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This is the "Why"....

Sometimes we all question why we do what we do. Today I was given a wonderful lesson in the "Why" of why we work so hard to do the things we do in Kiwanis.

This was a Facebook Messenger exchange between the mother of a Kiwanis Hope of America awardee and myself, representing the Kiwanis Club.

This message was only edited to protect the anonymity of the youth.

[MOM] Hello! I am the mother of [a student] who was present the Hope of America Award at [a Santee Middle School] this morning. We were stunned but not at all surprised. I’d love if I could have a bit more information about this award and the criteria to be chosen?! I also want to thank you Kiwanis Club for the honor bestowed upon my son. He overcame literal mountains the last two years in middle school and they are mountains you weren’t aware of when you presented to him today. To say your award was the icing on my sons cake is a huge understatement. You have no idea the impact it had and as his mother THANK YOU!

[Santee Kiwanis] Oh my, now I'm choked up! Thank you for parenting such a wonderful young man. Our Kiwanis Club exists to provide support and programs for our Santee youth. One of our most important programs is the Hope of America. It is special because, since 1984, we have asked that the award be bestowed recognizing a student who demonstrates leadership, moral character, scholarly aptitude, and community service. It is truly special because your son's teachers and staff make that selection. If your son is headed to Santana or West Hills next year, ask that he consider joining Kiwanis Key Clubs that we sponsor in each high school. Thank you again for your kind words.

[MOM] Thank you! I will be sharing the club information with him for sure, he is headed to join his older brother at [a Santee area H.S.]. In 7th grade [my child] was attending [another district middle school]. One day a couple of students that had been bullying him (unbeknownst to me) cornered him in the locker room and beat him up..hit him from behind. He got into the car after school and I could tell something was wrong but until I pulled his shirt up and saw slap and fist marks and scratches all over him, he wouldn’t have to me due to embarrassment. We drove back to the school immediately but they were extremely inept at supporting him or holding the two bullies accountable. That’s another story entirely… By the time that weekend rolled around the same kids hunted him down on Walker preserve trail, gave chase and almost beat him again but he was wise and got it on a phone mounted phone. With the injuries he sustained on photo and the video of the chase…it took four months and 6,000 in legal fees for us to obtain two restraining orders on the two 13 year old bullies. After my son won in court he went back to school and while the bullies were ordered to stay away, their buddies were relentless. He called one day and said “please come get me now!” I was there in seconds. He started [in a Santee District Middle School] with only a month and a half left of 7th grade. He chose to be the new kid and brave it. Today he graduated 8th with a huge friend group and a new sense of pride, confidence and self esteem. This year he was a silent voice for four other students being bullied. He alerted staff and helped his peers, never taking any credit for it. For his teachers and the Principals to have seen him…truthfully SEEN him, speaks volumes to what he has overcome. The [middle school] staff helped him pave a new path. They were ever present and 100% supportive. He is a new kid! So thank you to the Kiwanis Club, this award only stands to strengthen his inner vision of his worth and strength. We were honored today and truthfully as his parents, we are thankful to you. Please pass that on to whomever you feel would benefit hearing his story.

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