Aug 27, 1996 File Memo Ref: Parents telephone call with Kiwanis Int'l

File Memorandum Prepared by Monroe Gilmour

Date: August 27, 1996
SUBJ: Kiwanis International (1-800-549-2647)
My call to Program Director Chris Rice

I called Kiwanis Int. Program Director Chris Rice today after not receiving a return call from my message yesterday.

I explained that we wanted to touch base with him to see if he had received the information we sent a couple of weeks ago and to see if they had any plans yet on what to do. He told me that he had sent us a letter. He said that he planned to make some changes in the (TK) Bulletin the next time it went out.

I asked when it would go out again. He said words to the effect, "Sometime in the next year when I get time."

I asked what changes he would put in the Bulletin. He said that he wasn't sure now but he'd have to see when he sat down to write it.

I questioned how one person could do that off the top of his head for a program in 50 states and 74 countries. I suggested a more comprehensive way of approaching it with input from professional educators, psychologists, counselors etc.. He said he saw my point but that Kiwanis has lots of programs and they couldn't do that for all of them. He also said he does not have money for a study but that he does have some expertise available he could call upon.

I reminded him of the scope of the program affecting tens of thousands of children and raised the possibility of him asking his Board for such funding. He said they are scheduled to meet in October and he would give that suggestion some thought.

I shared with him our concern that there seems to be no sense of urgency in addressing the problems and that we had hoped Kiwanis (like Johnson & Johnson had done during a Tylenol scare) would take rigorous action to demonstrate its concern for the children and its attention to the substance of the program. I shared with him my feeling that Kiwanis would lose a lot of credibility if they did not do more than what he described.

Mr. Rice was very soft-spoken and cordial but just seemed not to get it. He expressed the same opinion as the local Kiwanis, namely, that they can't control how TK is implemented. I acknowledged that that is true but that there is much they can do to guide how it is implemented...through prototype handouts school could use in explaining the program to teachers and parents, through cautions about what has caused problems in some programs, through reviewing why schools drop the program, through peer-reviewed design studies etc.. He said he got my point but they just can't do all that.

In closing, I asked him to please reconsider Kiwanis Int.'s course of action and let me know as soon as possible if they plan to do more.

After I hung up, I felt shocked at the indifference, the denial of accountability, and lack of concern about the pain the program is fostering. Like the local club, the International just does not appear to have any interest in giving this problem the attention necessary to fix it.