By Stanley J. Antonoff, Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill

Phil LaRossa,Chair, on the left with Rich Sanvenero, Co-Chair.

Copyright © 2015 Spring Hill Kiwanis Foundation.  All rights reserved.

MISSION

To solicit resources through partnerships with the public and private sectors and grant such to organizations and individuals supporting the children and community of Hernando County, Florida


P.O. Box 15572, Brooksville, FL 34604  (352) 610-2647

​​​

OPERATION BACKPACK
                                             By Stanley J. Antonoff, Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill

                                             It was early in the morning on Saturday, August 15, 2015 and already they were lined up two by two, hand in hand. In some cases it was mother and daughter, in others mother and son. Interspersed in the line could be found a female holding on to several children while sprinkled throughout were kids accompanied by male adults. Energy could occasionally be felt erupting from the entire line yet mostly there was a deafening quiet. The line, following the interior right angles of the Town Square Shopping Center, located on Route 19 in Spring Hill, Florida, continued outside. There had to be at least one thousand people waiting for the start of Operation Backpack.
               










The Suncoast Credit Union sponsored Operation Backpack

which also was supported by many Hernando County,

Florida individuals and businesses. More than one thousand

backpacks were given away. This event was promoted

by the Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill through the Spring Hill

Kiwanis Foundation. The purpose of Operation Backpack

was to provide free backpacks and school supplies to

indigent and disadvantaged school children so they would

be prepared with essential school materials for the upcoming

school year. The supplies were either acquired from supporters

of the event or purchased with donated funds. Additionally,

Bounce Houses and face painting were provided to entertain

the children.   

        


Phil LaRossa, chair and Rich Sanvenero, co-chair agreed that,

“There is nothing more important than helping provide to kids

in need some of the tools necessary to succeed because

a good education is the foundation for success in life

and these children represent the future of this great nation.”           


As these kids moved past the many tables overflowing with school supplies, one could appreciate the smiles on their faces as they selected the pens, pencils, note books, etc. of their choice. Of course their backpacks, which came in several color choices, were used as the receptacle for all their educational “goodies.”

               At the end of the day, the members of the Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill, volunteers all, were tired but full of satisfaction derived from a project well done.   

Thirty in school year 2008-2009, almost as many the year before, is the number of

Hernando County public school students identified with inappropriate uniforms or

without socks or long pants needed in cold weather. Additionally, some children wore

shoes much too small for their foot size and others were without underwear.
          When this came to the attention of nursing supervisors Ann Faith and

Janet Dick, they were appalled. After obtaining clearance from the appropriate county

and state agencies, they established a program to help alleviate the plight of these

children. Through donations from the community and Kiwanis, they were able to help

these unfortunate kids. A child attending school improperly clothed is under severe psychological assault even though insufficient family finance is not their fault. Feelings of inadequacy often lead to self-esteem issues which

can affect learning.
          In this program, known as “Barney’s Kids,” no cash is given to the nurses or parents. All purchases are made using vouchers purchased from Walmart or Target. The nurses buy the necessary clothing and any remainder is used for subsequent purchases. School personnel identify these children by noting their lack of appropriate clothing. Ultimately, the school social worker corroborates the need.
          On one occasion, a child was discovered wearing shoes two sizes too small. His toes were cuddled under his feet causing his gait to differ from other children, which attracted the attention of a teacher. He was provided with proper sized shoes and when he walked in these for the first time exclaimed, “Wow! There’s no pain when I walk.”
          Where does the Spring Hill Kiwanis Club fit in this endeavor? Barnet Mancuso was a fifty-two-year Kiwanian and a member of Spring Hill Kiwanis for five years. Before he passed, Barney, on many occasions, professed his desire to help kids. This was his passion and the reason for his longstanding membership in Kiwanis.
          Because of the exemplary goodwill created by Barney, coupled with his love for children, the Spring Hill Kiwanis Club Board of Directors, under the leadership of President Bev Reso selected “Barney’s Kids” as its premier charity and dedicated a major portion of its fund-raising efforts to this project. It is Spring Hill Kiwanis’ way of supporting the children of Hernando County as well as saluting Barney Mancuso and his dedication to children and humanity
.